Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite review: Exactly what you expected

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It doesn’t take a lot time with Amazon’s new Hearth TV Stick and Hearth TV Stick Lite to grasp what they’re all about.

The $40 third-generation Hearth TV Stick is an overdue improve to Amazon’s best-selling streaming participant, changing its four-year-old processor with one which’s a lot sooner. The $30 Hearth TV Stick Lite, in the meantime, is a unadorned try to attain value parity with Roku’s funds Specific streamer, with the identical efficiency as the usual Stick however a significant compromise to its distant management: There aren’t any TV quantity or energy buttons onboard.

Of the 2, the Hearth TV Stick is way simpler to advocate than the Lite model. I’ve stated it earlier than, however having TV controls constructed into the distant actually is price the additional $10.

This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of one of the best media streamers,  the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it is best to contemplate when looking for any such product.

Whether or not the brand new Hearth TV Sticks are price shopping for over different funds streamers is tougher to say, as a result of Amazon is making ready a significant software program overhaul for later this yr. We’ll replace this evaluation after stated software program arrives. For now, those that benefit from the Hearth TV expertise can count on extra of the identical—simply with out as many velocity bumps alongside the best way.

Related sticks

Held subsequent to 1 one other, the brand new Hearth TV Stick and Hearth TV Stick Lite look an identical. Each plug immediately into your TV’s HDMI port (a brief extension cable is included if you happen to want extra clearance across the TV), and each have a quad-core 1.7GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and dual-band Wi-Fi 5 assist. Whereas the 2 sticks haven’t any further ports past micro-USB for energy, an inexpensive USB-OTG cable would enable for thumb drives and different USB equipment.

Efficiency-wise, they’re a giant enchancment over the earlier Hearth TV Stick (which first launched in 2016), with a lot shorter loading occasions and fewer herky-jerky scrolling by way of menus, and so they deliver velocity roughly as much as par with different funds streamers. Roku units are inclined to really feel a bit sooner—if solely as a result of they’re higher at displaying partial menus or loading icons as an alternative of simply momentarily freezing up—however when it comes to loading occasions, it’s just about a wash.

ftvsticks Jared Newman / IDG

Amazon’s Hearth TV Stick 4K (pictured at rear) is a bit bigger than the identical-looking Hearth TV Stick and Hearth TV Stick Lite

Each Hearth TV Sticks also can provide 1080p video and assist excessive dynamic vary within the HDR10, HDR10+, or HLG codecs, although neither assist 4K video or Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR. (You’ll have to step as much as Amazon’s $50 Hearth TV Stick 4K for these options.)

The one different distinction on the spec sheet is on the audio entrance: The place the Hearth TV Stick helps decode for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital/Digital+, and DTS, the Hearth TV Stick Lite solely helps passthrough for these codecs.

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