The Amazon Fire TV Cube is the best Amazon Fire TV device you can buy. ($119 at Amazon.)

We now have three entries in the external Amazon Fire TV category — the Fire TV Cube, Fire TV pendant (aka Gen. 3), and the Fire TV Stick. (The Amazon Fire TV Edition, which is baked into televisions from Toshiba and others, is another animal altogether.)

The question, then, is which one is right for you?

Fire TV Specs

First, let's just look at the basic specs of the three Amazon Fire TV devices. On the whole, the Fire TV Cube and Fire TV pendant have roughly the same internal specs. The Fire TV Stick is decidedly lesser — with half the internals, and an aging operating system.

Category Fire TV Cube Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Price $119 $49 $39
Max resolution 2160p (4K) 2160p (4K) 1080p
Operating system Fire OS 6 (Android 7.1) Fire OS 6 (Android 7.1) Fire OS 5 (Android 5.1)
Processor Amlogic S905Z MTK8695+MT7668 Mediatek 8127D
GPU Mali-450 MP3 IMG GE8300 Mali-450 MP4
Storage 16GB 8GB 8GB
External storage microUSB No No
Bluetooth BT 4.2 BT 5.0 BT 4.1
Wifi 802.11ac 802.11ac 802.11ac
Ethernet Adapter included Optional adapter No
Dolby Atmos Yes Yes No
Dolby Vision No YES No
HDR 10 Yes Yes No
CEC Control Yes No No
Amazon Alexa Built in Via voice remote Via voice remote
Internal speaker Yes No No
See at Amazon $119 $49 $39

There is a lot more to look at here than just specs. For as similar the Fire TV Cube and Fire TV Gen. 3 may be on paper, they're very different products when you actually look at them.

Our top pick: Amazon Fire TV Cube

Where the Amazon Fire TV Cube stands out is that it's basically what you'd get if you combined an Amazon Echo Dot with an Amazon Fire TV pendant. It's got the same internal hardware as the Fire TV Gen 3. Same processor, same storage. It supports 4K resolution and HDR 10 and Dolby Atmos. (Though Amazon doesn't really have any content that supports Atmos, but that's another thing for another time.

The biggest difference on the hardware front is that it's got CEC control — meaning it can do things like turn your TV on and off, and switch inputs, too. That'll let Alexa really take charge of your living room. To that end, it also comes with an infrared extender, so it can pipe controls to devices that are hidden inside an entertainment cabinet.

Then there's the Echo-like hardware itself. The Fire TV Cube has an external speaker, so you don't even have to have the TV turned on — or use the voice remote — to have Alexa issue commands. (And that makes sense, because you'll be able to have her turn the TV on in the first place.) You'll also find the usual buttons from an Echo Dot, too.

Who should buy the Fire TV Cube? If Amazon Fire TV is going to be your main streaming hardware, this is the one you'll want to buy. The price isn't excessive (and we're willing to bet we'll see it drop from the $119 retail price fairly often), and you essentially get an Amazon Echo Dot for free when you get this device. And if you want to go one further it also basically services as a voice-activated universal remote control — something even Logitech hasn't really worked out yet.

Amazon Fire TV pendant

This is the Fire TV that (for a while, at least) replaced the original Fire TV box. It also handles 4K resolution and HDR 10, and Dolby Atmos audio, all for just $69. (When it's not on sale.) Obviously this lacks the integrated Amazon Alexa support, but you absolutely can still issue orders via the included voice remote — it's just that everything has to be on and running for you to do so.

Who should buy the Fire TV pendant? This is an HDMI dongle, so it'll hide behind your TV — a great option if you've got things mounted on a wall or are otherwise just out of space. It's not the fastest streaming hardware out there, but it's still darn good.

It's also the way to go if you just can't bring yourself to spend more than $100 on a streaming device. If you simply don't care about having an Amazon Echo built into a Fire TV, you can go this route and save a few bucks.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

This is a less powerful, less capable, aging Amazon Fire TV device. It tops out at 1080p resolution, and so it also doesn't get anywhere near HDR support. It also has just half the internal storage and RAM as the other Fire TV devices.

Plus, it's running the previous generation of Fire TV OS, which is based on an even older version of Android.

Who should buy the Fire TV Stick? Look, we don't really recommend buying this thing. Sure, you'll get some basic streaming. But you don't get any sort of future-proofing built in. It's the slowest of a not-overly-quick set of hardware. And it's just $39.

But to be clear, this thing's a dinosaur, and your money is better spent elsewhere.

Amazon Fire TV


Fire TV Cube
Fire TV Stick   Fire TV Edition

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