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What’s the Amazon Hearth Stick, and the way does it work?

What is the Amazon Fire Stick? How does it work? If you’re seeking the answers to these questions, then rest easy. You’re in the right place. We’re going to guide you through everything you need to know about the Amazon Fire Stick, including the different types, their features and why you might want one. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our list of the best streaming devices if you want to browse other alternatives.

What is the Amazon Fire TV Stick?

At its core, the Fire Stick is best thought of as a mini computer that you can plug into your TV. It offers a huge number of streaming apps, including all the heavy hitters like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, and more. It also features other extras like games, including access to Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming service.

As for why you’d want one? Well, it’s a quick and easy way to breathe life into an ageing TV or monitor, and is far cheaper than buying a new TV altogether. Or maybe you find yourself preferring the Fire Stick’s  UI and app experience, and would rather use it as your main source of entertainment for your TV. Whatever the reason, its compact form factor and range of affordable price tags make it a very appealing option for those looking to inject their screens with a modern media experience.

The fact that it simply plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port makes installation an absolute breeze, and it can be powered via a simple USB cable for added convenience. Each Fire Stick also comes bundled with a remote, some of which also have Alexa Voice capability, thanks to a built-in microphone. In other words, a Fire Stick is also a handy way of adding Alexa smarts to other rooms around your house.

Better yet, thanks to its miniature size, there’s nothing stopping you from chucking your Fire Stick in a bag while travelling, taking your entertainment portal with you wherever you are. Throw in apps like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and more, and you’ve got access to all your tunes too.

Which Amazon Fire Stick should you buy?

At the time of writing, there are four different models of the Amazon Fire Stick available. The right one for you depends on your needs and budget. The below table summarises their differences:

Fire TV Stick Lite Fire TV Stick Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd gen.) Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd gen.) Fire TV Cube (3rd gen.)
Price From: £34.99 From: £44.99 From: £59.99 From: £69.99 From: £139.99
Ratings 4.7 out of 5 stars (33,680) 4.7 out of 5 stars (103,004) 4.7 out of 5 stars (5,851) 4.6 out of 5 stars (3,926) 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,188)
Best for Essential HD streaming HD streaming with convenient device controls Cinematic 4K streaming Powerful 4K streaming The ultimate hands-free 4K streaming experience
Supported picture quality 1080p Full HD (high definition) 1080p Full HD (high definition) 4K Ultra HD 4K Ultra HD 4K Ultra HD
Supported video HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Dolby Vision, plus HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Dolby Vision, plus HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Dolby Vision, plus HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Supported audio Dolby encoded audio Dolby Atmos audio Dolby Atmos audio Dolby Atmos audio Dolby Atmos audio
Included remote Alexa Voice Remote Lite Alexa Voice Remote Alexa Voice Remote Alexa Voice Remote Enhanced Alexa Voice Remote Enhanced
Storage 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB 16 GB 16 GB
Memory 1 GB 1 GB 2 GB 2 GB 2 GB
Wi-Fi support & connectivity Wi-Fi 5 Wi-Fi 5 Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi 6E + Ethernet port
Live View Picture-in-Picture
Fire TV Ambient Experience
Hands-free with Alexa
Connect and control your devices (set-top box, game console, webcam, etc.)
Release year 2021 2021 2023 2023 2022

If you’re not fussed about 4K or Alexa controls, then the cheapest Fire Stick Lite should be enough for your needs. As the price increases, you’ll get extra features, such as 4K, faster Wi-Fi, and more powerful components (which will be useful for those planning for heavy use/gaming).

It’s worth noting that there’s also a Fire TV Cube, which is a do-it-all box that has the advantage of hands-free Alexa, as well as acting as a rather handsome smart speaker in its own right.

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