There are hundreds of different streaming options available today, and Amazon is home to two of the most popular: the Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube. Though their names might be similar, each device has different strengths and weaknesses that can influence which one is the better choice for you.
With such similar names, it can be difficult to tell the differences between what each one does. Amazon’s poor naming scheme aside, this article will take a look at the differences between the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Cube and help you decide which device to buy.
Design, Price, and Specs
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the most affordable option if you’re on a budget. At just $50, this device is simple: you plug an HDMI dongle into your television and control it via a remote or through voice commands. You access content by switching your television to the right input.
See? Easy. For the most part, you will never see the Fire TV Stick 4K. Its design means it stays hidden behind your television, eliminating unsightly cords.
The Fire TV Cube, on the other hand, is a larger device. It resembles an Alexa smart speaker, with four buttons atop the cube and built-in speakers and microphones for the Alexa functionality. It is also the most expensive Amazon streaming option at $100, but the most powerful too.
The Fire TV Cube has 16 GB of internal storage as well as 2 GB of memory and supports both far-field and near-field voice support thanks to its internal speakers. You can also speak directly into the remote to control it, or to any connected Alexa speaker in your home.
The Cube supports Dolby Atmos audio as well as 7.1 surround sound, HDMI audio passthrough, and 2 channel stereo. The box includes an IR extender cable, too, if you wanted to use the Cube to control something like a sound bar.
The specs for the Fire TV Stick 4K are more limited, but still impressive for such a small device. It has 8 GB of internal storage and is compatible with a wide range of different IR devices, but lacks a dedicated IR port like the Cube. It also requires the remote for voice control, although a connected Echo speaker can also issue commands to the Fire TV Stick 4K.
Content And Resolution
Both the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Cube provide access to 4K content, as well as HDR, HDR10+, and more.
Both provide access to all major streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video (obviously), Disney Plus, and many more. According to Amazon, that adds up to more than 500,000 shows and movies. They aren’t limited solely to those devices though. You can also use your Fire TV Stick 4Kor Fire TV Cube to display connected Alexa-compatible cameras.
For instance, say you have a baby monitor with a camera. You can ask Alexa to show you the nursery, and a live stream of your child will appear on-screen. This feature, along with the ability to stream pictures and video saved to your Amazon account, give both of these devices much more functionality than just streaming content.
The Fire TV Stick 4K allows you to search and play content, control volume levels, and more through the remote. Just press and hold the voice button and issue the command to Alexa. While easy to use, it’s not quite as easy as it would be if it offered easier voice controls.
The Fire TV Cube, on the other hand, doesn’t require a button. You can speak to it from anywhere in the room. The microphones always listen for the wake word, which allows you to control it without searching for the remote. Thanks to the Fire TV Cube’s numerous ports, you can control more devices through voice control than you can with the Fire Stick.
That said, both devices come with a remote, which makes them a bit easier to use for people that are not quite as tech savvy. It also provides an alternative control scheme if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of an always-listening device in your home.
Why Choose One Over the Other?
Both the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire Cube serve similar functions, so you might wonder why one is any better than the other. It essentially boils down to your intended use for each.
The standard Fire TV Stick 4K is the best option for those with 4K televisions that want to keep their costs down. It allows access to streaming services at a lower cost than the other options Amazon offers while still retaining the same convenient controls.
If budget isn’t a concern and you want the most powerful Amazon-based streaming box with expandability for other accessories, the Fire TV Cube is the best option. It’s only $50 more than the Fire TV Stick 4K, offers much more functionality, and is the most powerful option overall.
If you don’t have a 4K TV, there may not seem to be much point in picking up either of these devices. 4K is the way of the future, and eventually all content will be streamed at that resolution. Even if you do not yet own one, purchasing either of these Amazon devices can be thought of as future-proofing your entertainment.