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Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Cube: A Detailed Comparison

Amazon‘s Fire TV devices are some of the most popular media streamers on the market. With multiple options now available, it can get confusing determining whether the Fire TV Stick or more advanced Fire TV Cube is the right choice for your home entertainment needs. This comprehensive guide examines the key differences and similarities to help you decide.

Overview of the Fire TV Stick

The Fire TV Stick is Amazon‘s compact yet mighty streaming stick that simply plugs into your TV‘s HDMI port. There are now four iterations available:

  • Fire TV Stick Lite – $29.99
  • Fire TV Stick – $39.99
  • Fire TV Stick 4K – $49.99
  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max – $54.99

The Stick provides effortless access to popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and of course, Prime Video. Each model varies slightly in its capabilities:

  • The Lite lacks volume/power controls on remote & no Dolby Atmos
  • Base model adds these remote features back
  • 4K model supports Ultra HD streaming
  • 4K Max boosts speed with WiFi 6 and more RAM

No matter which you choose, Amazon‘s Fire TV Stick makes it simple and affordable to start streaming media to your television.

What is the Fire TV Cube?

The Fire TV Cube (£119.99) has all the 4K streaming capabilities of the Fire Stick 4K Max but in a slick, cube-shaped package with some exciting extras.

Most notably, the Cube effectively doubles as an Echo smart speaker, bringing hands-free Alexa voice controls to your TV system. This allows total voice command of both your entertainment content and compatible smart home devices.

You can ask Alexa to turn on the TV and launch apps or search for titles just using your voice. The Cube acts as a universal remote too, able to control soundbars, AV receivers, cable boxes, and more.

With a faster hexa-core processor and 16GB storage, the Cube also offers snappier performance for navigating menus and launching streaming apps compared to the Stick.

Connectivity and Setup

The Fire Stick simply plugs into your TV‘s HDMI port making setup very straightforward. The Fire TV Cube connects via HDMI too but also has IR, microUSB and Ethernet ports allowing greater integration with your existing AV equipment.

Both devices are reliant on your WiFi connection quality for streaming. Only the premium 4K Max Stick matches the Cube‘s WiFi 6 support which enables faster and more reliable wireless speeds.

The Cube‘s IR blaster gives you enhanced universal remote capabilities out of the box without needing to buy separates hubs or equipment.

Streaming Video and Audio Performance

When it comes to actual video streaming quality, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Cube are evenly matched. Both support:

  • 4K Ultra HD resolutions
  • HDR and Dolby Vision
  • Dolby Atmos immersive audio

This means amazing clarity and vibrant colors when watching movies in supported formats. The extra RAM in the Cube provides slightly faster loading times but you‘ll still get exceptional picture quality streaming 4K content from Prime Video, Netflix etc on either device.

With Dolby Atmos decoding built-in, you also get surround sound audio providing a cinematic listening experience through compatible speaker set ups like soundbars.

So despite the Cube having more processing grunt under the hood, the streaming experience is essentially identical across top-tier Stick and Cube models.

Extra Features on the Fire TV Cube

Where the Fire TV Cube justifies its higher price tag are those bonus features lacking on the Stick devices:

Hands-Free Alexa – With mics built directly into the Cube, you get full voice control without needing the Alexa Voice Remote. This gives you incredible convenience to manage entertainment and smart home gadgets completely hands-free.

Universal Remote – The Cube‘s IR blaster means out of the box support for controlling the power, volume and inputs on the majority of TVs, sound bars, cable boxes, receivers etc. This single device can completely replace your existing remotes.

Smart Home Hub – Just like an Echo speaker, the powerful Alexa integration means the Cube can act as a control hub for all compatible smart home devices like lighting, thermostats, security systems and more.

On-Device Playback – The Cube has a built-in speaker and Amazon Music support for request songs totally separate from your TV system.

These bonus features make the Fire TV Cube an enticing choice if you want deeper home automation and voice control capabilities alongside your media streaming in one multipurpose device.

Fire Stick vs Fire TV Cube: Which Should You Buy?

When weighing up Fire Stick vs Fire TV Cube, here are some key facts to consider:

For 4K streaming alone – Get the Fire Stick 4K Max and save money. It matches the Cube for video quality and loading speeds.

For best smart home integration – The Cube‘s Alexa and IR control hub makes it easy to centralize multi-device management.

If you want hands-free operation – Only the Cube provides total voice control without the Voice Remote.

For buyers on a budget – The mid-tier Fire Stick provides the most affordable access to Prime Video and more.

As a universal remote upgrade – Consolidate your AV kit under the Cube‘s advanced remote capabilities.

Overall the Fire TV Cube justifies its higher price for customers who‘ll utilize those expanded Alexa-powered features. More casual streamers will likely be very satisfied saving money with the Fire Stick 4K Max instead.

Hopefully this detailed look at Amazon‘s streaming gadgets has given greater insight into making the right choice for your needs and budget!