Is the Amazon Fire TV Cube Really What You Expected?

Patrick last updated this page on August 1, 2018.

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is essentially a Fire TV 2017 with upgraded hardware and a built-in Echo Dot, Amazon’s Alexa-powered speaker/virtual assistant.

What’s Great:

  • Storage has been increased (from 8 GB on Fire TV 2017 to 16 GB now)
  • Ethernet Adapter (Out of the Box)
  • Integration with the Echo Dot

What Doesn’t Work:

  • The hardware specifications are the same as the 2017 Fire TV, with the exception of more storage.
  • It must be purchased separately. HDMI cable is not included.
  • More expensive than the Amazon Fire TV 2017 and Echo Dot bundle

Cube, which is currently available for $119 as I write this review, appears to be catching up to Apple TV in terms of price. Alexa is already built into the Fire TV and FireStick lines of devices. Alexa’s compatibility with many of the company’s top audio and video devices is well-known. However, while there is only $60 worth of catching up to do in terms of price (Apple TV is $179), there is a lot to cover in terms of features and hardware specs. Things are about to get even more exciting as Amazon combines the Fire TV, Alexa, and Echo Dot into a single package dubbed Fire TV Cube and delivers it to you for a price that isn’t exactly cheap. Amazon is clearly attempting to make Alexa a household name.

It would be unfair to compare Cube to Apple TV because the two devices belong to different categories. In this review of the Fire TV Cube, I’ll compare it to two more family-friendly devices: the Fire TV (2017) and the Echo Dot.

,,,,,,,,,, First and foremost, hardware!

Hardware comes first because it is the foundation of the entire user experience. I’ll use the Amazon Fire TV 2017 as a comparison point because it was the last device in the Fire TV line before Cube.

But, for now, we’ll put the Echo Dot aside and focus on the Fire TV Cube’s core hardware capabilities as a media device. The Echo Dot, an already popular smart speaker, is included in the Fire TV Cube, which is not included in the 2017 Fire TV.

The OTG adapter, like the other Fire TV devices, can be used to expand the storage. In comparison to the Fire TV, which only has 8 GB of internal storage, this device has 16 GB. Despite the fact that Cube doubles the storage capacity, 16 GB isn’t much for video downloaders and savers. The Fire TV Cube is the same as the 2017 Fire TV, but with more storage.

Like Fire TV, this device supports HDR10 and is not compatible with HDR10+, plays 4K videos, and has Dolby Atmos surround sound audio. Aside from the increased storage, all other hardware specifications remain unchanged. Cube has the same 1.5 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM, and MIMO Wi-Fi as Fire TV.

You won’t be able to watch videos right away if you don’t already have an HDMI cable. However, it’s difficult to believe it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable. Cube uses HDMI to connect to your TV. That is, after all, what you would expect to pay $120 for a device like this. When I unpacked Cube, I was extremely disappointed to discover this. So, when you buy the Fire TV Cube, don’t forget to include the HDMI cable in your shopping cart. Even the cheapest Fire TV media device, the FireStick, comes with an HDMI extension.

I almost didn’t mention it. For wired connectivity, Cube includes an Ethernet adapter in the box. This is a step up from the Fire TV, which requires a $14.99 Ethernet adapter to connect to the internet via wire.

I was hoping Amazon would finally include a volume control button, but it did not. The remote controllers for both the Cube and the Fire TV 2017 are identical.

Dot is now Echo Dot.

In fact, the set is available on Amazon for $94.99. Together, the Fire TV and Echo Dot (two separate devices) can do nearly everything the Fire TV Cube can. Cube is about $22 more expensive, but it comes with an extra 8 GB and a built-in Ethernet port.

Alexa integration allows you to control a variety of smart devices and home appliances, including your TV, gaming consoles, lighting, and more. If you already own an Echo Dot, the Fire TV Cube is a waste of money. The Echo Dot can perform nearly all of the functions of the Cube’s Echo Dot.

If you plan to use both Alexa devices in the same room, it’s best to keep them in separate rooms or change the wake word on one of them. If you use the same wake word, both of you may respond to the same commands at the same time, causing a lot of confusion, especially if you keep them close together. Another difficulty is keeping two Echo Dots in close proximity.

The Fire TV Cube Echo Dot, on the other hand, is excellent at listening to and carrying out your commands. I put Echo Dot to the test with my home theater, and the results were fantastic. This is where the Echo Dot really shines. The true power of such a device, however, lies in its ability to hear in less-than-ideal audio conditions. It could hear me and carry out my commands from a distance of over 5 feet and with fairly loud music playing. From across the room and even over loud music, it can hear and recognize your commands.

â€Alexa, increase the volume.â€

â€Alexa, reduce the volume.â€

â€Alexa, play the last track.â€

â€Alexa, play the next track,†says the speaker.

If you keep the Cube too close to the loud speaker, you’ll have to shout at the top of your lungs for Echo Dot to hear you.

However, I was dissatisfied with how it handled my requests to navigate through the app list on the home screen and the Your Apps & Channels segment. Because Alexa on Fire TV 2017 had limited functionality, I was curious to see how Echo Dot would work with the Fire TV Cube interface. The Echo Dot opened all of the apps I asked it to open, took me to the Settings, searched for apps for me, assisted me in downloading apps, and a whole lot more. I was much better off using the remote than trying to give Alexa commands that she couldn’t carry out.

I wasn’t discouraged, though. I knew Echo Dot’s capabilities extended far beyond the Cube’s interface, and it could help me in a variety of ways.

The Amazon App Store is where Alexa got all of the apps she could open quickly. What is the distinction? When I told her to open Kodi, Mobdro, and Tea Tv, she was perplexed and unable to do so. Alexa presented me with yet another challenge. It was impossible for the apps to be sideloaded onto the FireStick. When I asked her to open Netflix, Hulu, Downloader, or ES File Explorer, she promptly did so. The point is that Alexa is capable of opening App Store apps but not of running third-party, side-loaded apps.

The 0.6-inch Echo Dot speaker on the Fire TV Cube is the same as on the $50 Echo Dot. When you want to listen to music at a low volume and don’t want to use your larger speakers because they consume more power, the sound quality is acceptable. It’s a basic speaker with no woofers and no support for Dolby.

Finally, a review of the Amazon Fire TV Cube

Also, keep in mind that the Cube does not come with an HDMI cable. A 6-foot cable will set you back around $8. If you already have Fire TV 2017, getting the Fire TV Cube isn’t a good idea. I’d rather spend $50 on an Echo Dot and $15 on an Ethernet adapter and save more than $50. It must be purchased separately. You can always buy an OTG adapter separately if you need more storage. An OTG adapter of good quality will set you back between $5 and $10.

I believe Amazon could have crammed a more powerful device into the $120 package. In fact, I would be willing to pay an extra $10 for a faster processor. Every Fire TV device is a little sluggish.

You can use it to control smart appliances, TVs, home theater systems, and a wide range of other smart devices. If you don’t already have a Fire TV, I think the Fire TV Cube is a good place to start. The Echo Dot works just as well with Cube as it does on its own. Your setup will be less cluttered because it combines two devices into one.

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