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Amazon’s lineup of Fire TV devices features a variety of models ranging from the Fire TV Stick Lite to the Fire TV Cube. To find out what differentiates these various models from each other and decide which one is the best Firestick for you, check out our full Firestick comparison.
Written by Brian Murray (Writer)
Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey (Copy Editor)
Last Updated: 2022-05-02T00:04:08+00:00
All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing.
If you’ve ever shopped for a smart TV or streaming dongle, you know that there’s an overwhelming number of options including Google Chromecast, numerous Roku devices and arguably the most well known, the Amazon Fire TV (see how they compare in our Roku vs Firestick vs Chromecast guide). However, which is the best Firestick? Find out in this Firestick comparison.
We’ll be focusing on all of the Fire TV devices — including the Fire TV Sticks, original Fire TV and the rarely seen Fire TV Cube — to see which one is best for your needs.
Whether you’re looking for a top-shelf 4K HDR viewing experience or just a simple streaming device that lets you easily watch YouTube videos on your TV, one of Amazon’s half-dozen Fire TV models will most likely offer exactly what you’re looking for.
Aside from price, the biggest differences between the various models of Fire TV Stick are the video and audio formats they support. The lower models only support 1080p, while higher models start to include things like 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
Which version of Fire TV Stick is best really depends on your needs, but currently the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the highest model of Firestick style dongle. There is also the Fire TV Cube — although not a discreet dongle — features much more powerful hardware than any of the Fire TV Sticks.
Two models of Firestick were released in 2020, the Fire TV Stick Lite and the Fire TV Stick 3rd gen. The most up-to-date Fire TV Stick 4K was released in 2018 and supports higher resolutions and some other minor features, compared to the lower tier models released in 2020.
You can buy all the Firestick devices on Amazon.com.
Amazon offers a wide variety of streaming devices under its Fire TV product line, with the majority of these products being a variant of the Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV Stick is a small rectangular dongle that plugs into an HDMI port on the back of your TV and remains hidden back there to do its job largely unseen.
Every model of Fire TV device comes with a remote control, and most of the models have the same 8GB of internal storage for installing Fire Stick channels or apps from the Amazon app store such as Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services. The exception to this is the Fire TV Cube, which doubles that capacity to 16GB.
Each model has various bells and whistles added to it as you move up the product line with things like improved resolution, support for more audio and video formats and added remote control functionality. Let’s look at the models in more detail and see what each one has to offer.
Buy It On Amazon: Price not available
Let’s start with the most affordable option, the Fire TV Stick Lite. As the name implies, the Fire TV Stick Lite offers the fewest features of all the available Fire TV Sticks and is designed to be the most affordable. That being said, this entry-level device still offers all the main features that someone would be looking for in any smart TV.
The Fire TV Stick Lite has the same processor as some of the higher tiers we’ll look at shortly, and is equipped with 1GB of RAM. This hardware allows it to stream 1080p HD video to any HD television with an HDMI port.
This streaming stick even supports some HDR formats such as HDR 10 and HDR 10+. Additionally, the Fire TV Stick Lite has access to the same apps and streaming services as all the other models.
There are two drawbacks to the Fire Stick TV Lite. The first is that it supports fewer sound formats than the other models. It can handle HDMI audio passthrough of Dolby audio, but lacks support for more advanced formats like Dolby Atmos, which we’ll get into shortly.
The second drawback of the Fire TV Stick Lite model is that it has fewer features built into the included remote. Although the Lite version still comes with an Alexa voice remote, it can’t control the power, volume and mute functions, so you’ll need to keep your original TV remote on hand. The other models can handle this through the Fire TV Stick’s remote.
Buy It On Amazon: $19.99
As far as the hardware specs are concerned, the Fire TV Stick Lite and the Fire TV Stick are essentially twins. They both use the same MT8695D processor, which is a competent quad-core CPU that clocks up to 1.7 GHz — an impressive feat considering the Fire TV Stick has no fans or active cooling. The models also share the same graphics processing unit, called IMG GE8300, and the same 1GB of RAM.
To add to the similarities, the Fire TV Stick is limited to 1080p resolution and has the same HDR options as the Lite model. HDR improves the range of luminosity that can be displayed and requires a TV that supports HDR. The benefit is noticeably more detail in scenes that are dimly lit and a greater contrast between bright and dark areas.
The Fire TV Stick fully supports Dolby Atmos audio. This is a relatively new audio format that allows your sound system to know the actual position of an object or sound it’s producing, for more accurate and spatial audio. Dolby Atmos even supports things like sounds passing overhead and behind you, rather than just the standard left and right channels or 5.1 surround.
The other major difference is with the remote. The included Alexa voice remote that comes with the Fire TV Stick, and all other models except for the Fire TV Stick Lite, has built-in TV controls for power and volume.
Buy It On Amazon: $44.99
The Fire TV Stick 4K is where we start to see some small but meaningful differences on the spec sheet. The 4K model has the same CPU and GPU as the previous two options, but with 1.5GB of memory rather than 1GB like the standard and Lite versions.
As the name would suggest, the key difference of the Fire TV Stick 4K over the lower models is that it can handle 4K UHD streaming.
Just like the standard Fire TV Stick, it also supports multiple sound formats including Dolby Atmos as well as HDR video. On top of that, this model can also use Dolby Vision, which is similar to HDR but is able to deliver more vibrant colors as well as sharply contrasting high-range bright and dark areas on a Dolby Vision–compatible screen.
Finally, the Fire TV Stick 4K comes with the same remote as the third-generation model. This means that it has Alexa voice control and TV control buttons that allow you to turn your TV on or off and change the volume.
Buy It on Amazon: Price not available
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the newest member of the Fire Stick family. It comes with an improvement in hardware that is much more significant than the previous models we’ve looked at, which all share the same GPU and quad-core CPU.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max bumps the processor up to an MT8696, which improves the peak clock speed from 1.7 GHz of the lower models to a marginally better 1.8 GHz. In addition to this, the RAM is moved up to a whole 2GB, which is half a gigabyte more than the standard 4K model. The GPU is also moved up from a 650 MHz model in all the other Fire Stick options to a 750 MHz IMG GE9215.
These enhanced specs are mostly geared toward use with Luna, Amazon’s cloud gaming service. The boosted hardware offers smoother gameplay at a higher and more stable frame rate. Aside from this, it’s almost entirely the same as its standard 4K predecessor, with the same Alexa voice remote controls, 4K HDR streaming and Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision capabilities.
Buy It On Amazon: Price not available
The Fire TV Cube is the most powerful Fire TV streaming device but, as a tradeoff, is much larger than any of Amazon’s streaming stick options we just looked at. Rather than being a small dongle that hangs behind your TV unseen, the Fire TV Cube is 2.99 inches tall and has a square base that measures 3.38 inches wide (meaning, it’s technically not a cube).
The added size gives the Fire TV Cube room for much stronger hardware compared to the more discreet Fire TV Stick models. It comes with a hexa-core processor that clocks up to 2.2 GHz, an 800 MHz GPU and a full 2GB of RAM. The Fire TV Cube also has an advantage in storage capacity, with 16GB of space for apps — double the 8GB of the other models.
You can use the Fire TV Cube hands-free with Alexa voice controls, rather than holding down a button and speaking into the remote like you do with the other models. The Fire TV Cube can even be networked with other devices like the Amazon Echo so that you can control your TV from anywhere in the house.
The Fire TV Cube can also easily be set up to control your cable box and other devices with voice commands and has its own built-in speaker so you can use Alexa even when the TV is off.
Buy It On Amazon: $449.99
The Fire TV was the original Amazon streaming dongle. Originally, it was a small square rather than a rectangle like the Fire Sticks we have today, but the product has been phased out in favor of the Fire TV Sticks which have better specs and performance.
However, Amazon continues to use the Fire TV name for televisions with built-in Fire TV hardware. While there are third party options from manufacturers like Toshiba, who will integrate the Fire TV hardware into their televisions, Amazon actually offers an official line of Fire TVs called the ‘Omni Series.’
These TVs come in sizes ranging from 43-inch all the way up to 75-Inch and are full 4K resolution. In addition, the screens are HDR 10 compatible for more vibrant colors and come with hands-free Alexa controls like the Fire TV Cube. This is a great option if you were planning to upgrade your TV and want something streaming capable right out of the box.
The Fire TV Cube is by far the priciest option, coming in at Price not available, thanks to its doubled storage capacity and much beefier specs. The recent price drop has made the Fire TV Stick 4K model an excellent value for the features it offers, and the Fire TV Stick Lite is a great entry-level option for streaming straight to your TV.
The Fire TV itself does not come with any kind of recurring fees. However, to get the most out of the device, you will probably want to consider some monthly streaming services if you’re not already subscribed to some.
Fire TV can stream from practically any service you can think of including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and hundreds of other streaming service options.
Each of the devices within the Fire TV lineup offers different strengths and weaknesses. The Fire TV Stick Lite is an affordable option for upgrading an old TV, while the Fire TV Stick 4K offers superb high-definition and HDR viewing for newer televisions that don’t have a smart TV already built in.
The Fire TV 4K Max is a great choice for those interested in game streaming from Amazon’s Luna service, while the Fire TV Cube is a tempting tool for power users who want Alexa integrated throughout the house. Which device is best for you will depend on your needs and how you’ll use the device.
If you’ve ever wanted to stream content from pretty much any platform straight to your TV, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great way to do it, with models ranging in price and features. While the lineup might be a bit bloated at this point, many people will still appreciate the variety of choices.
We have a Fire Stick setup guide you can use once you’ve chosen the model you want, as well as a troubleshooting guide for if your Firestick is not working.
Can your current TV stream content? Have you used or even heard of HDR before? Have you tried a Fire TV or another streaming device? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.
Brian Murray (Writer)
Brian studied economics at George Mason University before moving away from the big city lights and into the calm of the Appalachians. Writing about tech by day and science fiction by night, Brian hopes to achieve the status of a cyber-renaissance man somewhere between Hideo Kojima and Linus Tech Tips. More about Brian Murray
9 thoughts on “Amazon Fire TV Stick Comparison 2023: Which Is the Best Firestick to Buy?”
Awesome and understandable comparison. Thanks.
I have a question what if your tv only has one hdmi spot. Will a firestick work with a splitter.
Not a splitter but an HDMI switch. In fact one of my setups uses this as my TV has only 2 HDMI ports with 1 that’s quite hard to access due to my wall mount.
So I have the Fire Stick, PS4, and a sattelite tuner hooked up to an HDMI switch
Thank you for the informative post. I did notice an error on the graph where the storage space for the Fire Stick Cube was listed as on 8GB as opposed to 16GB.
Thanks for catching that!
I have a 2 year old Sony Bravo. Which fire stick should I purchase? Will I be able to remove my cable company box and save the the cost of their box. please advise
Fire Stick 4K OR 4K Max
I have a Samsung UHD TV ultra high definition 4k. Model UN653W 7500. What firestick would you advise. Totally lost when it comes to firesticks. Thanks
I have almost the same tv & use the basic fire stick. Works fine. Might not stream 4k but don’t find that an issue. SO much better than the built-in apps.
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