Amazon Fire Stick – Big things come in small form-factors
I bought an Amazon Fire Stick while it was on sale for $19 back in October. It took 6 weeks to ship to me, I had kind of forgotten about it for a while, but it was worth the wait. Let it be known that I am an Amazon Prime member and use my 7″ Kindle HDX to stream video nightly. We have a Ruko3 on our bedroom which I like and use that to stream Amazon Prime and Netflix in that spot. The best features of the Roku3 imo is the easy to navigate UI and the headphone jack on the remote. We had no Amazon Prime streaming option for the living room TV other than AirPlay from the iPad to the AppleTV. I had almost bought another Roku3 for that spot but held off thinking I wanted something else there. When the Fire Stick came up on sale for $19 I jumped on it fast – I was so ready for a device that natively supported Amazon Prime streaming for the home theater. So I got it, connected it, and have been continually impressed since I started playing with this gadget. The streaming video quality is a 9 (10 being Blu-Ray quality) and audio is again a 9. It transmits Dolby 5.1 “plus” audio which is a very nice format for folks wanting to make use of their surround system. I have to say out of all the streaming devices we have including our Comcast/Xfinity X1 box, this device gives the best picture and audio quality.
Other good stuff – the UI is very easy to navigate. There is voice control via a smartphone app or if you want to purchase an additional remote – but I have not found this to be a hindrance. It supports all the popular streaming apps. It does not play games well, so if you want gaming ability get the Fire TV box. If all you want is a very good compact streamer at a bargain price ($39 now) – this is it! The actual unit is about the size of it’s tiny remote. It plugs right into an HDMI port on your TV or reciver. It comes with an extension dongle for hard to reach spots or if you have cable clutter issues at the back of your receiver and need some room. It does require auxiliary power which is the only ‘con’ I can think of. It comes with a small “wall wart” power plug and USB cable to provide extra power to the unit – this was a little surprise to me but I suspect this is to help with it’s wifi reception performance. I have it connected via 5G and it’s far from the router but I still get 4 bars, so if the extra power helps with that, it’s worth the small hassle.
The Fire Stick gives you access to your whole Amazon video library as well as your Audio library and Cloud Drive. You can set the screen saver to run through your photos saved on your Amazon Cloud Drive. It basically plays really well with all Amazon services. I say again, the video and audio quality is excellent – better than our cable box. I am thoroughly impressed. Having an Amazon Prime membership is not required but it does give you access to LOTS of free content which will make the device more appealing to Prime members. The device comes with a free month of Prime so you can take it for a test drive at no extra expense. A big thumbs up from this gadget guy!