Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic, is a special stick that connects to the Wi-Fi network and the HDMI port and TV. It allows us to download Apps of all kinds and see on the big screen Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Youtube and many other web channels, which broadcast on the internet.
How Amazon Fire Sick Basic Kit work’s
Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic Edition is recently available in Italy and immediately goes to undermine Chromecast. What is Fire TV Stick? A small accessory to connect to the HDMI port of your TV, to see Netflix, listen to Spotify, and take advantage of other streaming services, on all Prime Videos. And the price, especially for Prime users, is very good.
How it work’s Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick package is very complete. Inside you can find: Fire TV Stick, a small HDMI extension cable, a power cord, the relative power supply and a remote control. The first is a normal 5.25V / 1A charger. If you have a 1A USB Type-A port on your TV you can still use it. The second (not included in Chromecast) is similar to Android TV, which is certainly not bad. Too bad that it works on batteries (two AAA, included in the package) and is not rechargeable.
Complete a minimum of manuals, always due. Honestly we can not think of anything that Amazon could have added. Maybe a gamepad, but then he would have to change box (and price).
Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic hardware honors its name. In fact, we have a 1.3 GHz MediaTek Quad-core processor with Mali 450 GPU. At its side we find 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. Regarding connectivity, we have Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. The latter in particular quickly hooks up the signal and has never given us any problems. Which is no small thing, considering that the Fire TV Stick “lives” on Wi-Fi.
Undoubtedly it is a low-end hardware, but sufficient for what Fire TV Stick must do. Sometimes you feel a bit ‘in the slowness of certain transitions or animations of the interface. Games and streaming remain fluid, and that’s what matters.
However, memory expansion is missing. It would have been superfluous on Chromecast, but the Fire TV Stick is something more, and could have been handy. And to be picky, there is also no support for 4K, absent in the Basic version of the Amazon dongle.
Amazon Fire TV Stick is very easy to use. More than Chromecast. The initial configuration procedure is immediate, thanks to the remote control that can be coupled with just one click. Also, if you purchased Fire TV Stick with your Prime account, it will already be pre-configured. You will not even have to enter your username and password, and in a moment you will be ready to stream.
The basic interface is very much the Android TV style, with a strong predominance of Prime content (Video). At the top we have three links for home, categories and settings. The latter are few but useful, and allow you to manage the network, to enable HDMI-CEC, or to connect other Bluetooth devices, such as a gamepad for games. There are also the parental controls, the screensaver (beautiful natural backgrounds) and a few other options.
The categories refer to those of the Amazon app store Android (needless to point out that there is no Play Store). The only real defect of this interface is in fact the absence of a global search function. You will not be able to search for contents to install or those already installed. In practice you will have to find them by hand, navigating in the categories or recommended at home. An alternative can be to use a web browser, and consult the contents from there.
At the top of the homescreen we have a short carousel of content, followed by the apps and games installed. Those with the symbol of a speech bubble are those associated with your account, but not yet installed. Below we then have a long series of recommended content. First of all there are movies and TV series of Prime Video. Then we have many apps and games that you might want to try, divided into as many sections depending on the genre.
So we did some fun races in Asphalt 8, maneuvering the car directly with the remote control. This is in fact recognized as input devices and you can configure it to play even without a controller. It must be said that Asphalt 8 is one of those games that fits well with the hardware, and despite this the pre-race screens are a bit ‘slow, but then the race is smooth. This is to reiterate that the hardware of the Fire TV Stick is low-end, so I do not pretend to play fluently in the latest and heaviest titles.
Then we have to consider another limit, to which we have already mentioned: memory can not be expanded. This means that, especially in the recreational area, you will have to learn how to contain it, or the 8 GB available will end quickly. Moreover, Fire TV Stick is voted more to the stream than to the game.
Speaking of streaming, the Prime Video app is the master. Its interface, as well as that of YouTube, Netflix, Spotify and others, is exactly the same as already seen on Android TV. If you wanted a more “home” streaming, there is also Plex, which is one of the best media centers around. This means a great user experience and a great adaptation to the big screen. Only Prime Video flaw: you can not change language and subtitles on the fly in the player. You must first exit and go to the tab of the content you want to play. After all, this is how the Prime Video app for Android works, unfortunately.
But there are other (popular) services, like Infinity, SkyGo, or Chili, and among the media centers Kodi is missing, even you can install it directly from apk. Just use the Downloader app, enable installation from unknown sources on the Fire Stick, and download Kodi from here. In the same way you can also install the apps of Infinity, SkyGo or others that are on Android. We also clarify that the smartphone casting does not work in any way: that is a prerogative of Chromecast. As an alternative you can try Video & TV Cast, an app for Android and iOS that allows you to send video from the web to the Fire TV Stick.
In general, whether it’s streaming video or audio, we did not have any problems. The contents are played smoothly, without shots or jumps, neither in the video nor in the audio. Instead, there are small waiting times for loading the heaviest apps, Prime Video on all. However, once the streaming started, network permitting, Fire TV Stick does its duty.
Regarding the software functions, we also include the Miracast support, for mirroring the screen of your Android, in case you still have a compatible device (on the Samsung is fine Smart View). The performances are good enough if it is just to show the interface of the smartphone or some photos, but already with the streaming of a video stream may not be satisfactory.
Compared to the casting of Chromecast, which sometimes fails or is slow to start, the general experience of Amazon Fire TV Stick is better. More similar to that of a classic Android device, however low-end. And once the content has left, you can comfortably control it with the remote control, without delays of any kind. In fact, eliminating the smartphone as a control tool is often a convenience, provided that you can install the appropriate Amazon app, if necessary. Overall, it’s a more consistent and predictable experience than the Google dongle.
The only limit: the full HD at 60 fps. In addition to this, Fire TV Stick Basic does not push. Abroad there is the 4K model, but the latter still should not work in Italy (otherwise it would have been made available by us). Here then creeps Chromecast Ultra, which remains a viable alternative for 4K and HDR, long available also from us.
Amazon Fire TV price
Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic costs € 39 for Prime users, a price that goes to compete directly with Chromecast. Too bad that the non-prime version is instead £29.99.