Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020 review: an honest HDMI dongle

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Amazon Fire TV Stick

The HDMI Fire TV Stick has been released in a faster 2020 version. We had the opportunity to test this HDMI box which offers access to many applications, including Netflix, Disney + and Prime Video. It is also a way to chat with the Alexa assistant.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020

There has never been so much choice between the options Google, Xiaomi, Nvidia, Apple … and Amazon. Here are two new selections: the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020 and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020. If you are looking for an HDMI stick/4K UHD media box, we may already advise you to go your way. These are exclusively HD and Full HD products. It works on a 4K TV, of course, but we advise you to invest 10 to 20 dollars more for a 4K UHD compatible product.

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No Visible Changes :

At first glance, few changes for the Fire TV Stick. It’s inside that it changes. Compared to the Fire TV Stick 2019, the latest Fire TV is 50% faster with more energy efficiency, according to Amazon. The Fire TV Stick 2020 is still a USB thumb drive-sized device that connects to a free HDMI port on your TV (Amazon provides an HDMI extender if needed).

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It must then be powered by USB, via the micro USB connector on the side of the key. You can connect it to the mains, it is provided, but your TV’s USB port will be sufficient. Amazon advises on its site that it is best to plug it in via AC power, however we haven’t noticed any difference in performance via the TV’s USB.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020

Strangely, the Fire TV Stick supports Dolby Atmos and HDR. On paper, this can reassure you, however be aware that very few Full HD televisions are HDR compatible. In my opinion this support is for 4K HDR TVs that take advantage of native upscaling (HD and Full HD videos are converted to 4K videos for more detail). You can therefore use this HDMI key on a 4K television… even we strongly advise you to invest instead in the 4K version which costs 10 dollars more.

Like last year’s version, the Stick’s remote control has buttons for volume, power and the ability to mute, these controls also apply to your TV – so you can ditch your TV remote control. . This function is provided by the HDMI-CEC, a control and communication protocol which allows the different devices to “dialogue”.

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Besides, the buttons are the only real difference between the Stick Lite sold at 30 euros and the classic Stick sold at 40 dollars, so you pay 10 dollars more for TV and home theater control. You will also be able to chat with Alexa through the microphone built into the remote. This troubleshoots to do research or request information, I use it to adjust the Philips Hue bulbs around the TV on my side.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020

The navigation wheel is basically directional keys for moving around the interface. No touchscreen interface here, it’s 100% physical. You have to click. I have to say, it works a lot better than the Apple TV remote control and its very uncomfortable touchscreen touchpad.

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Unlike the Fire TV Cube, there is no Ethernet connector here. Connection is exclusively via Wi-Fi, with support for Wi-Fi 5 (ac). The micro USB port that is used for power is not OTG, which means that you will not be able to plug in a USB key or an Ethernet adapter.

Quick Installation And Fluid Interface :

As always, the installation is very easy. You connect your HDMI key in HDMI and you feed it, as you want. The device starts up, don’t forget to put the two AAA batteries in the remote in the meantime, and you just have to connect it to the Wi-Fi network and re-enter your Amazon accesses. This Amazon login is required, so you need an Amazon account.

The installation and configuration of the applications will then depend on each of the apps. For YouTube or Netflix, the smartphone can authenticate in seconds, while some apps require you to enter full credentials with the remote control. You will find your applications in the on-board store, this is an element that was discussed in detail in the test of the Fire TV Cube equipped with the same OS. As we explained, the interface is a little muddled with a lot of auto-promotions, nevertheless Amazon has pointed out that an update of the interface was planned by the end of 2020. Regarding applications, some apps are missing, such as myCanal, ADN or Salto (APK installation is possible, but it is not an accessible manipulation). However, unlike Android TV, you have access to the Apple TV app and its Apple TV + sVOD service.

The home page

Like the Fire TV 4K and the Fire TV Cube, the interface is smooth on the Fire TV Stick 2020. It’s great to have such responsiveness in the interface with relatively fast app launches. Having tested the Xiaomi Mi Stick TV for 15 days, the Fire TV Stick is really faster. The loading of video streams, including on Disney + or Netflix, does not seem to suffer from slowdowns. Very little heating, we feel that the ARM chip used is more efficient. This is, again, much better than the Mi Stick TV. Obviously, a Shield TV 4K or even a Fire TV Cube will be more fluid, but these are boxes sold at much higher prices.

With Bluetooth 5.0, you can connect a gamepad for example. This allows you to play a few games available on the Amazon store, games that are still basic. If you’re going to use cloud gaming services, for those you’ll find on the Amazon store, this is not the box to choose. You will notice the low storage space (8 GB), but it is still sufficient to store streaming applications.

Alternatives To Fire Tv Stick 2020 :

Among the alternatives to the Fire TV Stick, there is obviously the 4K version. If you have a 4K HDR TV, invest in the 4K variant. The other alternatives are equipped with Android TV, there is the Xiaomi Mi Stick TV (Full HD) with lower performance and the Chromecast with Google TV (4K HDR) which is much more expensive.

Price And Availability Of The Fire Tv Stick 2020 :

The Fire TV Stick is sold for 40 dollars on Amazon, it is often on sale for 30 dollars.

If you don’t need HDR and Dolby Atmos audio compatibility, because your TV is not compatible, and you are not interested in controlling your TV functions, head to the Lite version sold at 10 dollars less.

 

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