Amazon Fire TV Cube Review: Entertainment Made Easy and Fast

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We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in bed at night, watching your favorite TV show through your favorite streaming platform, when you suddenly feel like playing a game like Call of Duty Where Super Smash Bros. Before you dive into the game mode, you need to spend some time toggling with your remote to change the input. It’s boring, and if you can’t remember which port your device is plugged into, it can be pretty messy.

Or maybe you’re not a gamer, and your biggest TV problem is when you knock your remote over the bed and have to get up to find it or lose it somewhere between the cushions on your couch.

Depending on what most sounds like your TV-related conflicts, Amazon’s Fire TV Cube can help you solve the problem with its hands-free voice control capabilities. Instead of finding the right input for your device, you just need to tell Alexa which device or input to start, and the Fire TV Cube handles the rest. (But more on that later.)

Voice command function aside, the Fire TV Cube can play some of the best AV formats, and it works fast – very fast. It also has a minimalist and sleek design which ensures that it will look great wherever you place it in your entertainment setup. We purchased and tested the Fire TV Cube to assess its usefulness and capabilities. Read on to find out more about what makes this device so user-friendly in more detail.

Your Amazon Fire TV Cube comes with the Cube, an Alexa Voice remote, and two AmazonBasics AAA batteries for the remote. It comes with three wires: a power adapter, an IR extension cable, and an Ethernet adapter for anyone who connects by cable to the Internet.

The Cube has four ports on the back: an HDMI, a microUSB, an IR extender and a power connector. The Cube connects to your TV via the HDMI port (with an HDMI cable). Unfortunately, the packaging does not include an HDMI cord, so you will have to use one you already own or purchase it separately.

While the lack of an HDMI cord is disappointing, the inclusion of HDMI CEC is a great feature. For HDMI CEC to work, you need to make sure that the setting is enabled on your TV. Once you’ve enabled HDMI CEC on your TV, it’s easy to control multiple devices through the Fire TV Cube’s voice command feature. You can turn other devices that connect to your TV on and off with the appropriate voice command, and your TV will automatically switch to the correct input as well. This feature is especially useful for gamers, who are likely to have a large number of other devices, such as a PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch, connected to their TV. HDMI CEC makes it easy and quick to switch between each device and their correct input.

Buy it! Fire TV Cube, $ 74.99 (originally $ 119.99), amazon.com

Installation is a snap. To get started, all you need to do is plug in the Fire TV Cube via the supplied power cord, then plug the Cube into your TV via an HDMI cord. Then you will need to connect to your WiFi network and log into your Amazon account.

You will be taken to a screen asking which “popular services” you want to use. I chose Hulu and NBA, but there are a variety of other options organized by categories.

Don’t worry if you can’t find a particular app or service on this screen, as it may be available in the App Store. I mainly watch anime and rely heavily on Crunchyroll and Funimation for my entertainment needs. I was momentarily worried that I wouldn’t see any of the apps available on this splash screen, but I was able to download both for free through the App Store.

You will then be asked if you want to activate Alexa. One of the most outstanding features of this device is the built-in speaker. Therefore, if you want to use it to its full potential, you need to activate the Alexa voice control feature. The Fire TV Cube must be positioned a certain way to function properly, and a bulleted list of positioning requirements will appear on the screen. For example, it should be facing you and unobstructed, with the instructions specifically stating that it cannot be in a cabinet.

If you have a sound bar or an AV receiver, the next screen that will appear will allow you to connect it. If you don’t have any accessories, you can skip this step and go to the Home screen.

The most convenient feature of the device is its built-in smart speaker and Alexa personal assistant. You can use voice commands to turn on your TV, or do whatever you usually do with a remote, like adjust the volume or pause a show. I said, “Alexa, rewind 30 seconds,” when I watched a TV show, and Alexa did just that (and quickly, might I add).

Apart from TV streaming, you can also use Alexa on your Fire TV Cube to keep you up to date with the weather, listen to music on Spotify, and answer any questions you want to use on the web to research.

As the name suggests, the Fire TV Cube is shaped like a cube, measuring 3.4 inches by 3.4 inches. There is an LED light strip on the top, and it has a futuristic elegance. My first impression was that it sounded like something straight out of a sci-fi movie – since I consider myself a sci-fi nerd, I mean that in the most complimentary way.

There are four buttons on the top – an Alexa activate button, a lower volume button, a higher volume button, and a mute button. If there is a time when you don’t want your Fire TV Cube to “listen” to you, use the mute button. You can use your voice to activate Alexa, but if for some reason that doesn’t seem to be working (which hasn’t been a problem for me), you can rely on the manual button.

With any smart device, there is always a chance that the voice recognition will not work seamlessly. Fortunately, the Cube comes with a remote that you can use if your voice commands aren’t working or you need to troubleshoot. The remote also includes buttons that allow easy access to four streaming services: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney +, and Hulu. The overall design is simple and user-friendly.

The Fire TV Cube can support 4K Ultra HD content and Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos AV formats. It can also play content at up to 60 frames per second, so it will be able to meet the highest bar of your entertainment needs. You will get crisp picture and vivid colors on all AV formats.

The device also works fast. Apps launch without any lag and switching between devices is a smooth transition.

The home screen features a ton of Amazon Prime Video movies and shows – the focus is on Amazon content, of course, with a list of my most recently watched content at the top of the screen. This setup might not seem ideal at first if you use another streaming service more frequently, but it’s not a compromise, and you’ll see why in a moment.

To access other apps and the App Store, you need to scroll until you find the icon you want. Since I chose Hulu and NBA in the initial setup, these apps have already been downloaded for me. I had to manually download the other apps I use including Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Funimation.

As I mentioned earlier, the homepage mostly displays Amazon content. However, almost at the top of the page, there is a list of “recently used apps”. So once you launch and start using your favorite apps, you’ll have easy access to the ones you use the most.

There is also a dedicated page for live streaming options on Amazon Prime and other platforms like Sling TV and YouTube TV.

The Fire TV Cube is ideal for anyone willing to limit the use of their remote. If you are looking for speed and support for advanced AV formats, this device will give you the streaming experience you desire.

The Fire TV Cube is also ideal for anyone who finds using a remote control inconvenient or inaccessible. I took the Fire TV Cube to my grandparents’ house for them to try out, and they absolutely loved it. While issues like poor eyesight and limited dexterity make it difficult for them to use the type of remote control often included with a smart TV, voice control features and usability thanks to HDMI CEC and the built-in smart speaker. make it an incredibly accessible device.

I hesitated to test this device. Although I already own a smart TV that offers easy access to streaming service apps, I still had to rely on a remote control (which I often lost). Being able to rely on voice commands to turn on a TV, switch between apps, and switch inputs is an unbeatable convenience. This Fire TV Cube finds a way to be relevant even in the age of smart TVs, thanks to its intuitive incorporation of built-in smart speakers and the inclusion of HDMI CEC.

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