Following the success of the Fire TV Stick and the Echo, Amazon combined the capabilities of these two products into a single device back in 2018 and called it the Fire TV Cube. However, this hands-free television experience didn’t take flight initially, as it had issues matching up to the performance of competing devices from rivals like Roku.
In October 2019, Amazon released the 2nd Generation of the Fire TV Cube to tackle some of the qualms of its predecessor. Though the device has no cosmetic differences, the beauty is actually on the inside with several significant hardware upgrades. The 2nd Gen Cube offers almost twice the processing speed of the original, a stronger GPU, HDR support, on-board Alexa and YouTube.
For a limited time, the Fire TV Cube is on sale for $100 on Amazon.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) retails for $119.99, which might raise an eyebrow for some, since both the 4K Fire TV Stick and the 3rd Gen Echo Dot cost $50 each. So does the premium price justify the convenience and added value of having an all-in-one device? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Reviews Consensus: Is the Fire TV Cube Worth It?
As it stands, you can find dozens of reviews across the internet for Amazon’s hands-free TV streaming device. With so many voices and opinions on offer, it can be difficult to tell which review best aligns with your specific queries.
To save you on hours of research time, Slickdeals Aggregate Reviews compiles all the info you’ll need to make an informed purchasing decision in one place. In this case, we’ve summarized the best 10 reviews for the Amazon Fire TV Cube to bring you the most important takeaways.
Since the Fire TV Cube has been around for almost a year, experts and entertainment enthusiasts across the web have had the chance to thoroughly test them out. The general consensus among reviewers aligns with Tech Radar’s assessment, “the simple-but-smart visual cues Amazon has added for Alexa’s basic skill set makes it a very strong contender for the best streaming video player.”
Amazon Fire TV Cube Specs
- Streaming Resolution up to 2160p
- Support for Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 5.1
- Support for Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10+ and more
- Hexa-Core Processor (Quad-Core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-Core at up to 1.9GHz)
- ARM Mali G52-MP2 (3EE), 800MHz GPU
- 16GB Internal Storage
- 2GB RAM
- Dual-Band, Dual-Antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO). Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Networks.
- Bluetooth 5.0 + LE
Consensus: Generally Positive (5/10 Positive, 4/10 Neutral, 1/10 Negative)
Main Takeaway: Physically, the Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) has remained unchanged from the original. This wasn’t a big deal for most reviewers as many really liked the six-sided design. Featuring the same remote as the Fire TV Stick, the controller ranked at the top when it comes to ease of use and comfort in nearly all the reviews. The biggest and most common qualm among the testers is the lack of an included HDMI cable. Since you can easily find HDMI cables for as little as $1, pretty much all reviewers agreed this should be standard given its $120 price point.
“I really wish Amazon would include a good HDMI cable that ensures your Cube is truly sending high-quality 4K, HDR content to your screen. Sure, you probably already own an HDMI cable, but little things like this that would make the $120 price point feel more acceptable. ” –Tom’s Guide
During unboxing, you will also find a USB to Ethernet Adapter and an IR Blaster. Having the option to hook up an ethernet cable to the device ensures optimized speeds when streaming content. Reviewers appreciated both of these inclusions, though some woould have preferred the ethernet port to be built into the back rather than an extension. Lon.TV also shared this important tidbit about the ethernet adapter:
“This is only a 100 megabit connection and that’s important for enthusiasts to know because enthusiasts are often streaming video that goes beyond 100 megabits per second. And if you plan to do that with some 4k movie rips and whatnot this will not support that given that it doesn’t have the bandwidth.” –Lon.TV
Another slight reviewer annoyance involved the overall tidiness of the Fire TV Cube. On the back, there are four ports featured: USB, Infrared, HDMI and Power. Utilizing all of these ports adds extra cables to your entertainment setup; a definite con for some of the more anti-clutter testers. Continuing with the topic of cleanliness, the sleek exterior of the device also for some reason is an absolute magnet for dust as noted in All Things Tech’s video review.
“One of my pet hates about this is the amount of dust that it collects … This has literally been out of the wrapper for 30 seconds and it already looks like it’s been sat around for a week.” –All Things Tech
Consensus: Universally Positive (8/10 Positive, 2/10 Neutral)
Main Takeaway: Many of the reviewers also had the opportunity to test the 1st Gen Fire TV Cube and found its performance speed adequate. And with the improved processors seen in the 2nd Gen device, testers were very pleased. Whether they were surfing streaming services or calling up Alexa, reviewers found response times to be faster than ever.
“The new CPU makes a big difference in opening apps, switching between them, and navigating menus. While YouTube, Verve, and Pluto TV take four or five seconds to load on the old Fire TV Cube, they each open in just a second or so on the new model. Jumping between the apps and the Fire TV’s menu is also snappy and responsive, and videos load and play quickly. It’s a noticeable improvement in performance.” –PC Mag
On top of the Cube, you’ll notice eight pinhole-sized far-field mics for picking up voice commands. Alexa impressed many of the reviewers with its ability to respond to faraway shout-outs. In fact, many of the video reviews jokingly bleep out the A-word (Alexa) to prevent any Amazon devices you have from sounding off. That said, several of the testers recommended refraining from putting the device too close to the TV speakers or other audio devices. Since the Cube is on-call 24/7, you could potentially damage the far-field mics via prolonged exposure to loud noises.
“I’m really impressed by that far-field mic technology. I had the new BABYMETAL album absolutely blasting on top volume earlier and it still picked up all of my commands nice and clearly. Very, very rarely misheard me. Very impressive stuff.” –Tech Spurt
As far as visuals go, the 2nd Gen Cube now supports pretty much all the major HDR imaging variations. This is a big step up from the previous model and reviewers were very welcoming of this improvement. The default settings on the device will be adequate for most. But if you consider yourself to be an entertainment enthusiast, Lon.TV suggests changing a couple settings in the Display section like “Match Original Frame Rate” and the Dynamic Range Settings. Altering these settings will let you watch movies in the quality that they were originally intended for.
“It is the only TV box out there apart from the Nvidia Shield TV to support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, meaning this box will give you the best streaming quality along with the best audio quality currently available.” –Chigz Tech Reviews
Content and User Interface
Consensus: Mixed (4/10 Positive, 4/10 Neutral, 2/10 Negative)
Main Takeaway: Since this device is produced and powered by Amazon, Amazon’s original content is pushed to the interface’s forefront. This didn’t land well with some reviewers, but it wasn’t the biggest issue thanks to the overall speedy loading times. Testers who were not accustomed to using a Fire TV previously found the UI to be a little unorganized. But again, this issue was remedied by Alexa’s capabilities to fetch virtually any content you’re looking for.
“As before, I still believe this layout is too disorganized and overwhelming. There’s no way to hide or rearrange the home screens’ recommendation rows, even though some are redundant (as with separate rows for “IMDb TV Free Movies and TV” and “IMDB TV Free Movies and TV – Most Popular”) or irrelevant (as with a row of apps for cable TV networks that I don’t watch or pay for). And because several of these rows are sponsored or tied to Amazon’s a la carte rental store, the home screen can often feel like one big upsell.” –TechHive
When it comes to device setup, all the reviewers found it to be pretty straightforward. But the step-by-step installation took a good amount of time in their tests, particularly if you are linking other electronics for the Cube to take control of. The device itself comes preloaded with some common apps like Netflix, Hulu and, as mentioned before, the Youtube app is now accessible. According to the reviews, Alexa is a bit smarter now and doesn’t require extremely long commands to open the right content.
“When you search for a genre or specific movie or show, the platform does a good job of showing you everywhere it can be streamed. And seeing visual responses for Alexa queries (like asking for the weather or searching for nearby restaurants) is a nice touch.” –The Verge
Smart Home Capabilities
Consensus: Universally Positive (8/10 Positive, 2/10 Neutral)
Main Takeaway: Much of the focus of the reviews was on the Amazon Fire TV Cube’s ability to function as a universal remote. Many reviewers go through example after example of ways to utilize Alexa to control your entertainment system and a couple even show how it can be utilized to control things like lights or security cameras. Since Amazon owns the popular video doorbell maker Ring, you can call upon Alexa to watch your front door stream directly on your TV. Reviewers also thoroughly enjoyed the visual information that the smart assistant supplies during their queries.
“If you have a compatible smart camera, you can use the Amazon Fire TV Cube to show you a live video stream of what your camera is seeing. If you want restaurant recommendations or movie times, those too will pop up on the screen, alongside their ratings and distance from your home. Alexa could certainly do all of this via voice, but having a screen to display visual information radically improves the usability of the system.” –Tech Radar
Dad’s Dojo recommends downloading the Alexa app onto your phone to fully utilize all of the smart assistant’s functions. The use of Routines was the one he chose to demonstrate. This section of the app allows you to program complex functions for certain voice commands. In the video review, he has set up Alexa to turn on the lights and play Frank Sinatra when he enters the door and shouts, “Alexa, I’m home.” The app has some routines pre-installed but you can tweak or make new ones to your liking.
“If you’re into the home automation stuff, this is basically gonna be like your playground. I mean, you can do tons of things in here and the more devices you have obviously the more functionality you’re gonna be able to have using this Alexa app.” –Dad’s Dojo
How to Find the Best Deals on the Amazon Fire TV Cube
With all of its capabilities, the $120 price point is arguably a reasonable price for the Fire TV Cube. But thankfully, Amazon and other retailers aren’t shy about promoting the product with some mark-downs. However, Cube discounts don’t happen as often as the Echo Dot or Fire TV Stick. But you can expect one to pop up every couple months or so. The most recent deal occurred in late July and brought the device down to $99. Partaking in Amazon’s Trade-In Program, you could have also taken the Cube home for just $80.
There is no deal for the Fire TV Cube at Amazon currently. But you can find it at other retailers like Newegg and Ebay for less than $100.
Check Deals at:
With Prime Day arriving in the coming months, the hands-free TV streamer is sure to be on the discount page. The best thing to do is to set up a Deal Alert to get notified when the next sale goes down.
- PC Mag
- Tech Radar
- Tom’s Guide
- The Verge
- Tech Spurt
- Dad’s Dojo
- All Things Tech
- Chigz Tech Reviews