The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a thumb-sized device that plugs into a television’s HDMI port and allows you to stream music, film and on-demand television over a wi-fi connection. It’s the dinkier version of the premium Amazon Fire TV, and makes an ideal travel companion for those who regularly find themselves languishing in hotel rooms while a few episodes behind on Better Call Saul.
This “all-new” version has had its hardware improved. It now rocks a faster processor, speedier wi-fi connectivity and Dolby 5.1 sound, though it still lacks the 4K resolution of the more powerful Amazon Fire TV. The updated software and interface will be rolled out as an update to existing Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners too, so the incentive to upgrade may not be an especially powerful one.
Chief among the new additions however is the Alexa Voice Remote, which allows you to chat to Amazon’s cloud-based virtual assistant by pressing a mic button. It essentially gives you an Amazon Echo experience on a £40 device, allowing you to summon films and music to your television, as well as takeaways and taxis to your door. In practice, the voice search is a little limited: while it gives results from Netflix and Amazon, it can’t yet search for shows within most third-party apps.
Still, at this price and with this kind of performance, the Fire TV Stick is great value and a hugely versatile device. For Netflix and Amazon Prime subscribers it’s a near-essential bit of plastic, and cheap enough to jam into every television you see.