(Pocket-lint) - The Amazon Fire TV range enables you to access and stream a variety of content, including Amazon's own, but also through apps such as Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and now - finally - Now TV. As of late 2020, Amazon now has three HDMI streaming sticks and they all look pretty similar. So what's the difference? That's why you're here and that's what we'll tell you.
Each stick plugs directly into your TV via HDMI and comes with a power adapter, HDMI extender (but not an HDMI cable), AAA batteries for the remote and a micro USB cable and plug for power. All support dual-band, 802.11ac Wi-Fi on board (which is Wi-Fi 5, not Wi-Fi 6), and Amazon has made it possible for you to take the Fire TV Stick on holiday as it has found a way for you to input room and log-in details for hotel Wi-Fi.
Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon's top-end streaming stick represents great value for money - especially when compared to devices like the Apple TV 4K. It can output video up to 4K Ultra HD resolution at 60 frames per second. It also has high dynamic range (HDR) support - HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR10+.
Dolby Atmos surround sound support is available for services like Netflix, which goes alongside the general 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby surround audio output plus HDMI Audio pass-through. Basically, it will play the best format possible, depending on the AV receiver, home cinema system, soundbar or even TV you plug it into.
An Alexa Voice Remote is included in the box. As with the main Fire TV Stick below, there are power and volume controls too, so you can control audio gear like a soundbar.
Why buy? This is Amazon's flagship device, and while it is small it is mighty in what it offers. There is plenty of 4K HDR content available these days, from Amazon and Netflix - also well represented here. If you have a compatible TV, this is the only option you should really consider, especially for the amazing price in comparison with similarly specified rivals.
- Read more: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review
Amazon Fire TV Stick
In the latest version of the original Fire TV Stick performance has been improved over the previous generation by as much as 50 per cent thanks to new hardware including a quad-core processor, while it also now includes support for Dolby Atmos audio like the 4K stick alongside 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby surround audio output and HDMI audio pass-through.
Like the 4K Stick, a full Alexa Voice Remote is included in the box so there are power and volume controls too, so you can control audio gear like a soundbar. However, unlike the 4K Stick, it'll still only support Full HD 1080p resolution rather than 4K.
Why buy? For those without a 4K TV but an Amazon Prime subscription, the standard Fire TV Stick is an inexpensive way to access a variety of content.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite
Amazon's entry-level streaming stick is new but sits underneath the main Fire TV Stick. Like the main Fire TV Stick, it supports Full HD and has improved performance over the older 2019 version of the main stick thanks to better hardware. However, there is no Dolby Atmos support.
The key difference is the less powerful remote control - called Alexa Voice Remote Lite. There are no volume or mute buttons, so you can't use it to control the sound of your TV and/or soundbar. There's also no power button. It does, however, include Alexa voice control as you'd expect as well as a new Guide button.
Why buy? The cheapest way to get Alexa working through a TV and if you don't have 4K, there's not much reason not to choose this over the standard Fire TV Stick provided you don't mind using another remote for volume.