Review: Amazon Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) streaming device
The Amazon Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) is a streaming device that offers both content streaming and Alexa speaker capabilities in one package. Compared to its 2019 predecessor, the 3rd Gen model features a more robust speaker and a sleek fabric mesh surround, which is a welcome change from the hard-cornered design of the previous version.
One of the most notable upgrades on the new Fire TV Cube is its support for Wi-Fi 6E, which offers faster performance and less interference from other Wi-Fi devices in the home. According to Amazon, this makes it the first streaming media player with access to the 6 GHz band. Additionally, the device is equipped with a new octa-core processor that boasts 20% more speed.
The 3rd Gen Fire TV Cube also offers HDMI and USB inputs, as well as a 4K upscaler, which is sure to please users who demand high-quality picture and sound. The device’s upscaling capabilities make it possible to enjoy a wide range of content in stunning 4K resolution.
In order to provide a better understanding of the Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen), we were also provided with the Alexa Voice Remote Pro, an additional upgrade to the remote that comes with the device. The premium remote features two programmable shortcut buttons that allow users to quickly access apps, channels, or Alexa Routines, and is designed to reduce the amount of time spent searching for the remote. The box includes the Cube, the remote control, a power adapter, and a quick startup guide, but note that there is no HDMI cable provided.
The Cube itself is a sleek, stylish block wrapped in dark grey cloth and measuring 86mm by 86mm by 76mm. It features a black plastic topside panel with volume, power, and Alexa voice reception defeat buttons, as well as maroon and turquoise LEDs that light up when Alexa is listening. The rear panel includes an HDMI input, HDMI output, Ethernet and USB-A ports, power connection, and IR Extender. A rubber sole on the bottom of the Cube keeps it from slipping.
The included remote offers excellent functionality for navigating the Fire TV interface and includes an Alexa voice button and presets for Prime, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Music. The standard remote is longer than the Pro remote at 15.5 cm, and the more compact clicker offers a ‘find my remote’ option and two customizable buttons. Both remotes are made of high-quality matte black plastic, but the tactile buttons make an audible clicking sound.
The Cube supports 4K UHD images, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+, as well as Dolby Atmos audio (7.1.2). Its HDMI input allows users to connect a gaming console, Blu-ray player, or satellite box, and control them via the Cube’s on-screen interface. The device can even display CCTV camera feeds via the picture-in-picture setting.
Setting up the Amazon Fire TV Cube is straightforward and easy. After plugging it in and connecting the HDMI ARC to your TV, you can easily follow the on-screen menu to connect to your wireless network. If you prefer a hard-wired Ethernet connection, that is also supported. Adding your Amazon Prime membership and passwords for various apps is simple, and the on-screen menu even allows you to select your soundbar or powered speaker manufacturer for easy integration. Both the standard and Pro remotes initiate easily, with the Pro allowing for preset buttons and voice-activated remote location. The Home menu is heavily focused on Amazon Prime content, but responsiveness is impressively fast.
Amazon Fire TV Cube Performance
Despite the potential for a tedious setup, the Fire TV Cube’s intuitive interface and quick responsiveness make it a joy to use. Alexa effortlessly understands commands and performs them with lightning-fast speed, all while providing clear and crisp voice reproduction. The Cube was able to easily identify and integrate with a Yamaha soundbar, but couldn’t identify remote commands for JBL 4305P monitors.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) is an impressive streaming device that combines a versatile hands-free smart speaker with a vast selection of entertainment apps. Setting it up and navigating through the interface is a breeze, and the included remote controls are responsive and well-made. It’s also easy to find a spot for this versatile little box near your TV or hidden in a home cinema setup.
Unlike most streaming devices, the Fire TV Cube is a stand-alone unit that connects via an HDMI cable and offers hands-free voice control with a built-in microphone and speaker. With an HDMI 2.1 output and input, a 100Mbits/sec Ethernet port, and built-in Wi-Fi 6E, it boasts a wide range of connectivity options. Additionally, it supports all the major HDR and audio formats, including Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos. With its new octa-core CPU and 2GB of RAM, the device delivers lightning-fast navigation between screens and menus, limited only by the speed of the app or service and your internet connection. It’s worth noting that while the Fire TV Cube is exceptionally smooth and responsive, the Roku and Fire TV 4K Max products are also very quick.
However, it’s essential to consider your needs before investing in a Fire TV Cube. Are you looking for comprehensive app support for an aging TV or voice command control over your AV domain? While the Cube delivers excellent video and audio quality, it’s worth noting that the HDMI input only supports 60 Hz if you’re a keen gamer.
At a price of £140, the Cube may not be the most affordable option, especially compared to some alternatives. The 3rd Gen model is £20 more expensive than the 2nd Gen, and opting for the more versatile Pro remote will add another £35 to the cost. You could replicate many of the Cube’s functions with a Fire TV Stick or other streamer with a smart speaker, sometimes for under £100 with a bit of hunting around. Ultimately, your budget and specific needs will determine which device is the best fit for you.
The Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) is a versatile and feature-rich streaming device that offers excellent performance and control options. Its combination of Alexa speaker capabilities, Wi-Fi 6E support, and powerful processor make it a top choice for anyone looking to upgrade their home entertainment system.