Advertisement

Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Cube: what's the difference between them?

 The Amazon Fire TV Cube over an orange background and the Fire TV Stick over a blue background.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube over an orange background and the Fire TV Stick over a blue background.

The world of TV streaming sticks can be a confusing one, especially if the difference between two names is simply a shape! But never fear, What to Watch's streaming experts are here to help you differentiate between two popular Amazon Fire TV devices.

First up is the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the 'standard' streaming dongle from Amazon that's many people's first port of call when looking for a way to upgrade their 'dumb' TV into a flashy app-filled smart TV.

But how is that different from the Amazon Fire TV Cube; is it simply a differently-shaped device or is there a lot more to it? It's certainly the latter, with many major differences between it and the Stick.

So, Stick vs Cube, what are the differences and which is best for you to buy? Let's run you through these two options now.

Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Cube: price

There's a huge price difference between the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Cube. That's because the latter is Amazon's most premium streaming device, while the former is its second-cheapest.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick costs $39.99 / £44.99, so it's fairly inexpensive compared to buying a brand new TV. It's sometimes even cheaper, as Amazon discounts it in its sales multiple times per year.

Those discounts also affect the Fire TV Cube, which is good because it costs a lot more. Without a discount it costs $139.99 / £139.99, so that's $100 / £95 more than its sticky sibling. That makes it the priciest Fire streaming device, with the next closest costing half as much!

Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Cube: design

The Amazon Fire TV Stick next to its remote and box on a wooden table.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick next to its remote and box on a wooden table.

The name gives away the game a little bit here: the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube aren't exactly doppelgangers!

The TV Stick is a small and slender rectangular dongle that sticks straight into the HDMI port of your TV, projector or computer. It has one lead, which connects it to mains power; very simple!

The Fire TV Cube is a little more complex. The main body of it is one big... well, cube, it's in the name! It has plenty of ports: one a cable that connects it to your TV, one for the power, and a few more for extra tools or plug-ins. It's a bit more complex to set up than the Stick!

The main gist of these differences is that the Fire TV Stick will plug cozily into the side of your TV, while the Cube will need its own place in a cabinet or table.

The remotes are slightly different too: both have buttons for navigation, for voice control, for easy access to some of the bigger apps and also for controlling your TV. But the Fire TV Cube has the larger Alexa Voice Remote Enhanced, which also gives you some extra controls for live TV and an easy Settings button.

Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Cube: what it's like to use

The Amazon Fire TV Cube and its remote over Fire TV.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube and its remote over Fire TV.

Both the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube run on Amazon's user interface Fire TV. This gives you easy access to almost all the major apps you'd want to use like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus and plenty more, as well as a few other services like Amazon Music and Luna. There's also some live TV to enjoy.

It's a very easy-to-use interface, whether you use the remote navigation, voice controls or the remote's easy buttons. It does inundate you with new suggestions and adverts, but that's par for the course with Amazon's software!

One difference is in the speed and storage. The Fire TV Stick has 1GB RAM while the Cube has 2GB, so it'll naturally navigate a bit faster with less waiting around, especially with the Cube connecting to Wi-Fi 6E, which is a faster speed standard than the Wi-Fi 6 of the Stick (if you have a compatible router). The Stick also has 8GB storage while the Cube has 16GB, so the latter can store more apps and extras.

The Amazon Fire TV Cube has one extra major advantage which is also why it's so much more expensive: it's also a fully feature-flush Alexa smart home device. You can use it to control connected devices like a soundbar or smart lighting, making it a handy component in a smart home ecosystem. "Alexa, put on my Shrek mood lighting!" will really enhance your viewing experience!

Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Cube: video and audio quality

Fire TV being projected with a Fire TV Cube in the foreground.
Fire TV being projected with a Fire TV Cube in the foreground.

If you care about video and audio quality, there's a clear winner here.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick outputs in a 1080p resolution, or Full HD, which is the resolution most streaming services support on their basic tiers. However the Fire TV Cube goes all the way up to 4K, or Ultra HD, which certain streamers support on their higher tiers. A higher resolution makes for crisper video, if your TV supports it that is.

Both streaming devices support a number of video quality features that enhance the viewing experience in myriad ways, as long as your TV support them. There's Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and so on. The Cube and Stick match in offering these.

The devices match when it comes to audio too, with both supporting Dolby Atmos sound. This is, in effect, a 'surround sound' imitation tech, so it pans audio to sides to imitate a theatrical experience. You'll need a TV or sound bars that support this though in order to make the most of it.

Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Cube: overview

The Amazon Fire TV Stick plugged into a TV's HDMI port.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick plugged into a TV's HDMI port.

Specifications comparison

Verdict

The Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube are at the opposite ends of the spectrum for streaming fans.

The Fire TV Stick is your basic streaming device which will easily and handily upgrade your TV without offering the best features out there. It's cheap and easy to set up, and will get you access to Fire TV without much faff.

The Fire TV Cube is a lot more involved, both in its set-up process and in the features it offers. It'll give you high-quality streaming with useful extra features, but it's best suited to people who have, or want to buy, more Alexa ecosystem products.