Top positive review
The Pros, Cons and Oks for Fire TV Cube (HR).
Reviewed in the United States on October 14, 2019
• Plenty of choices for steaming 4k (make sure your TV can be built for that resolution). I mainly use Netflix, but you have Prime and thousands of more apps with this little guy. Have to admit it’s a pretty large library (that also has simple games to play).
• My TV is built to play 4k, and I found no difference in quality if I put in a Blu-ray disk instead.
• I’m getting a pretty immersive experience. 60 fps with HDR10 support and Dolby Atmosphere for audiophiles.
• The Cube is pretty fast as well. The response time is very efficient when you’re asking simple questions/commands. I have to assume that because of the Cube software, it doesn’t need to rely on Amazon’s servers.
• Have to give props on the microphone inside this machine. Even at the movie volume level, saying Alexa, will pick up your voice. I haven’t tested this out if you’re in a room full of loud people, but I assume you’ll get the same results.
• I felt to have more use of using my voice than with a controller with this one. One example, I can tell Alexa which way to scroll and to open an app (Netflix for me) that I want to watch and Alexa follows that flawlessly. The voice recognition is more of a tool than a little side perk in this Cube.
• It’s a smart home device, so you ask the Cube to turn on almost anything that is connected to a smart plugin. I found this great to use to just turn on the TV. No remote required.
• The YouTube experience is also right on point. I’ve read that the past Fire TV Cubes from Amazon didn’t have a YouTube app. Well, this one does have it and it works without issue. I found this better if you already have a list of videos in your “Watch List” as searching will take time since you have no keyboard. What I do is I use my smartphone to quickly add the videos I want to my watch list and then refresh the YouTube page on the Cube. Simple and quick.
• A very lively interface. It’s not complex and the simple guidelines it provides you make this ready to use right out of the box.
• It does have an Ethernet adapter. I strongly recommend you use this. My Wi-Fi tends to disconnect at random times and an Ethernet connector prevents this from happening.
• The remote that it comes with has a nice “clicky” touch and an excellent touchpad. The voice layout works well enough that I use the remote only to explore new apps on the Cube, or type.
• When you start digging around with the Cube, some great features pop up. One is when you move your cursor over to a live channel (If you have “On Now”) it gives you a preview of what is happening on that channel. Similar to when you go on YouTube and move your move over to a video. Very efficient and something I had to make a pro for.
• The setup took less than 3 minutes. The Cube identified my Samsung the moment it was connected.
• If you have an Amazon Echo, then it’s exactly that but merged with a Fire TV Stick. This means, besides the simple weather questions, you can ask for directions to the closest restaurants and so forth. I live in a location where fast food restaurants are the lay of the land, but I can see this to be helpful for those who live deep in a city.
• The microphone is set up in the Cube, and not the remote. You won’t have to worry if you lose the remote.
• Amazon is not kidding. Ten of thousands of channels you can search through. I have to believe that Amazon has a channel for every person.
Cons and Oks:
• You don’t get an HDMI cable with this Cube. If you’re watching 4k, it would’ve been nice to have a high-quality HDMI cable with this purchase.
• As I mention, big props with the voice layout, but you still got to use the remote as well. For more detail questions, Alexa will go off the rails as any question, other than simple dialogue, the Cube will need to check with the cloud for the answer. Example: I asked for the early 2000s movies starring Denzel Washington. It gave me movies like LOTR and The Prestige as the fifth and eighth results (lol).
• The speakers are fine with Alexa’s voice but not fit to play music on. Stick to your TV speakers.
• You can’t add storage in the Cube. What’s there is what’s there.
• No USB-Stick connector. A huge lost because if you had a home video or a movie in a USB drive, you’re out of luck.
• I can’t edit my home screen. I can’t customize it and it’s packed with ads, ads, and more ads.
• The Ethernet adapter is placed on the Cube in an awkward place. It looks like that the designers forgot about this feature and design it within the last minute of production.
• The ads on this device are extremely annoying. On the home screen, 25% of my viewing is a large ad of mostly Amazon shows.
• With Netflix, I notice that you can ask Alexa to open the app, but if you have more than one account than Alexa will take you the account page. Because of this, I need to use the remote every time I want to use Alexa since the Cube can’t save my “specific” Netflix account.
• You got to get used to “Alexa’s” vocabulary when speaking. Simple wordings like “Alexa, start over” are the style that you need to speak to experience good voice recognition.
• I didn’t have the last Cube, but I’ve been told is the same design as before.
• A huge dust and fingerprint magnet on the sides of the Cube.
• When starting for the first time, there are numerous privacy contracts you need to agree to. I understand why, but there is a decent amount of “hit agree” buttons that for those who are not a fan of this.
• Amazon can push a little too aggressively in promoting its Prime channels. I understand that you should expect more Amazon ads with this device, but you’re going to get a lot of them.
• No voice password function available. Apple TV has this feature and I think I would make issues with apps like Netflix very efficient in accessing your account. The good news is that there is an app on the Cube that makes it easy to enter text using your remote.
• I want to mention that not all content on this device is 4k. Many times I thought I was watching 4k but found out it was only HD. Now please note that if you don’t have a 4k TV then you’re not going to get the 4k experience. You need a 4k TV to enjoy the quality.
If you have the previous Fire TV Cube, than don’t waste your money on this. If you have only one media account that you use, then don’t waste your money on this. If you have a Fire TV Stick (even an Echo), than don’t waste your money one this. But, if you have none of the issues above then this is a pretty good buy to have an Echo and a Fire TV Stick in one.
With Apple TV and Roku, each is quite similar in what they offer. One reason I favor the Fire TV Cube is the number of apps and channels that are provided with this device (Plus 4k!). Also, I’m a huge fan of having a built-in Echo so you can begin to make your house a “smart house.”
Still in the end this device isn’t a must have because it depends on you and your family on how much content you’re planning on watching. Apple TV will have different content than Roku, and Roku isn’t the same as the Cube. If you want to get into the world of digital media, I got to put my money on the Cube. Of all out systems out there, the Cube is more bang for your buck (Echo + Fire TV Stick + 1000+ apps/movies + 4k).
Overall: A system built for those who want to jump in the digital media world, and the same old system for those who are already in it.
Hope I was a help to you.