Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Which One Should You Buy?

Trying to decide between the Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick? Our comprehensive guide will help you find which Fire TV is best for you.

Amazon Fire TV Box vs Fire Stick Featured

It’s not exactly surprising that people are trying to choose between the Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick.

Amazon’s Fire TV devices have rapidly evolved to become a serious threat to the Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku and other TV streaming devices, thanks to Amazon’s loyal customer base, affordable price points and enhanced streaming services.

The streaming devices are tightly integrated into Amazon services including Prime Video and also allow users to access a wide range of other services, apps and games. Backed by Artificial Intelligence, Amazon Fire TV devices recommend movies, TV shows, apps and more to users based on their usage history and personal preferences.

Just like other streaming devices, the Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick streams content from the internet and displays it on a TV in High Definition (and UHD). Fans of Amazon ecosystem often end up confused when they have to choose between the two available TV streaming devices.

However, deciding between the Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick isn’t such a tough decision when you know the key differences between them.

The Amazon Fire TV Box is targeted at users who don’t want to compromise on internals and performance, stream 4K content and want the best Amazon Fire TV experience.

However, the Amazon Fire TV Stick aims to deliver great value while offering most of the features of Fire TV Box. Let’s have a look at some of the key differences between Amazon Fire TV Box and stick.

Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Performance and Gaming

The Amazon Fire TV Box is powered by the quadcore MediaTek 8173C CPU and PowerVR Rogue FX6250 GPU, while the Fire TV Stick is powered by the less powerful MediaTek quadcore CPU 8127D and Mali-450 MP4 GPU.

Although both devices come with a quadcore GPU, the real-world performance difference is noticeable, especially when it comes to gaming.

Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Beach Buggy Racing

The Fire TV Box also comes with double the ram than TV Stick (2GB vs. 1GB), which means better multitasking and less lag.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick works just fine if you mostly watch 1080p content or play light games, but if 4K videos and more serious gaming is your thing, then the Amazon Fire TV Box is the way to go.

The Box feels more responsive and switches between apps smoothly, while the TV Stick may lag if you put too much strain on its CPU/GPU.

Depending on the actual tasks, Fire TV Box launches apps in almost half the time and also boots up/shuts down faster.

However, this doesn’t mean the Fire Stick cannot run things smoothly as it still performs reasonably well if you are not into running too many apps at once. There is still much to like about the TV Stick when you consider the price difference between the two.

Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Display Output and Connectivity

Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Connectivity

Display output and connectivity is where the differences become more noticeable as Amazon TV Stick only allows you to stream content in Full HD (1080p), while the Fire TV Box also supports Ultra HD 4K content. 1080p is a good-enough resolution for TVs with 32-inch or below screen size. But you may want 4K for sharper and more detailed images if you’ve a large-screen 4K TV and 4K content (or have a speedy internet connection to stream 4K video). 

Both devices can connect to a TV through HDMI interface, but the way they connect is different.

The Fire TV Box connects through an HDMI cable and requires a power adaptor, while one end of Fire TV Stick plugs directly into the TV’s HDMI port and the other end connects to a USB port for power. This makes the Fire Stick ideal for wall-mounted TVs and helps save previous space.

Speaking of connectivity, the Amazon Fire TV Stick connects to the internet through Wi-Fi and uses Bluetooth for connecting with the remote and optional Bluetooth controller. The Amazon Fire TV Box adds Ethernet, USB and Digital Audio ports and an external storage slot (up to 128 GB). The Fire TV Box is arguably a better option if you are not limited by your budget and want the best of what Amazon has to offer (still at a reasonable and affordable price).

Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Summary of Key Differences

Amazon Fire TV Box Amazon Fire TV Stick
Ports HDMI, Ethernet, Digital Audio Port, microSD card slot, USB HDMI
Resolution Up to 4K Up to 1080p
Fire TV Channels 5,500+ 5000+
CPU Faster quadcore CPU and a noticeably faster GPU, 2GB RAM Entry level CPU/GPU and 1GB RAM
Price $$  $

Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Which One Should You Buy?

Amazon Fire TV Box vs Fire Stick: Which to buy?

Why Buy the Amazon Fire TV Box?

If you are not limited by your budget, want more raw power, connectivity options and expandable storage, than the Fire TV Box is an easy choice. It’s also kind of a must if you own a 4K TV and are connected to the internet through a stable and speedy connection (preferably using the Ethernet). The Box loads apps noticeably quicker and allows you to play demanding games with decent frame rates. Faster boot up and shutdown times mean less waiting while quicker loading and smoother switching between apps means you can do more in less time.

Why Buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick?

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a better option for people who just want the basic functionality and an easier device setup at an affordable price.  The Stick works quite well if you own a 1080p TV and prefer using a dedicated gaming console for ‘proper’ gaming. At almost half the price, Amazon TV Stick still manages to offer most of the basic functions and allows you to enjoy your favorite content and apps.

Amazon Fire TV vs Fire Stick: Conclusion

Both Amazon Fire TV devices offer great value for the money and the Amazon Fire TV Box vs Fire Stick battle is more about your individual requirements.

Considering that fact that the Fire TV Box is available at a not-so-expensive price, it’s hard to ignore the performance and connectivity advantages it offers. Even if you don’t yet own a 4K TV and are not planning to play graphic intensive games, the Fire TV Box is still the recommended option as it future-proofs your investment and offers a better user experience. There are also many apps that only support Amazon Fire TV Box or don’t work well on the Fire Stick due to higher performance requirements.

That said, people who already have other devices on their A/V rack and want a compact device to enjoy content from Amazon would find the Fire TV Stick a reliable option. It offers a lot of value for the money whilst allowing you to do most of the stuff you can do on the Fire TV Box.

If you’re wanting to pick up either device from Amazon, you can buy both the Amazon Fire TV box and Amazon Fire TV stick here.

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