Amazon Fire TV

Editor rating

4.2/5 on Aug 15, 2015

User's rating

30,523 reviews

PROS

  • Voice search
  • FreeTime area
  • ASAP & game content
  • Captive-portal Wi-Fi
  • Easy to hack

CONS

  • Amazon promotions
  • Price
  • Game controller

VERDICT

You get a lot of content (though less than Roku 3) with the Amazon Fire TV Box. Plus, Kodi is a cinch to sideload onto it for extra content, services, and subscriptions. If you have kids, you can change your settings to be more kid-friendly within the FreeTime area. If you're into gaming, Amazon Fire is a media streamer you are likely to love as you get massive storage for your games and other benefits.

Take a look at our massive media streamer round-up post and find out how we rank this product!

Features:

  • 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor
  • 2GB memory
  • 8GB internal storage
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  •  Connections:
    • HDMI video output
    • TOSLINK (optical) audio output
    • Ethernet
    • 2 x USB 2.0
  • Included remote with voice search
  • Weight: 0.61 pounds
  • Dimensions: 4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7"

While the Fire TV box is on the higher end of the media streamer price range, it does offer exclusive features, such as parental controls, content that is available extra fast, and additional USB storage. If these benefits, amongst others, meet the user's needs, the experience is likely to be a positive one overall.

Here are the top features of the Amazon player:

Voice Search

That's right. You can search by voice for your movie, TV show or other media to entertain you. The vocal command feature is built into the box's included remote. It is simple to use voice search; just hold down the button on the remote until it beeps and then keep holding it while you say the name of the content you want to watch.

Online reviewers explain the search feature works well. However, be aware that the search will only be across the Amazon library NOT across the other apps.

FreeTime Area

The FreeTime environment built into the Amazon Fire TV box is great for parents. It is an easy-to-use system for enacting parental controls that most other media streamers ignore. Use the system to lock down portions of the box that you may not want your children to access, set up time limits on how long they can watch content before the box shuts off automatically, block certain content types, and more. The kid-friendly features may be very useful to you as a parent.

ASAP and Game Content

As you look at the video content, note how some are marked "ASAP." This exclusive feature on Fire TV enables your content to start extra-fast; it starts almost as soon as you've selected the movie, for example.

For gamers, the Amazon Fire TV box provides a quality gaming experience, with access to a lot of free games and ones that are only $0.99. As the player is fast and provides a smooth user experience, gaming is enjoyable and free of hiccups, with a great picture on your HDTV. Users have access to the best-selling games, and there is an expandable storage option too. You can add a USB drive to download and save a ton of games for whenever you want to play them. Use Amazon video game controllers to get even deeper into the action.

Captive Portal Wi-Fi

Another unique feature of the Amazon Fire TV box is that you can connect it to "captive portal Wi-Fi networks. Thanks to this ability, you can take it with you on vacation and use it by hooking up to your hotel's Wi-Fi network. You can connect to your dorm's Wi-Fi too or the one in your apartment building. The portability options are great.

Easy to Hack

Installing Kodi onto this media streamer is a breeze. It only takes about ten minutes, even if you're not a tech guru. You can sideload Kodi after you enable ADB Debugging on your player. Technically you do not even hack into the Fire TV; you're simply sideloading Kodi onto it, which is so much easier to do. Then, enjoy the extra content you can view, right at your fingertips.

Some of the negative qualities about the Amazon Fire TV box are:

Amazon Promotions

You will find yourself subjected to Amazon promotions as you use this set-top box. Be forewarned! The aggressive marketing tactic can be offputting for some users. Suggestions for viewing Amazon-related content pop up on the screen regularly during use, especially if it is a new item on Amazon Prime Instant.

Price

The Fire TV is $99, which is at the higher end of the price range for media streamers. That being said, it offers expandable storage, which no other player offers, and Kodi sideload onto it. The player works fast too thanks to its powerful processor and 2GB of memory. Also, you can get video playback, and it works smoothly. The value of these features helps to justify the price tag.

Game Controller

Unfortunately, the game controllers come separately. They are not included with the box, although in our opinion they should be as they enhance the player experience. The wireless Bluetooth game controllers have highly responsive buttons and get players right into the heart of the games. Each controller has a dedicated GameCircle button too, so the player can pause the game, view leaderboards, and more.