Which One Should You Buy: Firestick vs. Firestick 4K vs. Fire TV Cube?

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 14 Nov 2021

Firestick vs. Firestick 4K vs. Fire TV Cube

Can’t wait to find out which of these three will come out on top? Will it be the 3rd Gen Fire TV Cube or the Firestick 4K? Or perhaps, as they say, “Old is Gold,” the 2nd Gen Firestick may sweep the floor and bag it all.

In this article, we’ll compare 3rd Gen Fire TV Cube, 3rd Gen Firestick 4K (not the simple 3rd Gen Firestick, one that does NOT offer 4K resolution), and 2nd Gen Firestick, thereby helping you select the best Fire TV for your needs. 

To give you a gist, we present you with the three devices and a brief comparison. 

  1. Fire TV Cube 
  • Built-in Alexa with mic for efficient control.
  • Dolby Atmos is absent. However, it does support Dolby Vision.
  • Videos in 4K resolution.
  1. 3rd gen Firestick 4K
  • Remote has controls for TV.
  • Audio supports Dolby Atmos as well as Dolby Vision.
  • 4K resolution.
  1. Firestick 2nd Generation (NOT 4K)
  • HDR isn’t supported.
  • DDR3 1 GB RAM.
  • The highest resolution is 1080p.

2nd Gen Firestick vs. 3rd Gen Firestick 4K vs. Fire TV Cube

We’re going to take various aspects into consideration to compare all these devices. These factors include storage, performance and speed, and audio quality. We will also look at specs related to resolution and quality of video, functionality, voice support and Alexa integration, among others.

This comparative evaluation will help you pick out the most exceptional streaming Fire TV device.

Here’s a detailed comparison: 

Quality of Video and Resolution Specs

Device Video Resolution
Fire TV Cube 2160p
Firestick 2nd Gen 1080p
Firestick 4K 2160p

If you have a TV compatible with UHD (4K) and want a rich cinematic experience, 3rd gen Firestick 4K or Fire TV Cube are the best options. Both these gadgets offer a resolution of up to 2160p, but the Firestick 2nd Gen only has a resolution of 1080p. That’s not all.

Both the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k and Fire TV cube support HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, the two most famous content formats in recent times.  These formats provide much richer and more precise colors, resulting in a better watching experience.

Only buy a 2nd Gen Firestick if your TV is able to support a maximum resolution of 1080p. If you already own or are thinking of purchasing a TV that supports 4K, we suggest you go for the 3rd gen Firestick 4K.

Performance and Processing Speed

Device Processor Type CP RAM
Fire TV Cube Hexacore (Quadcore 2.2 GHz + Dualcore 1.9 GHz) 64-bit 2 GB
Firestick 4K Quadcore 1.7 GHz 64-bit 1.5 GB
2nd Gen Firestick Quadcore 1.3 GHz 32-bit 1 GB

Fire TV Cube makes use of a Hexacore (Quadcore 2.2GHz and Dualcore 1.9GHz) processor, offers 64-bit computing performance and comes with 2GB RAM.

The 3rd gen Firestick 4K, meanwhile, has a Quadcore 1.7GHz processor, 62-bit computing power and 1.5GB RAM. In contrast, the 2nd gen Firestick only packs a Quadcore 1.3 GHz processor, 32-bit computing power and 1GB RAM.

All these numbers make one thing clear. Fire TV Cube outperforms both of its competitors from Amazon in terms of computing power and RAM. This allows it to run faster than both.

However, there’s one fact these numbers don’t reveal. While there’s only a 0.4 GHz difference between the Firestick 4K’s and 2nd gen Firestick’s processors, there is another, more important difference between the two.

While the 4K Firestick boasts DDR4 RAM, the 2nd gen Firestick only has DDR3 RAM. This makes the latter much slower than its successor. 

All in all, it’s pretty obvious that in terms of processing speed, the Fire TV Cube is the ultimate winner. At the same time, Firestick 4K isn’t that far off Fire TV Cube in terms of computing performance.

Audio Quality

Device Audio Support
Fire TV Cube Dolby Atmos with 7.1 surround sound, up to 5.1 HDMI audio pass-through, and 2ch Stereo
Firestick 2nd Gen Dolby Audio with 5.1 surround sound, Up to 7.1 HDMI audio pass-through, 2ch Stereo
Firestick 4K Dolby Atmos with 7.1 surround sound, up to 5.1 HDMI audio pass-through, and 2ch Stereo

Dolby Audio is supported on the 2nd Gen Firestick, but the surround sound feature only extends to 5.1. The Fire TV Cube and Firestick 4K, on the other hand, feature Dolby Atmos that supports a 7.1 surround sound, which is far better and superior.

In case your audio output is limited to your TV’s speakers, you won’t notice much of a change. But suppose you have a better audio system, such as a home theatre with Dolby Atmos support. In that case, the Fire Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube provide a noticeable improvement in audio quality over the 2nd Gen Firestick.

Remote Controls

Right out of the box, the remote controls of all three devices look similar, if not downright identical. They contain the typical Navigation Ring, Select/OK button, Back, and Home buttons. 

The remote controls also house the Menu, Rewind, Play/Pause, and Forward buttons in addition to the button to access Alexa features. Infrared TV control buttons, such as Mute, Volume UP/DOWN, and Power ON/OFF, are also present on these three remote controls.

The first 2nd Gen Firestick’s remote control lacked the TV control button. That is if you purchased the device a few months ago. The latest 2nd gen firestick controllers, however, do come with a TV control button.

If you broke or misplaced your remote, you could purchase a new one for $27.99 (without TV control buttons) or  $29.99 (with TV control buttons). 

There are many affordable third-party remote controllers on Amazon if you’re seeking something less expensive. However, in our experience, the Amazon controllers function much better with the Fire TV device.

Also, you’ll be able to use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control by installing the Amazon Fire TV Remote app. The app is compatible with various platforms such as Fire OS devices, iOS, Android, and iOS. 

You can install this app for free. But keep in mind that the Remote app doesn’t include TV controls.

Storage Capacity

Device Storage
Fire TV Cube 16 GB 
Firestick 2nd Gen 8 GB
Firestick 4K 8 GB

There is no difference between Firestick 2nd gen and Firestick 4K in terms of storage capacity – both can store up to 8GB of data. Remember, though, that preinstalled apps and the OS take up about one-third of storage capacity.

Storage has never been an issue with Fire TV. The storage capacity of the Fire TV Cube has been increased to 16 GB, which means it can hold twice as much data as both the Fire Sticks in this comparison. 

If you want to expand storage capacity, you could always attach an external hard drive to your device. The method will weigh heavily on your pocket, though, as you’ll have to purchase the external hard drive separately.

Voice Support and Alexa Integration

Device Alexa Voice Support
Fire TV Cube Yes With Alexa enabled voice remote and Fire TV app (free to download on iOS, Android, and Fire OS) + Near-field and far-field voice support with built-in Echo Dot 
Firestick 2nd Gen Yes With Alexa enabled voice remote and Fire TV app (free to download on iOS, Android, and Fire OS)
Firestick 4K Yes With Alexa enabled voice remote and Fire TV app (free to download on iOS, Android, and Fire OS)

All Fire TV devices currently on the market come with Alexa built-in. This information should excite those of you who are aware of what Alexa is capable of offering. 

You may ask Alexa to tell you the weather forecast, locate nearby restaurants, or start any app from the Amazon Store.  Alexa can also tell you a joke, play movie titles, or assist you with your shopping list.

All three devices come with a remote control that supports Alexa. Simply hold while pressing the Alexa (mic) button on the remote to begin using voice support.

At the same time, Fire TV Cube takes the voice feature to a whole new level. The standard streaming devices and Echo Dot together make up the Fire TV Cube. It has support for both near-field and far-field. 

Here’s what that means. You can tell Alexa what to do without having to lift the control. Also, Echo Dot will hear you even if there is a lot of background noise. That’s not all.

You can also use the Echo Dot to operate smart devices, such as smart lights and TVs. The Fire TV cube with the Echo Dot can also connect to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Value, Worth, and Pricing

Device Price
Fire TV Cube $119.99
Firestick 2nd Gen $39.99
Firestick 3rd Gen 4K $49.99
Firestick 3rd Gen $39.99
Fire TV Stick Lite $29.99 

Even though the 2nd Gen Firestick is the least expensive of the three, we recommend you purchase the 3rd gen Firestick 4K. Think about it: You’re going to get a device that offers a much better audio quality and an enhanced video resolution than any of its predecessors.

On top of that, the 3rd gen Firestick 4K packs in a more powerful processor as well as a bigger RAM than its 2nd gen counterpart. All of that for only $10 extra. That makes the Firestick 3rd Gen 4K a much better choice than any of its predecessors. 

Even if your TV isn’t 4K, we still suggest you go for the Firestick 4K. This decision will ensure that if/when you buy a higher resolution TV in the future, you won’t have to upgrade your Firestick with it. 

In addition, even if the video resolution is restricted to 1080p, the Fire TV Stick 4K will still provide a superior cinematic adventure. That holds true even if you have a Dolby Atmos-compliant audio system. The video will run extremely smoothly. 

The FireTV Cube is in a class of its own. This technology is intended to create a more futuristic (or, in some cases, nerdy) experience. 

It’s geared towards people who appreciate the AI experience in particular. With its fast processor, built-in Echo Dot, and more RAM, the Fire TV Cube has what it takes to justify its higher asking price.

Which One Should You Buy?

Taking into account all the specs and research, 3rd gen Firestick 4K is the undisputed winner.

Many additional capabilities, such as Dolby Vision, HDR 10 support, and Dolby Atmos audio, are available for a $10 difference in price. These characteristics are not merely gimmicks. They can make the difference between a good and a great movie watching experience.

Only if you are interested in enhanced speech capabilities and AI would we suggest the Fire TV Cube. You can use the built-in Echo Dot and control smart devices without using the remote controller or the TV. If that’s what you are looking for, the Fire TV Cube is an obvious pick.

If streaming is the main reason for purchasing a Fire TV device, the Firestick 4K is a good compromise between the 2nd Gen Firestick and the Fire TV Cube.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped you choose the best streaming device that fits your requirements. All of these devices are available for purchase on Amazon.com. Also, remember to bookmark vpncheck.org for all of your cord-cutting needs!