The third-generation Amazon Fire TV Stick was first released in 2020 but was re-issued in 2021 with new remote control.
It contains handy TV controls that the Fire TV Stick Lite lacks, such as specific Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Amazon Music buttons. The microphone button has also been changed to a blue color with an Alexa branding.
The Stick itself hasn’t changed in the 2021 edition, it’s still the same third-generation model with a 50 percent more powerful processor than the 2019 2nd-gen model.
The Fire TV Stick has the same price as before, at $39.99, which is $10 less than the 4K version and $10 more than the Lite variant. If you manage to come across this 3rd-gen Firestick on sale, it’ll almost certainly be a better deal than the 4K model – unless it’s also on sale.
When you open the box, you’ll see a well-organized collection of accessories. There’s the Fire TV Stick (2020) streaming device itself, as well as a short (yet malleable) extension cable for getting the stick into tight spots behind a television.
Two Amazon Basics AAA batteries for the Alexa voice control are included, as well as a charger to plug the streamer into (via micro USB).
The streaming stick is a plain black slab about the size of a tiny candy bar that connects to a TV via HDMI 2.0 and measures 86 x 30 x 13mm.
It has the same design as the Fire TV Stick Lite or Fire TV Stick 4K, so if you have both – as we did throughout our review – it’ll be difficult to tell them apart. Despite the low price, the sleek black design and curved remote give it a luxury feel. There is a subtle Amazon logo, but it isn’t obnoxious, and the sleek black design and curved remote give it a premium feel.
Almost every streaming service is compatible with the Fire TV Stick. Netflix, Disney Plus, Sling, Spotify, Hulu, ESPN, CBS All Access, Fubo, Philo, Starz, Peloton, Tubi, PBS, and other apps are available for download. The App Store also organizes them into themed bundles, such as music, kids, and football. Unfortunately, Amazon and Chromecast are still negotiating.
Based on how responsive the new Fire TV interface is on the Fire TV Stick, it appears to be a little more resource-intensive than the previous model. The menus occasionally stutter, and YouTube once crashed to the main menu after a brief freeze. Returning to the home screen from any app also takes a few seconds. Surprisingly, the third-generation Fire TV Stick ran slightly faster in our tests than the Fire TV Stick Lite, which has the same processing power.
The Fire TV Stick performs admirably once your apps are open and your material is loaded. Apart from that one crash, I had no trouble surfing through the Netflix and YouTube apps, and scrolling through Amazon Prime Video is a breeze because it’s embedded right into the main UI. Video from various apps loaded swiftly, and the quality is as nice as 1080p output can be; if you want 4K, you’ll need the Fire TV Stick 4K.
If you want to increase your TV’s streaming capabilities while also adding Alexa to the mix, the third-generation Fire TV Stick is a wonderful option.
If you have a 4K TV, get the Fire TV Stick 4K; if you just have a 1080p TV or don’t care about 4K, there are several solid reasons to spend the extra money over the Fire TV Stick Lite, one of which is the new remote control with those extra shortcuts to your favorite apps.