The Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) is a great little streaming player from Amazon. Even though it will prove more beneficial to those already invested in Amazon’s ecosystem, it also works just fine as a standalone streaming player for non-Prime members as well. The price, however, may be off-putting to some.
While Amazon offers plenty of devices to choose from, including actual smart TVs, the Fire TV Cube is the company’s best streaming player overall. The first Fire TV Cube was released in 2018 and the company has continued to refine the design and experience, resulting in the release of the Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) in late 2022.
Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) $139.99
Amazon’s Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) is a powerful streaming media player made better through the ability to control other devices in the home. That said, it’s an expensive device.
Great connectivity options
Great for Prime Video
Aimed at Prime members
Overall, the Fire TV Cube is a powerful little streaming and one which will be a good streaming addition to any home. Its main issue is the cost, as some homes may find they are better off buying an Nvidia Shield TV or Apple TV 4K for the same price.
Size matters: a small, but powerful player
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Fire TV Cube is just how incredibly small it is. While those upgrading from an older model will already be aware of the size, those picking a Fire TV Cube up for the first time will probably be surprised at its compact design.
Covered in fabric on all sides, the only controls can be found on the top panel. These consist of an action (select) button, volume up and down buttons, and a privacy-focused Alexa microphone mute button.
Speaking of Alexa, the top also houses the far-field microphone array which helps Amazon’s voice assistant to better hear commands given in the room.
In spite of its small size, the Fire TV Cube is a very powerful player. Not only is it Amazon’s most powerful streaming player, but it is a powerful device in general. Equipped with 2GB RAM and an octa-core processor, Amazon claims that it is 20% more powerful than the previous generation, and twice as powerful as the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
In addition to its power, it’s also a highly capable device as well. Thanks to the addition of an HDMI In port, the Fire TV Cube is able to connect to a cable or satellite set-top box.
While other devices can also be connected to the port, set-top boxes are probably going to be the most common, and are certainly the main example that Amazon wants you to know about.
Of course, whether you would want to add a cable or satellite set-top box is a different story entirely. One of the main reasons to consider picking up a Fire TV Cube is as a cable or satellite replacement, so for us, the ability to connect to a set-top box was somewhat of an unnecessary addition.
Even if in a home which is still signed up to a cable or satellite plan, and only looking for a box to stream Netflix and other streaming services on, then I probably wouldn’t recommend the Fire TV Cube. There are much cheaper streaming players out there, including Amazon’s own Fire TV Stick lineup which starts at just $29.99.
If the money doesn’t matter, and you are specifically interested in accessing a traditional set-top box without having to switch between inputs, then the Fire TV Cube was pretty much made for you.
One of the better remotes around
In the world of streaming, the remote often takes a back seat, at least at the cheaper end of the spectrum. While many Roku and Chromecast with Google TV players come with small and fairly basic remotes, devices costing $100 or more, like the Nvidia Shield TV, tend to be packaged with a better remote. The Fire TV Cube is no different.
The remote is very similar in size to the remote bundled with the Shield TV, making it taller than the remotes shipped with Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, and Roku players. In addition to the navigation wheel and buttons for Home, back, and settings, the remote also comes loaded with separate volume and channel up and down buttons.
There are also four shortcut buttons making it possible to quickly launch Prime Video, Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu.
As this is a voice-enabled remote, it does also come with a dedicated Alexa button at the top.
In spite of the Fire TV Cube being Amazon’s best player, the remote Amazon gives you is not its best. The Alexa Voice Remote Pro features a number of upgrades including a Remote Finder feature, customizable buttons, and motion-activated backlighting.
For those interested in upgrading the remote, the Alexa Voice Remote Pro is compatible with the current-gen Fire TV Cube and costs $35.
Software built for Prime members
Unsurprisingly, Amazon’s streaming player is built for Amazon’s streaming service, Prime Video. This doesn’t mean it cannot be used without Prime Video, as it can, it is just the interface and experience is highly tuned to Amazon’s streaming service, and Prime members will see the greatest benefits overall.
For those already familiar with Fire TV, the user interface won’t be any different. For those new to this operating system, the interface is fairly easy to use. Similar to Google TV, the main home screen highlights videos that are tailored towards the user.
There are also a few shortcuts on the home screen making it possible to quickly jump to Search, Apps, Live TV, My Stuff, or switch inputs.
Speaking of live TV, and similar to Google TV again, Fire TV is pretty good at integrating live services. For example, after signing in to the Sling TV app on the Fire TV Cube, the Live TV tab instantly pulled the TV guide information, making it possible to check what’s on without opening the app.
The Fire TV Cube does come with a few preinstalled apps, mostly Amazon’s own apps, and the Appstore is there for any additional apps you might want to install.
Another Prime-related benefit is the inclusion of Alexa. While Alexa itself is not something that requires Prime, it is yet another example of the tightly integrated Amazon ecosystem.
Alexa on the Fire TV Cube works just like it does elsewhere, including on the company’s Echo line of speakers. Arguably, the Fire TV Cube is basically a streaming player with a built-in Echo.
For those that like to dig deeper into the settings of a device, this is probably where the Fire TV Cube comes in to its own. Along with the ability to connect to a set-top box, the Fire TV Cube can be connected to a whole host of devices in the home, and used to control most of them with voice commands.
This is the real selling point with the cube, and while it is impressive, it is reliant on setting the Cube up with all of those additional devices. Most of this can be done during setup, but it can also be delayed and completed later through the settings menu.
Amazon walks the user through this set-up process for each device, so while it is not overly complicated, it can be a little time consuming initially.
Overall, equipment control is somewhat symbolic of the device in general, as the Fire TV Cube is a player that’s capable of matching its environment. In other words, it can be as simple or as complex as the user needs it to be.
Ads are a thing
Ads are a known thing on Fire TV, so this is not really a criticism that can be specifically leveled at the Fire TV Cube. However, that doesn’t change the fact that users are going to be presented with multiple ads when using the device, and on a streaming player that costs north of $100.
These ads were most often for streaming services when tested, so they didn’t feel too intrusive in this sense. However, Amazon wasn’t adverse from showing non-streaming ads as well, including this one for Cox Mobile.
For those unaware, the ad above is a screensaver ad. Not only are ads integrated into various locations when navigating the Fire TV’s interface, but they also take over the entire screen when left idle for enough time, and change every 30 seconds or so.
Fire TV isn’t the only operating system to utilize ads, but is probably one of the heaviest. While not a massive issue in itself, it is still something to be aware of.
Should you buy the Fire TV Cube?
The Fire TV Cube is an interesting device, but it probably isn’t for everyone. For starters, there are plenty of cheaper devices available.
Even though many of the cheaper alternatives won’t provide as good of an experience, Fire TV Cube is pricey enough that it competes directly with some of the best streaming players out there.
For example, the Fire TV Cube is priced similar to Apple TV 4K and the Nvidia Shield TV, and either of these devices may prove to be a more natural fit for the rest of your setup.
That said, for those highly invested in Amazon’s ecosystem, and wanting the best experience possible, then the Fire TV Cube is certainly worth considering. While it won’t exactly blow you away, it will do everything you want it to, and comfortably.
Fire TV Cube pricing and availability:
The Fire TV Cube is available to buy now for $139.99 from Amazon. The online retailer also offers various other packages and bundles. For example, bundled with a 2-Year Extended Warranty for $157.98, bundled with an Alexa Voice Remote Pro for $174.98, or bundled with an Amazon IR Extender Cable for $154.98.
Fire TV Cube specs:
|Size||3.38” x 3.38” x 2.99” (86 mm x 86 mm x 77 mm)|
|Weight||513g (1.13 lbs)|
|Processor||Octa-core 4x 2.2GHz 4x 2.0GHz|
|WiFi||Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0 + LE|
|Voice support||Far-field and near-field|
|Ports||HDMI 2.1 Input, HDMI 2.1 Output, IR Extender, Power, USB-A 2.0, Ethernet port 10/100Mbps|
|Video||4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR|
|Audio||Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 5.1.|
|Vidgo formats supported||Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, H.265, H.264, VP9, AV1|
|Audio formats supported||AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC), Dolby MAT, Dolby TrueHD passthrough, DTS passthrough, DTS-HD passthrough (basic profile)|
|Warranty||1-year limited warranty and service included|
|In the box||Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen), Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote, power adapter, 2 AAA batteries, Quick Start Guide|