You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a no-fuss media streamer that can go to-to-toe with even the smartest Smart TV.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2017) design: compact and easy to set up
It’s easy as pie. Wait. It’s easier. Seriously, it doesn’t quite get easier than the Amazon Fire TV stick. Plug it into a spare HDMI port, connect the power, and er, ‘fire it up’. Sit through a short video and then tell your mates to microwave some popcorn while a wizard walks you through the initial setup. The only part you might find grating is that using the remote with the on-screen keyboard to enter ’Wi-Fi details and other account info can be a bit of a chore. Still, you always have the option of using the Fire TV Stick remote app (iOS or Android) to make this easier. Amazon will even fill in your account details if you order it via their storefront (you can also get the Stick from other retailers like Croma).
Once you’ve signed in to whatever services you use (doncha fret, you’re bound to find your fav streaming site - as you’ll soon see), the rest is easy. The included remote (works via Bluetooth and gets paired pretty much automatically during initial setup) is compact, and has playback control buttons as well as a voice input button (more on this later). You’ve even got the option of adding your own Bluetooth accessories (controllers, headphones, speakers, and more).
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2017) apps and OS: every platform you'd want
This is what makes the Stick such a compelling buy. You’ve got everything you could want. Prime Video does take centrestage, but you’ll also find apps for Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv, Airtel Movies, Gaana, Eros Now…. Almost every major streaming service is available on the Fire TV Stick, but the basket ‘o goodies doesn’t end here. You can use loads of other apps - from TuneIn Radio to Plex, to loads of games.
But the excellent support for streaming services and apps isn’t the only reason. What helps the Stick stand out from the crowd is its slick UI. Navigating around is easy, the UI responds instantly without any discernable lag, and puts your fav apps and content front and centre. A breath of fresh air compared to some Smart TV or low-cost streaming box UIs that seem to have been dreamt up by a masochistic designer? You bet.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2017) performance: super-duper
The ‘updated’ Fire TV Stick (or new, since this is the first time it’s made it to India) gets a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Video output is 1080p (The 4K Fire TV box isn’t sold here yet), there’s support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and finicky movie buffs will appreciate the Dolby multichannel audio.
Amazon’s also using something they call ‘Advanced Streaming and Prediction’ (you just gotta love how they come up with these acronyms). In a nutshell, it’s a predictive tech that will pre-load Prime Video content you’re likely to watch - nothing like having the next episode of your fav show all lined up and ready.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2017) voice search
Yes, we know it’s a shame there’s no Alexa on the Indian version of the Stick. But that’s to be expected as Amazon hasn’t rolled out support for its voice assistant in more than a handful of markets. But you’ll be pleased to know the Stick still gets voice search - and it understands Hindi. Press the voice input button and you can search for Bollywood flicks without confounding the living daylights out of the Stick. On the whole, the voice recognition works brilliantly. Nearly perfect, except that the integrated search doesn’t work with all apps. Still, you’re sorted if you’re really here for Amazon Prime Video - Say ‘Man in the High Castle’, and it’ll take you straight to the series page.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2017) review
An excellent streaming stick with a slick UI, support for all the serviced you’d want, and tuned-for-Bollywood voice recognition. That should be all the reason you need. But if you’re still not convinced, the plethora of offers (free data, Amazon Pay cashback, ad-free subscriptions…) should be enough reason for you to get off the fence and head over to Amazon.