Amazon Fire TV Cube Reviews

Dave Zatz —  June 21, 2018

Amazon Fire TV Cube has arrived … and the reviews are in! The streamer essentially mates an Amazon Fire TV with an Echo Dot and some Logitech Harmony-esque IR blasting capabilities. When first announced, I was enticed (especially given the introductory pricing) – but Amazon’s increasingly cluttered presentation and conspicuously missing volume buttons gave me pause. Not to mention, I’m currently down on always-listening voice assistants — whereas the more economical, yet sufficiently powerful, Amazon Fire TV ships with a perfectly suitable Alexa-powered, push-to-talk voice remote. But let’s see what folks who’ve actually put the hardware through its paces have to say:

The Verge: Alexa turns out to be a good match for your living room

The speaker is not as powerful as a standard Echo, but it’s not designed for playing music — the Cube will route any music requests to your TV’s speakers or your soundbar. Most of the time, Alexa’s responses will also route through the TV’s speakers, but it will use the Cube’s speaker if the TV is off or set to another input. […] And in my experience of testing the Fire TV Cube over the past few days, its Alexa-based voice control system works more often than it doesn’t. But I’m not throwing my remotes in the garbage just yet.

CNBC: I want one for every TV in my house

I just plugged it into a power outlet and then attached it to my TV with an HDMI cable. Amazon’s software walks you through a quick guide that lets the Fire TV Cube automatically control speakers, your cable box and your TV by voice. It holds your hand the whole way. […] I don’t have too many complaints with the Fire TV Cube, but I’m baffled by one decision. Amazon doesn’t include an HDMI cable with the Fire TV Cube, which means you need to take one from another gadget or buy one. It’s a weird corner to cut.

CNET: Alexa turns on your TV, and it feels like magic

“Alexa, switch to Xbox” switches inputs so you’re ready to pick up the controller and mow down some enemies. “Alexa, watch Stranger Things on Netflix” switches inputs again and starts streaming the Upside Down immediately via Fire TV (in 4K and HDR, if your gear supports it). “Alexa, tune to CBS” switches again to your cable box, changes the channel and boom — hello, Judge Judy. […] You can do all of that stuff by pressing buttons on a Harmony remote too, and in many cases, like browsing for shows, fast-forward and pause, buttons are easier than using voice.

Gizmodo: Alexa Is a Pretty Crappy TV Remote, for Now

Sometimes, the artificially intelligent software simply doesn’t understand what you’re saying. In a demo, an Amazon rep asked Alexa to show some dramas. Alexa pulled up some Thomas the Tank Engine videos. When I got home to test the device, I asked Alexa to go back 30 minutes in a movie. Alexa showed me a selection of movies with titles like 30 Minutes or Less. […] To simplify things, Amazon has introduced a new numbered menu so that you can say “Alexa, pick number one” instead of “Alexa, pick Y Tu Mamá También”—presumably so that there’s a lesser chance the AI assistant will misunderstand you. The process still feels clunky, and I still felt like I was saying “Alexa” way too often.

TechHive: Neat hardware, but Alexa can’t keep up

It’s a bit disappointing that Amazon didn’t use the Fire TV Cube as an opportunity to deliver a faster, more feature-packed streaming box to take on the likes of Apple TV 4K and Nvidia Shield TV. Unlike the former, the Fire TV Cube doesn’t support Dolby Vision HDR, which can optimize colors and contrast on a per-frame basis for TVs that support the format. And unlike the latter, the Cube doesn’t have full-sized USB ports for hard drives, TV tuners, and other accessories.

Yahoo: Now it’s okay to talk to your TV

Amazon’s Fire TV Cube is an easy purchase for anyone looking for an Echo or Fire TV. The Cube offers virtually all of the Echo’s features with the added abilities of a Fire TV. You’d be silly not to pick up the Cube rather than a regular Echo or Fire TV. The only time I’d say you should skip the Cube is if you’ve already got a perfectly fine Fire TV and have no interest in owning an Echo. For, everyone else, the Fire TV Cube is an impressive device that’s worth picking up. Just make sure you buy an HDMI cable too.

4 responses to Amazon Fire TV Cube Reviews

  1. Here’s an overview of the remote control configuration and functionality:

    http://www.aftvnews.com/overview-of-the-amazon-fire-tv-cubes-equipment-control-setup-process/

  2. It has a fatal flaw for me: If your Tv and or Soundbar is off and you ask it to play music or radio… it will try to turn those on. There is no way to simply play music or radio through the built in speaker.

    I listen to Sports Radio at night.

  3. I was very pleasantly surprised to not need the IR blaster. My new Cube is tucked in a shelf out of reach of the tv/soundbar.

    So either the IR is REALLY good or it’s doing the controlling all via CEC which is what I hoped.

    Setup was dead simple to control my Samsung tv and soundbar and then tell it which input my TiVo was on.

    Only issue I see so far is TiVo Alexa commands getting picked up as Fire TV commands and Alexa doing the wrong thing.

  4. Another flaw go to watching OTA tv and in about 3 seconds it goes back to the
    cube home page have to hold down my tv remote tv button for 10 seconds to
    stop it from going back to the cube.the need to fix this now or taking back to store.