2nd Generation Fire TV Cube Review

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The 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube was released in October of 2019 and I’ve been using this on and off for the past three weeks.

This product was not given to TROYPOINT by Amazon.  We pre-ordered this as soon as the news was released about this new model.

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The opinions that you find in this article are unbiased as are all of our reviews and products recommendations.

To start, I must admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the 1st Generation Fire TV Cube.  My opinion on the 2nd generation device has improved due to the upgraded power that Amazon has injected into this model.

The 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube definitely caters to those with specific needs which I will outline in this post.

The first question that interested buyers should ask themselves is, “Should I save $70 and buy the Fire TV Stick 4K instead?”  Let’s explore these differences first.

Differences Between 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube & Fire TV Stick 4K

New Fire TV Cube VS Fire TV Stick 4K

Below are the major features that set the 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube apart from the Fire TV Stick 4K.

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In my opinion, there are two big differences between these models which is processing power and an integrated Echo device.

  • Built-in speaker
  • Far-field voice control of Fire TV
  • Far-field voice control of devices
  • Expandable storage
  • *Hexa-core Processor
  • **16 GB of storage
  • ***Ethernet adapter

*The Fire TV Stick 4K comes with a Quad-core processor (see benchmarks below)
**The Fire TV Stick 4K comes with 8GB of storage
***The Fire TV Stick 4K does not come with an Ethernet adapter but one may be purchased separately.

When comparing these two Amazon devices, you must consider what features you will find useful.  Personally, the Alexa support and integrated speaker and voice control isn’t a big selling point for me.  I still haven’t trained myself to use voice control on any of my devices so this isn’t something that is necessary for me personally.  If you like the idea of controlling your devices with your voice then you will enjoy this new Fire TV Cube.

Voice Control with Alexa

If you’re looking for an Alexa device and a Fire TV, then this device may be perfect.  If this is you, make sure that the location where you set this up near your television will work well for you in terms of the Alexa capabilities.

We already have an Echo Dot in our kitchen and adding another Alexa device to our living room doesn’t make sense because they are so close to each other.

Another selling point of the 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube is the expandable storage option.  Yes, just like the 1st Gen model, you can increase storage and install applications onto peripheral storage devices such as a USB drive.  If you want to do this, you will need to purchase an OTG cable.  We can use external storage by way of an OTG cable on the Fire TV Stick 4K as well but we don’t have the option of expanding the internal storage like we do on both of the Fire TV Cubes.

Both, the 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube and Fire TV Stick 4K provide the following picture quality.  Up to 4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR 10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision.

I will dive deeper into some of the information mentioned above but at first glimpse, its hard justifying spending an additional $70 on the new Cube if you don’t need the Alexa features.

2nd Generation Fire TV Cube Download Speed Tests

Download speed is one of the most important features to test due to the fact that we’re streaming large HD files through these devices.

The following tests were conducted through my 200 Mbps Internet service.  The WiFi testing was done through the 5 GHz band on my Asus AC3100 router.

Since most TROYPOINT followers also use IPVanish VPN, I also performed testing with VPN active.

The VPN that I am using in this speed test is IPVanish which is the fastest VPN available on the market today.I used the Speed Test tool within the TROYPOINT App to conduct the testing.

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Ethernet

VPN On: IPVanish VPN not working when connected to Ethernet on new Fire TV Cube.

VPN Off: 166.19 Mpbs download &  43.13 Mbps upload

WiFi

VPN On: 86.48 Mbps download &  28.18 Mbps upload

VPN Off: 150.68 Mbps download &  43.91 Mbps upload

The above download speeds are fabulous!

Running a VPN will always decrease download speed due to processing power required and routing traffic through an outside server.

This is definitely one of the best devices that I’ve ever tested in terms of download speed with VPN on.  Wow!

See Download Speed Tests for Fire TV Stick 4K

Purchase the 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube from Amazon

What I Like

The new Hexa-core processor on the 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube definitely packs a punch.  Many have compared this power to be on equal ground of the 2017 NVIDIA SHIELD.

I can certainly see a difference in how fast applications load on this new Cube.  Things are very snappy, just like the NVIDIA SHIELDs.

Below, you will find Geekbench benchmarks for each of the Amazon Fire TV models.  The Geekbench benchmark conducts numerous tests that primarily tax the CPU but also measures other system hardware, such as the memory.  Each test is run on a single CPU core and then on all of the CPU cores available. Most of the tests performed would never be used in a real-world situation on your device, but the results give you a good idea of how each device will perform when looking up data, launching apps, browsing the web, and more.

Device Single-Core Benchmark Multi-Core Benchmark
2nd Generation Fire TV Cube 1434 4029
Fire TV Stick 4K 709 2134
1st Generation Fire TV Cube 637 1444
3rd Generation Fire TV (Pendant) 661 1869
2nd Generation Fire TV Stick 452 1217
2nd Generation Fire TV Box 1529 2881
1st Generation Fire TV Box 726 1605

 

My favorite Amazon Fire TV model ever created was the 2nd Generation Fire TV Box.  You will see that the new Fire TV Cube blows that system out of the water in terms of the benchmark scores above.

As mentioned above, I also like the fact that we can expand internal storage on this device.  I sure wish that Amazon would provide a software update so that we can do the same on the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Amazon has done a good job of rolling out updates for this system and since I’ve had it, I have seen approximately 4 updates.

If you are in the market for an Alexa device and Fire TV, this model supports both of those wishes.  You basically have an Echo and Fire TV device bundled into one unit.

What I Dislike

The price is too high.

I would be curious to see how this unit would sell if they removed the Alexa capabilities and sold it for $99.

Amazon shoots themselves in the foot on this one due to the fact that their Fire TV Stick 4K is so darn good.  In my opinion, most people will compare the 2nd Gen Fire TV Cube with the Fire TV Stick 4K and realize that the additional $70 isn’t worth it.

Yes, they will get a lot more power with the new Cube but that extra power may be overkill for what their needs are.

The new Cube comes with 16GB of internal storage and it would have been nice to see at least 32GB.

Some applications that I sideloaded such as Cinema HD aren’t working properly on the new Fire TV Cube.  This problem may be on the part of the app developers and hopefully an update will address these crashes in the near future.

I tested quite a few sideloaded APKs and they all worked except for Cinema HD.

Also, it appears that Nord VPN is not available to install through this new device as of this review.  Sideloading the application doesn’t work which tells us that Nord needs to update their app so that its compatible with this new Fire OS.

Problems with sideloaded apps probably stem from the new Fire OS 7 which uses Android 9.

The new Fire TV Cube comes with a CPU that supports 64-bit operating systems.  But, for some strange reason, Amazon is still using a 32-bit OS.  This means that applications that require 64-bit such as Dolphin Emulator won’t work properly on this system.

Yes, we can use an Ethernet adapter on this device, but why isn’t it just built into the box?  Same thing holds true for USB storage.  Yes, we can plug a USB thumb drive into this by way of OTG cable but it only supports USB 2.0 instead of the modern USB 3.0.

We see these inexpensive Android TV Boxes sporting three to four USB ports along with an Ethernet port to boot for half the price!

Is It Worth $119.99?

I truly like the power that I see with this new Fire TV Cube but that is really the only feature that excites me.

Do we really need that extra power to perform the tasks that you use on a daily basis?  Probably not.  I personally don’t see an improvement in video quality when compared to my Fire TV Stick 4K.

If you can stream 4K and 1080p content without problems on the Fire TV Stick 4K, why upgrade?  Maybe you also want the additional features that you would find in an Echo device and in that case, this purchase would make sense.

Gamers may find the new Fire TV Cube to be a great system for emulators that can’t perform properly on the Fire TV Stick 4K.  The extra CPU boost may help in this department.  But, its still important to note that this system won’t run emulators or any app that requires a 64-bit OS.

Unfortunately, Amazon follows the same path as other tech companies such as Apple.  They refresh their products on a regular basis but with minimal improvements.  It would be nice to see some big updates when these new devices are released.  In this case, that could have been as easy as including USB ports, a built-in Ethernet adapter, 64-bit OS, and increased internal storage.

In my opinion, the 2nd Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube isn’t worth $119.

New Fire TV Cube VS Fire TV Stick 4K

What’s In The Box?

  • 2nd Gen Fire TV Cube
  • 2nd Gen Alexa Voice Remote
  • Power adapter
  • 2 AAA batteries
  • Infrared extender cable
  • Amazon Ethernet adapter 10/100
  • Quick start guide
  • marketing guide

*HDMI cable is not included.

2nd Generation Fire TV Cube Specs

  • Size:  86.1 mm x 86.1 mm x 76.9 mm
  • Weight: 465 g
  • Processor: Hexa-core (Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz)
  • GPU: ARM Mali G52-MP2 (3EE), 800MHz
  • Storage: 16 GB internal
  • Memory RAM: 2 GB
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity:  Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0 + LE. Pair with compatible Bluetooth speakers, headphones, video game controllers, and more.
  • Fire OS 7 with Android 9 (32-bit OS)
  • Voice Support: Far-field and near-field voice support
  • Voice control compatibility: Fire TV Cube can control a wide range of IR-enabled devices, including TVs, soundbars, cable and satellite boxes, and A/V receivers.
  • Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for digital content purchased from Amazon
  • Ports: HDMI, power, micro-USB, wired infrared support
  • Audio: Built-in 1.6” (40 mm) speaker to interact with Alexa–even when the TV is off. Fire TV Cube uses your entertainment system speakers for entertainment experiences and will turn on your TV, soundbar, or A/V receiver to play these.
  • Audio Support: Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 5.1.
  • Content Formats: Video: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, H.265, H.264, VP9 Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC), Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
  • Output Resolution Supported: 2160p, 1080p and 720p up to 60 fps
  • System Requirements: High-definition television with available high-speed HDMI input, high-speed internet connection via Wi-Fi or inbox Ethernet accessory, power outlet, (compatible TV/sound/cable equipment for control by infrared or voice). High-speed HDMI cable and 4K TV with high-speed HDMI connector required for 4K viewing and more reliable device control.
  • TV Compatibility: TV must support minimum HDCP requirements for protected content playback. Compatible with 1) 4K ultra high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 2160p at 24/25/30/50/60 Hz and HDCP 2.2 or 2) high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 50/60 Hz.
  • Warranty Service: 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year and 3-year extended warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately.

Purchase the 2nd Generation Fire TV Cube from Amazon

Tell Us What You Think?

Please tell us in the comments section below what your thoughts are on this new device.  If you have one, we would love to hear from you!

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