In 2017 Amazon launched the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, a dongle to make smart any television with an HDMI port. At the time we quite liked the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, however, over time it became less attractive compared to its competitors, especially considering the improvements and new channels that came to Roku in Mexico and the arrival of more devices with Android TV to our country, in fact, the Xiaomi Mi TV Stick or the Roku Streaming Stick + they were by far the best streaming dongles until the Fire TV Lite arrived.

Design: nothing new to report

The design of the dongle is exactly the same as a few years ago, we even still have the same mico-USB port in the same position, and the only way to differentiate one from the other is that the Fire TV Lite has the arrow logo from Amazon printed on the device, while the lite version has the name printed on it.

Fire TV Stick Basic Edition on the left and Fire TV Stick Lite on the right.

Where there is an important difference is in the control, which is now larger ergonomic and much better, since it integrates a microphone with which we can ask Alexa for anything, from controlling gadgets in our house, playing content, putting music on a speaker and much more. If you want to learn how to link your Amazon Echo to your Fire TV Stick to control it through an Echo or to use your speaker as a speaker for the Fire TV Stick Lite, here is a short tutorial.

We could say that the microphone is the big difference between the control of the Basic Edition and the Lite, since this new remote control does not have the on / off button and neither does it have a volume control like the one in the version that is not Lite and that was also launched. in conjunction with this device, although I suspect that if you buy that remote on Amazon from the US you could link it without problem to the Fire TV Stick Lite, because in everything else they are exactly the same.

In the box Amazon continues to include an extensive HDMI that will serve so that when connecting the Stick Lite to the TV you can occupy the other HDMI ports without any problem, because if you connect the Stick directly to the port you will notice that your body will not allow you to use the other HDMI ports normally, but this is an event that happens to most of the multimedia playback sticks that we can find on the market.

Big changes in few movements

In the case of Mexico and the countries where only the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition was sold, the change from one product to another will be noticed once we connect the device to the television. Fortunately, Amazon has moved the pieces that it had to move to maintain the things that were already very good in its interface and bring those that were necessary without feeling that we are using something totally different, so if you already liked the interface of the Fire TV Stick, you will still like the new one.

Now we have some changes where we will have recommendations for the services that we have installed on our device, of course Amazon gives priority to Prime Video content, but it is also true that we have recommendations for Netflix. On the other hand, we continue to have application recommendations and the list of apps that we have installed on the device. By the way, the Fire TV Stick Lite has 8 GB of internal storage with which you will be able to install games and applications, and I think it is enough to install many services without problem.

Continuing with the interface we have new sections, the first of which is “My Videos”, which is where you will find the series and movies you have on Prime Video, as well as the purchases and rentals you make on the platform, in fact , here you will also have recommendations for series and movies that you might like. In my case, there are only recommendations from Prime Video, but apparently you could also receive recommendations from other services, although in the week that I have been using the device I have only seen recommendations from the Amazon service.

The next two tabs are “Movies” and “Series”, where you will basically find recommendations for series and movies based on your tastes and views. Finally, we have the “Applications” tab, where we continue to have a distribution by category. At the end, there is the configuration section, which is exactly the same as that of past generations, and where we can establish different settings such as parental control, activate the installation of applications from unknown sources and much more.

But the best thing about this new interface is that now we do have a search engine, which was largely absent from the last version, so searching for an application, movie or series will no longer be a headache on the Fire TV Stick Lite.

Likewise, this search engine is fully integrated with Alexa, so if you connect your Fire TV Stick to an Amazon Echo you can ask it to play a series or movie, search for content by genre, turn up the volume, turn the television on or off and much more. In fact, because the remote control has a microphone, you can also ask Alexa the same thing you do with any other Amazon Echo but on your TV.

Alexa is everything here

In my case, I have tried the Xiaomi Mi TV Stick with Google Assistant and the Roku Streaming Stick + with Roku Voice, and now I can tell you without fear of being wrong that Alexa is much better integrated than any other assistant in any other device. Alexa responds quickly, understands the instructions and does everything with the same fluency with which the Amazon Echo works, in addition to being so integrated into the device you can do much more than with another device compatible with Alexa like the Roku Streaming Stick +.

From the Fire TV Stick Lite you can ask Alexa to make a statement, to allow you to see the camera outside your house, to turn off the light, to open the door, to tell you how the weather will be, to put a reminder, everything what you can do with an Amazon Echo you can do with Alexa.

If you are a user who is already betting on the smart home with Amazon products or with Alexa in integrated products, the Fire TV Stick Lite will improve that experience, if you are just starting with a smart home, I recommend starting with Alexa over Google Assistant Well, in terms of smart homes it seems to me that Amazon is ahead of Google.

Another thing that I found to be a great success is that if you have an Amazon Echo you can use it as a speaker for your television, so you can even have a 2.1 sound system combining two identical Amazon Echoes, the Echo Sub, and your Fire TV. Stick Lite. In fact, if you have the Echo Studio you can enjoy Dolby Atmos, since both the Echo Studio and the Fire TV Stick Lite support this technology, and the truth is that it will sound better than many other televisions and sound systems.

The best of all this is that the connection is made from the app and is wireless, so you will not have to make complicated connections or invest in some type of cable.

There are also things that need to be improved

No gadget is perfect, and obviously the Fire TV Stick Lite can be asked for several things. The first thing you should know is that it is only capable of playing content up to 1080p, so you won’t be able to watch anything in 4K despite having a 4K TV. It is true that most of the content available on Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, HBO and other services are in 1080p, but more and more series and movies are being added in 4K, but the version that can be played in that quality has not arrived to Mexico.

On the other hand, the catalog of applications needs to be further polished, Netflix, Cinépolis Klic, YouTube, Facebook Watch, Spotify, Apple TV, TED, Twitch and many other important services are available, but there are great absent such as Plex, Pluto TV and HBO, which curiously are available for the Fire TV Stick but only in other markets.

With HBO Go it is true that it can be contracted from the Prime Video Channels, but if you already have a subscription to HBO you cannot link your account to Prime Video Channels and therefore you will not be able to access HBO.

Other options like Pluto TV are not officially available in Mexico and if they are on platforms like Roku or Android TV, even services like TV Azteca can be found for free on Android TV and Roku, but not on the Fire TV Stick.

The solution to these problems is to install the APK of these versions for Android TV, as we must not forget that the Fire TV Stick is based on Android 9.0, so it is possible to make the applications of various services work without problem by installing an APK.

If you want to know how to install an APK on your Fure TV Stick you can do it at this link.

In conclusion, I think that the device is a great option for most users who want a device to make their television smarter, and if they already have an Amazon Echo or some other device with Alexa at home, this will make integration a lot more enjoyable, so if you like Alexa this is a must have gadget for your life.