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Amazon Fire TV Cube Review, Should You Buy It?

 Amazon has become the go-to brand for streaming devices in India. It would be safe to call Amazon the undisputed king of the streaming device market, at least in the country. With a wide range of Fire TV sticks, Amazon aims to make your dumb TV smarter. Not just that, Amazon's streaming devices offer a variety of streaming services without costing a fortune. You can pay just Rs 2999 for Fire TV stick lite or pay Rs 5999 for the Fire TV stick 4th gen and enjoy the wonders of Alexa on your big screen. However, Amazon's latest edition to its streaming devices is something you have never seen before. The Amazon Cube was launched in India only a couple of years after it was made official globally. I must say, the wait was worth it!

At Rs 12,999, Amazon Cube costs significantly higher than the existing Fire TV stick devices. That is because the Cube does not do just one job. Instead, Amazon has bundled the attributes of an Amazon Echo and Amazon Fire TV stick into one square box and decided to call it Amazon Cube.

What it offers is absolutely futuristic, and you probably have never come across something like this before. Goes without saying, the Amazon Cube not includes all the features of the Fire TV Stick but also lets the user control their entertainment system, including compatible TV, Set-Top Box, Smart Home devices, A/V receivers, etc. using their voice. Sounds fun. But should you spend those extra doughs to get the Amazon Cube for the extra features or stick to your good old Fire TV Stick? Let us find out in the review.

Amazon Fire TV Cube: Stays in front of your TV, not behind it

Staying true to its name, Amazon Cube is a square-shaped box that looks exactly like a Rubik's Cube minus those coloured micro boxes. It is so true to its shape that you can use it to teach geometrical figures to your kid when not plugged into your TV. The Cube has sharp corners and has a glossy finish on the sides. However, the top panel which houses all the control buttons has a matte finish. The front facade has a thin LED bar that goes from red to blue every time you summon Alexa, the voice assistant.

The top panel houses the microphone button, the volume buttons and a button to summon Alexa. The buttons are easily accessible and extremely tactile, but there was no real need for adding a dedicated button for Alexa. You can use voice commands for that. Along with the buttons, eight tiny far-field microphones listen to your commands and act accordingly. The microphones do a great job of picking up your orders. Only in rare cases will you have to repeat your commands.

At the rear of the Amazon Fire TV Cube, you will find an HDMI port, micro-USB port, a power connector, micro USB, an IR extender and a power connector. While Amazon includes all the other cabers and connectors, it misses out on an HDMI cable. It is hard for me to ignore this particular bit because the Cube cannot function without an HDMI cable, no matter how able the device is. To miss out on something as important as this is a huge failing at Amazon's end.

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is meant to occupy the space in front of your TV but away from the speakers. It is not meant to be hidden, and rightly so. The device is also chic and adds a good amount of jazz to your TV cabinet with its LED lights dancing their way in and out.

Amazon Fire TV Cube Real Reviews

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is the most powerful streaming device the company has launched, and there are no two ways about it. The Amazon Fire TV Cube is an ultra-powerful Hexa-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The higher RAM is responsible for delivering a fast experience. If you have used a Fire TV Stick before, you will notice that the Fire TV Cube loads the app faster. Its playback speed is also somewhat better and quicker than the Fire TV Stick you have owned for years. The Amazon Fire TV Cube can stream your videos in Ultra-HD and comes with support HDR formats, including the HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

The interesting bit about the Amazon Fire TV Cube is that it not only lets you control your television, you can also control your speaker or soundbar or any other device the Cube is connected to. The Fire TV Cube also enables you to connect to wired internet. You can do that using the Ethernet adapter that is provided in the box. You can use a wired connection for a better, faster speed if you wish to. Interestingly, Amazon Fire TV Cube is the only streaming device that lets you use a wired internet connection. It wasn't possible in the previously launched Fire TV sticks without using a separate adapter.

Notably, if the microphone button on the Fire TV Cube is turned on, Alexa is probably listening to your conversations. However, if you do not want Alexa to eavesdrop, you can simply turn the microphones off when you are not using the device. You can turn them on using the button provided at the top panel or using the remote that has been provided to you. Alexa on the Fire TV Cube is quite responsive. It worked well from a distance and even at a noisy setup.

Amazon Fire TV Cube has the attributes of an Echo speaker, but it cannot play music or any other type of content. In addition, the Cube only functions when you connect it to a TV and not otherwise. So in simple terms, if you are expecting the Cube to act as a Bluetooth speaker and play music for you, you would be in for a disappointment.

Coming to the remote, it looks similar to what you get with the Fire TV sticks with a D-Pad for navigation. You get the volume and playback buttons, home buttons and back buttons. There are dedicated keys to summon Alexa and for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music and an app drawer. The Fire TV UI is simple and easy to use. Even if it is your first time with a streaming device, you will not find it so difficult to navigate because the UI is clutter-free.

The best thing about the Fire TV Cube is that you don't need a remote to go from one movie to another or play music. You can simply give a command like, "Alexa, play Silsila", and the film would start playing without you have to select or deselect anything. Similarly, you can also ask your Fire TV Cube to play your music from Amazon Prime Music. Alexa is responsive and takes swift actions. You can ask Alexa to increase or lower the volume of your TV. If you are too lazy to get up from your couch and grab the remote to turn the TV off, Alexa will most gladly do it for you. Similarly, if you get a call in between a movie or series and the remote is not in sight, you can ask Alexa to pause the film. Not only the TV, but it also controls your connected smart home appliances pretty efficiently.

Amazon Fire TV Cube: Should you buy it?

At Rs 12,999, the Fire TV Cube is not the most pocket-friendly streaming device out there. You will get cheaper options like the Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick 4th generation at Rs 2,999, Rs 5,999 with almost the same functionalities as the Fire TV Cube. Having said that, the Fire TV Cube comes with its own sets of quirks. It makes you forget the remote completely, seamlessly controls your connected home appliances and provides the best quality content. It is the best device if you have a smart home setup and a deep pocket because it is an expensive device. However, if you want to stay away from the jazz that the Cube comes with, you can go for the cheaper options such as the Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick fourth generation.

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