Binge Watching movies and TV shows is a great way to relax and unwind, but can also be a pain if you own a TV that isn’t smart. Sometimes there are issues with connectivity, or at times your PC just crashes or pops up a notification at the wrong time. Thankfully, we can avoid these issues with a good media streaming device, without having to get off the couch to stream flicks.

The new Amazon Fire TV with Alexa voice control is one such device – an affordable, easy to use gadget for anybody who doesn’t own a smartTV. Bundled with Alexa voice remote, it’s a great way to enjoy your favourite TV shows and movies on Netflix, PrimeVideo, and other popular streaming apps for only INR 3,999. Besides, Amazon has finally added Alexa functionality to the new Fire TV stick, which lets you easily search and control playback using voice commands.

Setup

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a pocket-sized device, measuring 3.4 inches, x 1.1 inches x 0.5 inches. Even the bundled Alexa Voice Remote is relatively tiny for a remote and features standard buttons to play, pause, and rewind steamable content.

Setting up the device is a breeze. Just plug in the Fire TV Stick into your TV’s HDMI Port, and once the device recognises your TV, you can turn the TV on or off, and adjust the volume with the Fire TV remote.

Alexa-powered voice remote

Not to forget, the device can also be controlled using voice commands. All you need to do is press the microphone button on the remote and ask Alexa to do everything from finding your favourite TV shows to controlling your smart home devices. Having the ability to use voice commands comes in real handy, especially if you don’t feel like getting off your bed to binge-watch your preferred TV shows. Amazon has finally included its virtual assistant Alexa with the new Fire TV Stick, and I’m glad it’s here. Alexa works like charm while watching content on Amazon or Netflix content. The response to voice commands is quick, and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.

That said, Alexa’s excellent voice recognition is rather limited to Amazon’s own video content. Most other apps require you to launch the app first and then navigate to its content, as opposed to Amazon and Netflix content which you can access from the home screen or search results directly. This limits the usefulness of the device’s search functionality.

I have used several Alexa devices, so I’m familiar with the interface, I and like it. Though I just don’t like the way Alexa works in this application. You have to press a button in order to talk to the remote. So you have to have the remote in your hand in order to control the tv and turn it on/off, just as with an older remote system.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is certainly a big leap, but it still doesn’t utilize Alexas’s full capabilities. Alexa is also under-utilised when it comes to controlling playback. You can use it to skip to the next episode, but you can’t skip backward, and nor can you jump to a particular episode. It’s great for using Amazon and Netflix content, but not so much for other niche streaming services.

Performance

Although Alexa’s functionality seems a bit underutilized in the new Fire Stick TV, the overall performance is top-notch. Thanks to the 1.3 GHz Quad Core ARM processor, it’s probably one of the fastest media streaming devices for home-usage. And once you find your preferred TV show or movie to watch, it loads almost instantly.

Besides, the Amazon Fire TV Stick’s interface is quick and snappy. It’s intuitively laid out, and scrolling through menus is blazingly quick. Once you find the content you’re looking for, it streams flawlessly without any lags. Loading times were fast and streaming quality was top notch. There were also no issues in terms of connection, and the device is totally capable to support a high-quality video feed.

I did not come across any noticeable lags while surfing through video content featured, or while streaming content.

That said, it’s still a 1080p, non-HDR streaming stick. If you want a device that’s able to handle 4K with the Amazon name on it, then you’ll need to spend more on the premium Amazon Fire TV 4K dongle or something similar.

Wrap Up

Simple to use, the Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa remote is an affordable way of watching your favourite movies and TV shows on a TV that isn’t smart. Bundled with the Alexa remote, you can use your voice to control the playback of TV shows and films, as well as compatible smart home devices

If you’re looking for an affordable TV streaming device that lets you watch everything from Netflix to Hotstar on your non-smart TV and gives you all the benefits of a voice assistant, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the perfect buy. For INR 3,999, you can watch your favourite shows in HD on your TV even if it’s not smart.

While you’ll need the more expensive model if you want to watch content in 4K, but for anyone else, this is great value for money.