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Amazon Fireplace TV Dice (third Gen, 2022) evaluation

Regardless of a refreshed Amazon Fire Stick line up only in the near past, the Fireplace TV Dice remains to be the highest canine of Amazon’s streaming line up. Now in its third era, it brings some enhancements equivalent to a sooner processor and higher connectivity, whereas sticking to its authentic MO of being a Fireplace TV Stick and Echo speaker in a single.


Meaning hands-free Alexa and all that Alexa presents is only a voice command away, alongside 4K HDR streaming from just about all your favorite streaming companies. It doesn’t come low-cost although, and at double the value of the Max, does it make sense to spend money on the little field of methods? Maintain studying to seek out out.

Amazon Fireplace TV Dice (third Gen)

The Fireplace TV Dice is probably the most highly effective in Amazon’s streaming units line up. It’s sooner than it was earlier than, presents improved connectivity, and the hands-free Alexa expertise is stable – one of many essential causes to choose it up over Amazon’s different streamers. It’s costly although, and there really feel like a couple of missed alternatives to make it the easiest it might be.

Execs

  • Good image efficiency
  • Speedy efficiency
  • Palms-free Alexa works nicely
  • Improved connectivity
  • Higher design
Cons

  • Costly
  • Interface nonetheless closely Amazon targeted
  • 60Hz passthrough seems like a missed alternative

Specs, pricing and availability

The Fireplace TV Dice (third Gen) was introduced on 28 September 2022 for a 25 October 2022 launch, and it changed the earlier model so it’s not obtainable. The Fireplace TV Dice prices $139.99/£139.99, in contrast with the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max at $69.99/£69.99 and the usual Fireplace TV Stick 4K costing $59.99/£59.99, although it’s price all of those will see gross sales at varied factors of the 12 months – significantly on Prime Day and Black Friday.

Its largest competitors goes to be the Apple TV 4K, which prices $149/£169 with ethernet – one thing the Fireplace TV Dice has as commonplace. Nevertheless, you get an entire lot extra storage with Apple, at 128GB versus 16GB. One thing to consider in the event you fancy doubling up your streaming field as an off-the-cuff video games machine too, however extra on that in just a little bit.

Amazon Fireplace TV Dice (third Gen)

Dimensions
86 x 86 x 77mm

What’s Included
Energy cable, Fireplace distant

Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band. Additionally helps 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax

Ethernet
Sure

Supported video
Dolby Imaginative and prescient, plus HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG

Supported audio
Dolby Atmos, 7.1 encompass sound, 2-channel stereo and HDMI audio pass-through as much as 5.1

Storage and RAM
!6GB, 2GB RAM

Connections
1 x HDMI 2.1 output, 1 x HDMI 2.1 enter, 1 x USB-A enter, IR extender, Ethernet port 10/100Mbps

Design and connectivity

Whereas the dimensions and form of the Fireplace TV Dice are just about similar to the earlier era, there was a slight design change in end – with a transfer from shiny plastic to material wrapped round its midsection.

This helps to maintain it trying just a little smarter and fewer vulnerable to fingerprints and dirt, whereas additionally bringing it extra into line with Amazon’s Echo audio system too.

On high, there’s a plastic part that holds primary controls – quantity up and down, an Alexa motion button and a bodily mute button for once you desire a little bit of privateness. There’s additionally a distant included within the field, the usual Alexa model, although it would work with the non-compulsory Professional model too.

Fire TV Cube 1

If I’m being choosy, I’d have preferred to have seen the beefed up distant included right here. It seems like a no brainer to, to supply the final word Fireplace TV expertise. Nevertheless because it stands, you’ll must pay an additional $34.99/£34.99 for it, which pushes the value as much as a fairly excessive one certainly.

The distant within the field is completely practical although, with all of the controls you would need together with shortcuts to widespread apps. It makes use of a Bluetooth connection to the Fireplace TV Dice, in order that it doesn’t want line of sight to function, although nonetheless has IR on board to have the ability to management your TV when wanted.

Whereas the Alexa button is on the distant, you don’t want it to entry Alexa in any respect. Merely say your command out loud and Alexa will soar into motion, because of the built-in four-mic array. A small LED strip alongside the entrance lights up blue once you do to acknowledge your request – your TV doesn’t even must be on.

Across the again, there are some modifications with connectivity, which does open up the usefulness of the Fireplace TV Dice additional. Alongside the HDMI 2.1 output (it’s price noting there’s no HDMI cable within the field, so add one to your basket on the similar time) and port for an IR repeater, there may be now a extra helpful standard-sized USB port, and an ethernet connection for hardwiring.

Fire TV Cube 3

There may be additionally an HDMI 2.1 enter which lets you join a set-top field, Blu-ray participant or console by way of the Dice, and have entry to the Alexa overlay when utilizing it and a few quantity of Alexa management too. Simply remember that the port is proscribed to 4K/60Hz, so isn’t able to 120Hz playback nor VRR, and so will not be the most effective for a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, which seems like a little bit of a missed alternative.

The final connectivity improve right here is one thing you possibly can’t see – it’s the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6E, upgrading from Wi-Fi 6 discovered within the Fireplace TV Dice’s final era. You’ll must have a 6E-compatible router to entry it, however in the event you do, it’s best to get smoother streaming in even the busiest family of linked units.

Options

As Amazon’s high streaming machine, the Fireplace TV Dice is as highly effective as you’d hope it will be, with a 2.0GHz octa-core processor and 2GB RAM that retains every part working easily throughout testing.

It’s twice as highly effective because the quad-core processor within the Fire TV Stick 4K Max – a declare Amazon is sticking to even after the brand new Sticks have been launched.

Simply as earlier than, the Dice is able to 4K streaming with assist for all of the HDR formats, together with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, plus assist for passing by way of Dolby Atmos content material too.

There’s a Tremendous Decision function on board right here, which goals to upscale any 720p or 1080p content material you could be watching, as much as 4K. Nevertheless, the chances are your TV’s built-in upscaling might nicely do a greater job of this, significantly these with extra refined AI-based upscaling, however when you have a really inexpensive or barely older 4K TV, it’s price a attempt to see the distinction.

You’ll get 16GB of on-board storage, which isn’t lots in contrast with the competitors (however is double that on the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max). Nevertheless, this received’t be a problem for most individuals contemplating you’ll be streaming nearly all of content material immediately from the cloud.

If you wish to obtain lots of apps and video games from Amazon’s Appstore, although, you could end up arising quick. Fortunately the USB port does imply including extra storage is now an choice in the event you want.

It’s truthful to say that Amazon’s Fireplace TV Dice is much from a strong gaming machine – an Nvidia Shield and even Apple TV 4K will do a greater job – however informal avid gamers might get pleasure from a few of the sport choices obtainable (and Amazon’s cloud-gaming platform Luna can also be price a glance too).

Alexa voice management works nicely right here, with the power to show your TV on or off, management playback, request content material and swap HDMI inputs alongside all your regular Alexa instructions.

I’ve a Ring Video Doorbell Plus and it means I can see who’s at my door on the massive display screen, management different good dwelling units that I handle with Alexa, and use issues like Alexa Calling – all through the Fireplace TV Dice.

It truly is like having an Echo Dot constructed into your Fireplace TV streaming machine, and it’s labored simply as seamlessly as one throughout testing. Contemplating the problems we reported in our evaluation of the earlier era, evidently Amazon has carried out its bit to enhance the efficiency of the microphones right here, and I’ve had no points with being left unheard – even after I’ve tried to catch it out.

Setup and interface

Getting the Fireplace TV Dice up and working is admittedly straight ahead, with the on-screen interface strolling you thru step-by-step to get your machine onto your community and registered in your Amazon account. It’ll additionally attempt to perceive what TV you’ve got and every other equipment you’ve got linked to it – it’ll strive to do this robotically (which it did for my Samsung TV), however when you have an older TV it might want a serving to hand.

Including your streaming service accounts is tremendous simple too now, with QR codes that may allow you to approve your logins through your telephone – a lot simpler than prolonged typing on on-screen keyboards.

Should you’ve used a Fireplace TV machine earlier than, the interface can be very acquainted certainly. It is rather closely Amazon targeted, as you may count on, which implies you’ll see lots of Prime and Freevee content material within the banners for really helpful content material. In some methods, it’s no worse a offender for this than Apple, but it surely’s one thing to keep in mind in the event you aren’t a Prime subscriber and have little interest in turning into one.

It is going to floor different content material by way of different suppliers as suggestions however they function much less for certain. Nonetheless, it has a lot of the different apps you’d need, together with Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount+, YouTube, plus all the UK catch up apps.

Fire TV Cube 6

Within the States, HBO Max, Hulu and Peacock are all current and proper, whereas music streaming companies like Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and TuneInRadio can be found throughout the board – solely Apple Music seems to be lacking from the massive gamers. There’s nonetheless no capacity to forged from apps exterior of Prime to the Fireplace TV Dice, or use AirPlay 2, which stays a little bit of a disgrace.

You possibly can choose six favorite apps to pin to the highest of your homescreen for straightforward entry, and as you scroll down you’ll discover varied rails of content material to assist in giving you some inspiration. That serves up “subsequent up” choices from reveals you’ve lately watched, in addition to lately accessed apps and reveals under that.

You’ll additionally get present and movie suggestions by app or style and a snapshot of reveals presently taking part in on Stay TV. You’ll spot some sponsored content material and adverts as you scroll down too, and elsewhere within the interface in banners, that are maybe overly current contemplating the value tag the Fireplace TV Dice carries. I do not thoughts a lot these which can be related – reveals I’d like, for instance – however straight up advertisements are just a little extra annoying.

Completely different customers can arrange their very own profiles inside Fireplace TV, for various histories and homepage setups. That is obtainable underneath the person profile icon, which sits subsequent to choices for search, “Stay” (which takes you to an EPG-style interface for TV reveals on now), My Stuff (your saved Prime playlists) and supply, for switching between linked units.

Efficiency

In use, the Fireplace TV Dice performs precisely how I’d hope. Other than one challenge the place the homepage didn’t appear to load correctly on begin up, and required a reboot, I’ve had no points in time period of navigating the interface, buffering time or freezing.

It’s undoubtedly sooner than the 2nd Technology Dice – I’m undecided it’s improve worthy however there’s a velocity enchancment all the identical.

Fire TV Cube 8

Footage seems nice, significantly with 4K footage. John Wick 4 seems excellent in HDR10+, as does Stranger Issues in Dolby Imaginative and prescient – the Fireplace TV Dice does its half at passing over sharp and detailed photos to the TV, with punchy colors and really minimal noise – solely sometimes noticeable in some darker scenes.

Even HD movies streamed from Netflix appeared virtually as sharp and nuanced. The one footage that don’t fare so nicely is standard-def TV, which seems decidedly extra fuzzy and missing intimately than watching it immediately from my Sky Q field in the identical decision.

Verdict

The Fireplace TV Dice is a strong streaming machine that does its half to take a seat fairly atop Amazon’s streaming units line up. It’s sooner than it was earlier than, presents improved connectivity (even when the 60Hz passthrough seems like a missed alternative) and the hands-free Alexa expertise is stable – one of many essential causes to choose it up over Amazon’s different streamers, and certainly, a few of the competitors.

Fireplace TV remains to be – shock, shock – very closely geared in the direction of surfacing Amazon content material in the beginning, which is okay in the event you’re a Prime person however not a lot in the event you aren’t. In actual fact, I would go thus far to say that in the event you aren’t, it’s best to look elsewhere or contemplate turning into one.

The sticking level stays the value. Should you can choose it up throughout a sale, all the higher, however the reality is that the many individuals can be fairly pleased with the efficiency and options supplied by the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max, for half the value.

Nonetheless, in the event you’re on the lookout for the easiest streaming machine that Amazon presents, and the hands-free Alexa integration appeals, the Amazon Fireplace TV Dice presents lots to love, with a efficiency that received’t depart you wanting.

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