Five reasons to not buy the Amazon Fire TV Cube

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2018
Amazon's new Fire TV Cube shows promise as a set-top box with hands-free voice controls, but after a short period of using the device, it is apparent there are some issues that need to be ironed out to make the Cube better.





When Amazon announced its latest TV accessory, I was genuinely excited at the capabilities it advertised, especially for the price. It's been about a week and a lot of those hopes have dwindled. The Fire TV Cube isn't that bad overall, but there are some glaring issues that might not make it a worthwhile addition to your home.

Outdated hardware

The Cube uses the same internals as last year's less-expensive Fire TV, including a low-end processor identical to the one used in the Raspberry Pi 3. This makes the overall user experience a bit sluggish.



Some apps take a long time to load because of the limited specifications, and generally you get the same glitches and slowdowns that users complained about with the Fire TV. Searching for content takes much longer than competing devices like the Apple TV 4K.

Amazon Fire TV Cube


While this may not be a huge issue today, it definitely will be in a year or two when Amazon inevitably adds more demanding features to Fire TV's OS.

Voice Control

I've been using Alexa for over two years now in the form of the Echo, and it's an incredibly capable virtual assistant. Leveraging that intelligence to control your TV and media with nothing but your voice is an exciting prospect, but unfortunately Alexa doesn't deliver on the Cube.

Amazon Fire TV Cube


Ask her to find 4K movies and she shows regular HD. Ask for action movies and you'll get TV shows. Ask for rentals and you'll get mostly Prime films. After a lot of frustration I went back to using the standard physical remote, but it doesn't have a volume toggle.

That said, even with voice integration, Alexa raises volume levels in 5 percent increments, which can be modified to a maximum of 10 percent. Unlike Echo devices, you can't just ask Alexa for a specific volume, so if you want to go from 10% to 100, that'll take at least 9 separate requests.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Lack of 4K HDR content

You would think that with all the marketing on the Fire Cube's page, there would be a host of 4K 60 HDR movies to buy and rent, but you'd be wrong. Amazon was one of the first online marketplaces to adopt 4K video, and its video library for Prime subscribers is extensive.

The options to buy or rent 4K movies, however, is very limited.

Amazon Fire TV Cube


Apple was late to the 4K game, but when support for the standard debuted, the company upgraded all compatible user purchases to 4K HDR for free. Further, any new release that has a 4K version can be purchased or rented in 4K HDR for no additional charge through the iTunes Store.

That means many of the films available on the Fire TV Cube come with iTunes prices, but they are limited to standard HD. That's a huge bummer if you've spent your hard earned money on a nice 4K TV and want content to match.

Casting Video

Amazon Fire TV Cube


I'm a huge fan of Chromecast and Airplay. It allows me to start watching something on my phone, click a few buttons, and the video's up on the big screen to enjoy while my phone is free to use. I can duplicate my screen, show off my personal photos and video, or just turn something on downstairs for my kids without having to physically walk into the room.

Unfortunately these luxuries aren't available natively on Amazon's Fire TV. That also means no casting audio or multi-room support.

Smart Camera delay

The last thing I want to mention is something I was actually most excited to see, and that's the ability to ask Alexa to turn on my TV and display the feed from my Amazon Cloud cam.

I already own and use two systems, and while they get the job done, they require me to pull out my phone, launch an app and wait for it to connect. This usually takes 10-15 seconds, which isn't too bad, but being able to ask Alexa to display my kids basement playroom, especially while my hands are tied with chores or the baby, would be so convenient.

Amazon Fire TV Cube


While advertised as a major feature, the implementation on Fire TV Cube is lacking. It works decently if your TV is already on, but if it isn't, the delay is way too long. It takes about 10 seconds for a feed to show up on my phone, compared to around 30 seconds for Fire TV Cube.

If there's something going on that needs my attention, I can physically walk downstairs to check and be back before the feed shows up.

Stick the landing!

Amazon Fire TV Cube


While the Fire TV Cube isn't a bad device, it's definitely not a great one. The voice control is nice to have, but unfortunately many of the headline features just don't work that well. If you want more info on the Fire Cube TV, make sure to check out our full review or our detailed comparison against the Apple TV 4K.
watto_cobra
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,007member
    Who even needs one reason apart from this is made by Amazon, your corporate spy in your home.
    Mind you the Google things are just as bad IMHO.
    williamlondonSoundJudgmentracerhomie3Cesar Battistini Mazieroairnerdredgeminipajbdragonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 27
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 171member
    i agree with most of this. 

    but i actually hate the experience of 'casting' on chromecast etc. i wish it had a menu like fire TV so it remains signed into accounts anyone can just use it. 

    i personally find it a bit sloppy and i dont want to share my phone to let my family use my accounts. (my mother will never understand casting)
    airnerdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 27
    kenh26kenh26 Posts: 14member
    Obviously  being Apple iTunes based I think you are missing a lot of the positives and downgrading the Fire/Cube as a result 

    Amazon Prime includes a huge range of FREE 4K original content plus a ton of pay to view 4K content 

    Apple iTunes/Apple TV 4K includes zero free 4K content - everything in apple TV/iTunes is paid for content 

    If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber then you get all that original and some third party content free. 

    I think if you are going to compare Apple TV to Amazon Fire you should do that on a cost vs cost basis. So if I pay for Amazon prime TV that 4K content can I get for $100 a year (£80 here in the UK) vs what I would get from iTunes. There is no equivalent subscription on iTunes so no direct comparison is available.

    So if you compare the included 4K content on Amazon vs the cost of paying for every single movie or TV programme on iTunes, then Amazon has a much cheaper option 

    I have no axe to grind but I do think that if you are comparing devices it would be useful if you could compare the real cost of each rather than preferring the Apple TV option which in the end costs way more just because it is Apple
    elijahgairnerdMcnaugha2
  • Reply 4 of 27
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    kenh26 said:
    Obviously  being Apple iTunes based I think you are missing a lot of the positives and downgrading the Fire/Cube as a result 

    Amazon Prime includes a huge range of FREE 4K original content plus a ton of pay to view 4K content 

    Apple iTunes/Apple TV 4K includes zero free 4K content - everything in apple TV/iTunes is paid for content 

    If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber then you get all that original and some third party content free. 

    I think if you are going to compare Apple TV to Amazon Fire you should do that on a cost vs cost basis. So if I pay for Amazon prime TV that 4K content can I get for $100 a year (£80 here in the UK) vs what I would get from iTunes. There is no equivalent subscription on iTunes so no direct comparison is available.

    So if you compare the included 4K content on Amazon vs the cost of paying for every single movie or TV programme on iTunes, then Amazon has a much cheaper option 

    I have no axe to grind but I do think that if you are comparing devices it would be useful if you could compare the real cost of each rather than preferring the Apple TV option which in the end costs way more just because it is Apple
    Cost doesn't matter. Apple is better.
    racerhomie3
  • Reply 5 of 27
    How about:

    1) spying on you and tracking all your activities (so it can #2 on you<wry grin>)
    2) serve you more personalised ads in order to sell you more things in their store

    These devices are so dishonest, same from Google as well, they sell at cost or at a loss then spend their entire lives subtly and slyly manipulating you to buy shit in their stores you neither need nor want. That is where they extract profit. From the first day you own these devices, they sneak your wallet from your pocket extract cash and put it back without your ever knowing it and certainly without your attributing the subsequent spend to the cost of the device you already own. How incredibly deceitful, the purpose of these devices is to sell you more things, not to provide you total enjoyment in the device you have purchased from them from the device itself.
    rotateleftbyteelijahgmike54racerhomie3StrangeDaysredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 27
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 153member
    kenh26 said:
    Obviously  being Apple iTunes based I think you are missing a lot of the positives and downgrading the Fire/Cube as a result 

    Amazon Prime includes a huge range of FREE 4K original content plus a ton of pay to view 4K content 

    Apple iTunes/Apple TV 4K includes zero free 4K content - everything in apple TV/iTunes is paid for content 

    If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber then you get all that original and some third party content free. 

    I think if you are going to compare Apple TV to Amazon Fire you should do that on a cost vs cost basis. So if I pay for Amazon prime TV that 4K content can I get for $100 a year (£80 here in the UK) vs what I would get from iTunes. There is no equivalent subscription on iTunes so no direct comparison is available.

    So if you compare the included 4K content on Amazon vs the cost of paying for every single movie or TV programme on iTunes, then Amazon has a much cheaper option 

    I have no axe to grind but I do think that if you are comparing devices it would be useful if you could compare the real cost of each rather than preferring the Apple TV option which in the end costs way more just because it is Apple
    Please note that the Amazon Prime TV app is available on the Apple TV, so you don't even need an Amazon device to view Amazon Prime content.
    chiamacxpressSoliRayz2016airnerddbdukesStrangeDaysredgeminipajbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 27
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,730member
    bonobob said:
    kenh26 said:
    Obviously  being Apple iTunes based I think you are missing a lot of the positives and downgrading the Fire/Cube as a result 

    Amazon Prime includes a huge range of FREE 4K original content plus a ton of pay to view 4K content 

    Apple iTunes/Apple TV 4K includes zero free 4K content - everything in apple TV/iTunes is paid for content 

    If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber then you get all that original and some third party content free. 

    I think if you are going to compare Apple TV to Amazon Fire you should do that on a cost vs cost basis. So if I pay for Amazon prime TV that 4K content can I get for $100 a year (£80 here in the UK) vs what I would get from iTunes. There is no equivalent subscription on iTunes so no direct comparison is available.

    So if you compare the included 4K content on Amazon vs the cost of paying for every single movie or TV programme on iTunes, then Amazon has a much cheaper option 

    I have no axe to grind but I do think that if you are comparing devices it would be useful if you could compare the real cost of each rather than preferring the Apple TV option which in the end costs way more just because it is Apple
    Please note that the Amazon Prime TV app is available on the Apple TV, so you don't even need an Amazon device to view Amazon Prime content.
    You basically just invalidated his entire argument LOL. 
    SoliradarthekatCesar Battistini MazieroRayz2016JaiOh81StrangeDaysredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 27
    mike54mike54 Posts: 293member
    Apart from the obvious reasons not to recommend this Amazon product, it doesn't even have a volume control.
    Apple TV is way better, even though Apple thinks of it now as a streaming device even though it capable of so much more.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 27
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 917member
    Let me think of 2 reasons .
    1. They sell your data , for manipulation in the future.
    2. Google & Amazon are on the same boat, abusing your data in ways we don’t know.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 27
    bala1234bala1234 Posts: 15member
    wow third (negative?) article on the same product! I don't remember reading as many on any other non-apple product on appleinsider
    williamlondonairnerd
  • Reply 11 of 27
    Wow, it's shocking--SHOCKING, I tell you--that "Apple Insider" would not like a device made by Apple's number one competitor.  The company whose personal assistant Alexa had demolished Apple's Siri in a space that Apple invented.  The company whose sales in the tablet space are growing faster year-over-year than Apple's iPad. And the company which, along with Roku, and UNLIKE Apple, has become synonymous with streaming TV.   The fact that you refer to Amazon's device in the final paragraph as the "Fire Cube TV" tells me all I need to know about the credibility of this review.  In fact, I think you've pushed me over the edge into buying one.
    airnerdwilliamlondonMcnaugha2
  • Reply 12 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    bala1234 said:
    wow third (negative?) article on the same product! I don't remember reading as many on any other non-apple product on appleinsider
    And there'll be many many more for as long as folk keep taking the bait.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 27
    jaaycojaayco Posts: 46member
    Wow, it's shocking--SHOCKING, I tell you--that "Apple Insider" would not like a device made by Apple's number one competitor.  The company whose personal assistant Alexa had demolished Apple's Siri in a space that Apple invented.  The company whose sales in the tablet space are growing faster year-over-year than Apple's iPad. And the company which, along with Roku, and UNLIKE Apple, has become synonymous with streaming TV.   The fact that you refer to Amazon's device in the final paragraph as the "Fire Cube TV" tells me all I need to know about the credibility of this review.  In fact, I think you've pushed me over the edge into buying one.
    Yeh it makes sense to buy one. Calling it "Fire Cube TV" is a much more important factor than the fact it is out of date and doesn't do anything that well. /s
    JaiOh81StrangeDaysjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 27
    deminsddeminsd Posts: 90member
    How about:

    1) spying on you and tracking all your activities (so it can #2 on you<wry grin>)
    2) serve you more personalised ads in order to sell you more things in their store

    These devices are so dishonest, same from Google as well, they sell at cost or at a loss then spend their entire lives subtly and slyly manipulating you to buy shit in their stores you neither need nor want. That is where they extract profit. From the first day you own these devices, they sneak your wallet from your pocket extract cash and put it back without your ever knowing it and certainly without your attributing the subsequent spend to the cost of the device you already own. How incredibly deceitful, the purpose of these devices is to sell you more things, not to provide you total enjoyment in the device you have purchased from them from the device itself.
    And Apple extracts their profit right in front you, shamelessly draining your wallet every time you walk into an Apple Store, lust-filled for that new device or gadget.    
  • Reply 15 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,553member
    kenh26 said:
    Obviously  being Apple iTunes based I think you are missing a lot of the positives and downgrading the Fire/Cube as a result 

    Amazon Prime includes a huge range of FREE 4K original content plus a ton of pay to view 4K content 

    Apple iTunes/Apple TV 4K includes zero free 4K content - everything in apple TV/iTunes is paid for content 

    If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber then you get all that original and some third party content free. 

    I think if you are going to compare Apple TV to Amazon Fire you should do that on a cost vs cost basis. So if I pay for Amazon prime TV that 4K content can I get for $100 a year (£80 here in the UK) vs what I would get from iTunes. There is no equivalent subscription on iTunes so no direct comparison is available.

    So if you compare the included 4K content on Amazon vs the cost of paying for every single movie or TV programme on iTunes, then Amazon has a much cheaper option 

    I have no axe to grind but I do think that if you are comparing devices it would be useful if you could compare the real cost of each rather than preferring the Apple TV option which in the end costs way more just because it is Apple
    But Prime isn’t free - it’s a stand alone service that’s an extra $120. So disingenuous to claim you get free content on it. 
    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,553member
    you can't just ask Alexa for a specific volume, so if you want to go from 10% to 100, that'll take at least 9 separate requests”

    That is ridiculous. That’s worse than beta. 
    edited July 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,553member
    Wow, it's shocking--SHOCKING, I tell you--that "Apple Insider" would not like a device made by Apple's number one competitor.  The company whose personal assistant Alexa had demolished Apple's Siri in a space that Apple invented.  The company whose sales in the tablet space are growing faster year-over-year than Apple's iPad. And the company which, along with Roku, and UNLIKE Apple, has become synonymous with streaming TV.   The fact that you refer to Amazon's device in the final paragraph as the "Fire Cube TV" tells me all I need to know about the credibility of this review.  In fact, I think you've pushed me over the edge into buying one.
     yeah cool story bro. Amazon outselling ipads, nice fantasy you have. 
    redgeminipajbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,553member
    deminsd said:
    How about:

    1) spying on you and tracking all your activities (so it can #2 on you<wry grin>)
    2) serve you more personalised ads in order to sell you more things in their store

    These devices are so dishonest, same from Google as well, they sell at cost or at a loss then spend their entire lives subtly and slyly manipulating you to buy shit in their stores you neither need nor want. That is where they extract profit. From the first day you own these devices, they sneak your wallet from your pocket extract cash and put it back without your ever knowing it and certainly without your attributing the subsequent spend to the cost of the device you already own. How incredibly deceitful, the purpose of these devices is to sell you more things, not to provide you total enjoyment in the device you have purchased from them from the device itself.
    And Apple extracts their profit right in front you, shamelessly draining your wallet every time you walk into an Apple Store, lust-filled for that new device or gadget.    
    Huh? It’s a fair exchange of money for product,there’s nothing shady or sneaky about it. 
    redgeminipawilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 27
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,965member
    kenh26 said:
    Obviously  being Apple iTunes based I think you are missing a lot of the positives and downgrading the Fire/Cube as a result 

    Amazon Prime includes a huge range of FREE 4K original content plus a ton of pay to view 4K content 

    Apple iTunes/Apple TV 4K includes zero free 4K content - everything in apple TV/iTunes is paid for content 

    If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber then you get all that original and some third party content free. 

    I think if you are going to compare Apple TV to Amazon Fire you should do that on a cost vs cost basis. So if I pay for Amazon prime TV that 4K content can I get for $100 a year (£80 here in the UK) vs what I would get from iTunes. There is no equivalent subscription on iTunes so no direct comparison is available.

    So if you compare the included 4K content on Amazon vs the cost of paying for every single movie or TV programme on iTunes, then Amazon has a much cheaper option 

    I have no axe to grind but I do think that if you are comparing devices it would be useful if you could compare the real cost of each rather than preferring the Apple TV option which in the end costs way more just because it is Apple
    But Prime isn’t free - it’s a stand alone service that’s an extra $120. So disingenuous to claim you get free content on it. 

    The other fact is, any movies you may have paid for in the past from Apple and iTunes you'll get a FREE 4K version of it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 27
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,007member
    deminsd said:
    And Apple extracts their profit right in front you, shamelessly draining your wallet every time you walk into an Apple Store, lust-filled for that new device or gadget.    
    You are right but we do that knowing full well what is going to happen.
    These Amazon and Google devices spy on us 24/7 and they have the gall to make us pay for them...
    You have no choice on what they slurp and what they do with it.

    There is a huge difference between the two.
    watto_cobra
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