Amazon announced their second-generation Fire TV Cube this week and the new device is scheduled to ship on Oct. 10, 2019. But should you upgrade your existing model and buy the newer version? Let’s take a look at the 2nd generation of the Fire TV Cube to help you decide whether or not it’s right for you.
The 2nd-generation Fire TV Cube has improved processing with a Hexa-core configuration with quad-core at up to 2.2GHz and dual-core at up to 1.9GHz. And, the graphics processing unit has been upgraded to an ARM Mali G52-MP6 running at 800MHz. These are significant improvements over the quad-core 1.5GHz processor and Mali450 MP3 GPU installed in the 1st-generation.
The new Fire TV Cube has the exact same RAM and storage specs as the 1st-generation with 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage. While those specs don’t seem very impressive, remember that most media players work off the cloud and only have one app running at a time. Even the (questionably) more expensive Apple TV 4k only runs on 2GB RAM, albeit with more storage capacity.
Both the 1st-generation and 2nd-generation Fire TV Cube stream 4k (2160p) video at up to 60 frames-per-second. As far as High Dynamic Range though, the new Cube has expanded HDR to include Dolby Vision and HDR10+ (as well its HDR10 predecessor) and HLG. For audio, both models can play Dolby Atmos sound on compatible audio systems, as well as 7.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo, and HDMI audio pass-through up to 5.1.
Everything else is pretty much the same. The Fire TV Cube has eight microphones and one speaker built-in, Alexa voice commands can control IR-enabled devices such as TVs, sound bars, cable boxes, and A/V receivers, and, the device is equipped with what Amazon calls “Far-field voice control” (as well as Near-field) so your voice can be heard from any direction.
Amazon says over the past year hands-free control with Alexa has been improved, and is now even four times faster with Local Voice Control. Both players use the same OS so any firmware updates should theoretically enhance both models, although the faster 2019 model will likely execute commands faster. Ports haven’t changed. The size and weight are the same. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth specs are identical, as is the Alexa Voice remote control.
The new Fire TV Cube is priced $119 on Amazon and will likely stay that way for a while (at least until Cyber Monday). Or, you can save $20 buy the 1st-generation Amazon Fire TV Cube that has been discounted to only $99. Compare those prices to the $99 Roku Ultra, $179 Apple TV 4k (32GB) and $69 Chromecast Ultra.
If you’ve been waiting to buy a Fire TV Cube now is the time. The new version has covered all the HDR bases with support for 3 more specifications (of course, your TV will have to support HDR to take advantage of this), and, has improved processing speed and GPU performance. This conclusion is based on the technical specs, however, as we have not tested the unit yet. If you already own a Fire TV Cube, you might weigh your decision on whether or not to upgrade based on the most important improvements found in the 2nd-generation: wider HDR support and improved processing/GPU speeds.
Fire TV Cube 1st-Gen vs. 2nd-Gen
|Feature||Fire TV Cube (1st Gen)||Fire TV Cube (2nd-Gen)|
|Video||720p/1080p/2160p (up to 60fps)||720p/1080p/2160p (up to 60fps)|
|HDR||HDR10||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG|
|Audio||Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo, and HDMI audio pass-through up to 5.1||Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo, and HDMI audio pass-through up to 5.1|
|Processor||Quad-core 1.5GHz||Hexa-core (Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz|
|GPU||Mali450 MP3||ARM Mali G52-MP6, 800MHz|
|Ports||HDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support||HDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support|
|Remote Control||Yes (Bluetooth)||Yes (Bluetooth)|
|Voice Support||Yes. Far-field voice control of Fire TV & devices||Yes. Far-field voice control of Fire TV & devices|
|Alexa Voice Remote||Yes||Yes|
|Speakers||Yes (1)||Yes (1)|
|Microphones||Yes (8)||Yes (8)|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.2 + LE||Bluetooth 4.2 + LE|
|Wi-Fi||IEEE 802.11 b/g/n||IEEE 802.11 b/g/n|
|Warranty||1-year Limited||1-year Limited|
|Size||3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”||3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”|
|Weight||16.4 oz||16.4 oz|
|Price||$119 (Discounted to $99)||$119|
Usage: If you would like to use this chart please include credit and/or link back to HD Report.