Top positive review
My experience in detail. Turn your old/non-smart tv into a smart one. Got UI update.
Reviewed in India on 22 October 2020
I have bought 4 Fire TV Sticks so far. First one was bought more than 3 years ago. 2 are without volume and power buttons and 2 are with those. All are working fine. This is the first one I am reviewing.
Buying this latest 2020 release with power and volume buttons out of all other available options was no brainer for me as I wanted latest one with power and volume buttons but not 4k.
This Fire TV Stick 2020 release I received was manufactured last month (Sep 2020) and it was sealed properly. Boxing is simple, which is fine.
I have attached a picture of how it looks after everthing is connected. Setup is very straightforward. All you need is a wifi connection and an HDMI input port on your TV, and after plugging in, you just need to follow the on screen instructions. You will also need an Amazon account to link your device to, if it is not already linked. Mine was not linked, so I had to link it manually.
Remote pairing is easy. No issue at all. Just one thing, these volume and power buttons on remote did not work with VU TV and I think these won't work with other similar TVs but not sure. These did work with Samsung TVs though. There is a link on amazon.in website at top of the product details page to check if your TV is supported. The link to check support is now there in the app as well. Without volume and power buttons, Fire TV Stick Lite is a cheaper option but I have read that it has all other functionalities of this one.
It does seem faster than previous three. Navigation is lag free, not that I faced any navigation issue with previous three, and rebooting is faster. It takes around 30 seconds to reboot while other 3 take around 30 seconds more. I have to sometimes reboot it for a reason mentioned at the end.
This too has 8 GB of storage capacity but storage available to user is around 4.7 GB. Rest I think is taken by operating system and app updates. Storage is not a problem for me though, as I only download Youtube App and mostly watch YouTube and sometimes prime videos.
There is only one a bit inconvenient thing, which is there in all 4 Fire TV Sticks. In case parental controls are enabled and if YouTube is already open and I search for something using voice, and Alexa says 'Getting that from Youtube', I have to enter pin after every search. I hope this is improved with software update.
Alexa answers most questions. It recognises non-english language words while searching and does not make many mistakes.
Mobile Youtube videos can be watched on TV by casting to Fire TV Stick. I have also checked Fire TV Stick screen mirroring with an Android mobile phone and it works.
I have been able to connect it to JBL Go 2 bluetooth speakers and did not face any issue. There is no noticable audio lag and sound quality is good. After switching either TV or JBL Go 2 off and then on again, Fire TV Stick reconnects to JBL Go 2 automatically and very fast.
Boat Rockerz 450 bluetooth headphones do give bluetooth connectivity problem after switching headphones off and then on again. It does not automatically reconnect and I have to manually connect by going to Fire TV Stick settings. So problem seems to be with boat headphones.
Remote control batteries last reasonable amount of time, may be 3 months or more, but Duracell or similar batteries are needed when provided ones are drained. Normal batteries won't last more than a few days.
After using the first Fire TV Stick for a year, I removed both DTH as well as cable TV connection from my room a couple of years ago. With almost unlimited broadband data available these days for a reasonable price and at good speed, and when I can find and watch anything I want using Fire TV Stick, who needs those. I needed cable or DTH only to watch Live Cricket (without much delay) but now I have almost lost interest in cricket, so really don't miss cable TV or DTH service.
People should be able to use it with their existing smart HD TV as well if they think that their smart TV does not provide as much functionality as Fire TV stick does. All they should need is a free HDMI input port. But I have not checked it myself so cannot confirm.
Above I have mentioned that I have to sometimes reboot the device. The reason is that when I sometimes reboot my wifi modem, this Fire TV Stick does connect to wifi again but shows 'Connected with problems' error message. This problem seems to be specific to this 2020 Fire TV Stick only. So I have to reboot this device by going to Settings and internet connection problem is solved.
Overall, Fire TV Stick is a great device and I found no reason to deduct any star, specially when I bought it during this sale.
Update 19-Dec-2020: This Fire TV Stick just got User Interface update today. Seems to be better and easier to use than previous UI. Picture is attached.