Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen

Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: What’s New for 2021?

In Reviews, Home Theater by Tim Brennan8 Comments

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I love my Fire TV Cube and being able to control my TV with my voice using Alexa; but I started thinking, did I get a raw deal when I bought the Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen Cube? So I did some research — and another blog post was born.

So what are the main differences between the Fire TV 2nd vs 1st Gen Cube?

The 2nd Gen Fire TV Cube processes key Alexa TV commands locally instead of in the Cloud, making most voice command responses faster. Unlike the 1st Gen Fire TV Cube, the Gen 2 model features a faster Amlogic S922z Quad-Core processor, a faster GPU, and support for the latest 4K-HD standards (HDR Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG).

With these significant product updates, the 2nd-Gen Cube is a worthy upgrade in my opinion, even if you own the 1st-Gen Cube. And it costs just a few bucks more.

In the rest of this post, I’ll explain how these hardware enhancements relate to a better overall user experience.

This Cube Is on Fire

If you aren’t familiar with Amazon Fire TV Cube, it is essentially a marriage between Amazon’s Fire TV streaming media platform and Amazon Echo/ Alexa.

Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st GenThe biggest benefit of the Amazon Fire TV Cube is that you can use it to control your TV hands-free (i.e., no remote control required). Instead, you issue commands like “Turn on the TV” and “Tune to Netflix” to Alexa instead. You also get a ton of content available through Prime and other services.  And you can also use the Cube like you would any other Echo device to get news, weather, sports, play music, and more.

There are some notable exceptions, such as no support for Spotify as well as limitations with multi-room music, Alexa calling, and drop-in features.

However, it does make an excellent voice control substitute for your universal remote, and you can use it to control a wide range of smart home devices too.

In this post, I’ll lay out the details of what’ changed from Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen. I’ll start with a basic comparison chart, and then outline what’s new along with what Amazon carried over from the 1st Gen.

📚 Related: 7 Best Smart TVs with Alexa Built-in


Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: Major Features Comparison

Here is a quick comparison table highlighting the major differences of Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen. I’ll include a more detailed technical specifications chart below, as well as a dynamic price comparison table so you can compare Amazon’s latest pricing of both cubes side by side.

Fire TV Cube 2nd Generation
Better Performance
Alexa Remote: Yes
Speakers:1
Microphones: 8
Video Resolution: 720p/1080p/2160p
High Dynamic Range:Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Frames Per Second:60
Audio: Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound
Processor: Amlogic S922z
CPU: Hexa-core (Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz
Graphics Processor: ARM Mali G52-MP6, 800MHz
Storage/ Memory: 16GB/2GB
Fire TV Cube 1st Generation
Budget Runner Up
Alexa Remote: Yes
Speakers:1
Microphones: 8
Video Resolution: 720p/1080p/2160p
High Dynamic Range: HDR10
Frames Per Second:60
Audio: Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound
Processor: Amlogic s905z
CPU: Quad-core 1.5GHz
Graphics Processor: Mali450 MP3
Storage/ Memory: 16GB/2GB

Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: Similarities

fire tv cube 2nd gen vs 1st gen

In comparing Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen, here is a summary of common features:

  • The design and dimensions of the Cube are the same, with the size and weight of both devices being identical (see the chart for specs)
  • Both devices include the Alexa voice remote in the box; the remote works using a Bluetooth signal from the remote to the device.
  • They both share the same video resolution support of 720p/1080p/2160p (up to 60fps), and they both support HDR 10+.
  • The audio experience is pretty much the same which is controlled by Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo, and HDMI audio pass-through up to 5.1
  • Memory and storage are the same at 2 GB and 16 GB respectively
  • Both Fire TV Cube Gen 2 and Gen 1 have eight microphones that support “far-field” technology [meaning that Alexa can hear you over your surround system, background noise and even your obnoxious friend at the football gathering]
  • They both contain a single standard speaker.
  • Both Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen and 1st Gen leverage the Android operating system.
  • The port configuration also has not changed with an HDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support remain the same.

📚Related: Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Cube vs Recast


Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: Differencesfire tv cube 2nd gen vs 1st gen

Here is a list of what changed between the 2nd Gen Fire TV Cube vs 1st Gen:

  1. Perhaps the biggest change in hardware is the processor. The 2nd Generation makes the jump to a blazing fast Hexa-core Amlogic S922z processor (Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz).
  2. This is nearly twice as fast as the 1st Gen’s quad-core at 1.5GHZ.
  3. The on-board graphics processing unit (GPU) also receives a nice upgrade going from Mali450 MP3 to ARM Mali G52-MP6, 800MHz.
  4. Fire TV Cube 2 also ups the ante in the High Dynamic Range (HDR) support.  In addition to adding support for HDR 10, Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen support for HDR Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG. This means that shows and services that leverage these technologies will stream more seamlessly and look better
  5. Neatly all of the hardware upgrades above will make the voice control viewing experience better from the perspective of picture quality as well as the performance of the device.
  6. And, as mentioned previously, with Alexa now on-board the Cube for Fire TV commands, she will be more responsive resulting in less lag from command to action.

Video Review

In the following video review, Craig from Craig’s Tech Talk hammers home some of the points outlined above.

Note: I agree with Craig on all but his suggestion that it may not be worth the upgrade for existing owners of the Cube. After testing both Cubes on my own, the new performance features alone make this a worthy upgrade IMHO.

Erin Lawrence (my secret YouTube crush ❤️) also does a great job in her review of the 2nd Generation Cube.

Are you single, Erin? Call me📱?  Ok, I digress; back to the review!


Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: Full Specifications Comparison

Here is my full detailed specifications comparison of both Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen cubes.  Feel free to use this information as you see fit. If you wouldn’t mind including a link back to this post if you do, I would be much obliged as it helps out with search engine rankings.

 FireTV Cube 1st GenFire TV Cube 2nd Gen
Supported Video /Resolution720p/1080p/2160p (up to 60fps)720p/1080p/2160p (up to 60fps)
Microphones (for Listening)88
Speakers11
Smart Home ControlYesYes
ProcessorAmlogic s905zAmlogic S922z
CPUQuad-core 1.5GHzHexa-core (Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz
GPUMali-T820-MP2ARM Mali G52-MP6, 800MHz
High Dynamic RangeHDR10Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Frames Per Second (FPS)60 FPS60 FPS
Storage16 GB Internal16 GB Internal
Memory [RAM]2 GB2 GB
PortsHDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared supportHDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support
Amazon Alexa Voice ControlCloudOn-board for most TV Commands
Alexa Voice SupportYes. Far-field voice control of Fire TV & devices Yes. Far-field voice control of Fire TV & devicesYes. Far-field voice control of Fire TV & devices Yes. Far-field voice control of Fire TV & devices
Optional Voice RemoteYesYes
Audio Support Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound
Wi-Fi Connectivity802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; 2x2 MIMO
(2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz dual band)
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; 2x2 MIMO
(2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz dual band)
EthernetPort IncludedPort included
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2 + LEBluetooth 4.2 + LE
Operating SystemFire OS 6 (Android 7.1)Fire OS 6 (Android 7.1)
Dolby AtmosDolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround SoundDolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound
Dimensions3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”.3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”.
Weight16.4 oz.16.4 oz.
Warranty1-year Limited (Amazon)1 year Limited (Amazon)
Remote ControlYes, BluetoothYes, Bluetooth
47-Fire-TV-Cube-1st-Gen-vs-2nd-Gen-2020-11-04.csv

References: HD ReportAndroid Central


Bluetooth and Wifi

Neither Bluetooth nor Wi-Fi specifications has changed for the Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen Cube. Here are the specs:

  • Bluetooth 4.2 + LE
  • Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n

Operating System

Both Gen 1 and Gen 2 leverage the Android Operating System.


Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: Dimensions and Weight

Interestingly [and unlike many other Echo devices] which receive yearly design updates, Amazon kept the design of the Fire TV Cube the same. The dimensions and weight of both devices are identical.  As many customers love the Cube’s cool 3-D design (like me!), it’s no surprise Amazon didn’t change it up.  (Hey, If it ain’t broke….don’t fix it!)

The Cube’s dimensions are 3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”.

And it weighs 16.4 oz.


Warranty

Amazon offers a 1-year Limited Warranty for both devices, so these are the same when considering Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen. Check the Amazon product page for details. (I’ll include a couple of links below)


Pricing and Availability

An obvious consideration when comparing Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen… is the price!

Here is a simple price comparison table that compares the cost of both Cubes side by side*. The data in the table is pulled in nightly via direct integration with Amazon’s API. Click the button in the table for the up-to-the-minute price.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

*Note: Amazon is no longer actively promoting the 1st-gen Cube but can still pick one up here.


Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: A Better Mousetrap?

fire tv cube 2nd gen vs 1st genMy take: Amazon really upped the ante on the Cube when they announced the 2nd Generation Fire TV cube that contains some heavy-hitting hardware upgrades, support for the latest streaming technologies, and more.

So what do you think about Amazon Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen?

Do you like the idea of being able to control your TV with Alexa? Perhaps you already own a 1st Gen Cube and are thinking about upgrading like me?

If so, how do you like the 1st Gen Cube?  If not, and you are considering buying one of these Alexa devices, do it! I don’t care if you use my affiliate links, but I am 100% sure you will love being able to control your TV hands-free with Alexa.

I write about smart devices all day, and this is one of my favorites for sure.  It’s just liberating for someone who constantly “loses” the remote.

Anyhow, I sincerely hope you found this article helpful. Please leave a comment below and let me know.

Thanks!


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About the Author

Tim BrennanTim Brennan, Technical Writer & Blogger

Tim Brennan [a.k.a. "Tec Timmy"] is a senior technical writer with over 20 years of experience writing for companies and organizations in and around Greater Boston, including GE and MIT. In addition to actively writing for this smart home blog, Tim is also a regular contributor over at UniversalRemoteReviews.com. Tim holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and loves a good taco🌮. There is a strong chance he is developing a crush on Amazon Alexa. You can learn more about Tim here.

Comments

  1. I believe the gen 2 adds the latest Bluetooth 5 + LE, meaning you can connect to multiple speakers.

    1. Author

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for writing in….that’s a great point! I’m going to update this post with that info.

      Thanks again,
      Tec Timmy

  2. I am waiting for the 2nd Gen Cube. Was wondering if it will switch between inputs on my Denon AV receiver?

    1. Author

      Hey Cornell, Thanks for writing in. I know I have the 1st Gen Cube and am waiting for mine as well. According to Twitcast network it should be able to do it. Check out this video – even with the 1st Gen it sounds like it will do it.
      They specifically mention a Denon receiver.

  3. Great article! So with that new CPU can we finally install Kodi 64bit?

    My Fire TV 2nd Gen has been great running 4k all these years but it’s starting to choke on HDR with anything above 60Mbps. Looking forward to this upgrade. It’ll be huge for me!

    1. Author

      Hey Justin, Glad you enjoyed the article. Did you mean that you were running the 1st Gen Cube up until now? The newer one is the 2nd Gen. Anyhow, Tom’s Guide has a step-by-step tutorial on how to install Kodi on Fire TV Cube. Hope you find it helpful!

      Enjoy your new Cube! Hope you will write us back and let me know how you make out.

      Best,
      Tec Timmy

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