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In this post, I review Amazon’s two most popular streaming cubes: the Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen.
While the 3rd Gen Cube hasn’t been released just yet, I will take an early look at how it measures up based on the specs released by Amazon. I will also take a deep dive into each device to uncover the key similarities and differences of each.
I’ll review each Cube on its merit in terms of:
- Overall Design
- Hardware Specifications & Performance
- Content Formats
- Software and Connectivity
- Streaming Capabilities
I’ll also compare the key tech specs of both Cubes side by side. But first, let me start with a little introduction.
This Cube is On FireIf 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.
Now in its long-awaited 3rd-generation, Amazon announced some impressive new features and claims that the 3rd-gen Cube will process commands 20% faster than the 2nd Gen.
I love my 2nd Gen Cube and being able to control my TV with my voice using Alexa. The only negative of my 2nd Gen Cube is a slight delay when I ask Alexa to open Netflix or YouTube, for example. So I am dying to get my hands on the upgraded model to see if it is that much faster.
I plan on doing benchmark testing on my YouTube channel, so please subscribe if you are interested in learning more.
If you want to know the main differences between the 3rd Gen and 2nd Gen Cubes, here they are:
The 3rd Gen Cube has an updated octa-core processor, and it supports the latest video and audio standards, including VSR upscaling to convert old low-def content to 4K. Wi-Fi support has been updated to 6E-triband, and there is a new HDMI input port on the back of the device to plug in your cable box or gaming console.
I love that the new HDMI port will free up a port on the back of my TV. The 3rd Gen Cube also includes an updated Alexa Voice Remote with customizable buttons to launch your favorite streaming apps. Neat.
Next, let’s take a closer look at the key features of each Cube side by side.
📚 Related: 21 Awesome Amazon Echo Devices
Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen: Comparison Table
The following table compares the Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen side by side:Table could not be displayed.
The hardware upgrades and reported 20% performance increase make the 3rd Gen Cube a worthwhile upgrade and worth the extra cost, in my opinion.
If this is your first Fire TV Cube, I would say to go with the 3rd Gen over the previous generation Cube for this reason and also because it just looks better. As one YouTuber put it, you also won’t poke your eye out on the sharp corners of the 2nd Gen Cube.
I’ll call it what it is. Some of my other Alexa devices and universal remotes cost much more than this. You get an Alexa device and a decent remote in the same package. Both generations of the Fire TV Cube offer tremendous value, IMHO.
The upgraded design of the 3rd Gen Cube includes Amazon’s fabric wrapper similar to the latest generation Amazon Echo devices. The new look also has a bit more of a premium feel, I think.
The biggest benefit of the upgraded fabric design, aside from aesthetics, is it won’t show up fingerprints like the 2nd Gen Cube.
Another nice touch is that Amazon added rounded corners. Previous generations of the Cube sported sharp corners, which have been the butt of a few eye-popping jokes from my fellow tech reviewers.
Couple this with the additional ports for HDMI input (to potentially control live cable or a satellite box/satellite channels) and an IR blaster jack, and we have a more well-designed Cube.
Oh, and the 3rd Gen model ships with the nicer 4th-Gen remote with programmable buttons over the previous 3rd-Gen Alexa voice remote control. Here’s what the new remote looks like that ships with the Cube:I was bummed that the new Cube doesn’t include the new Alexa Voice Remote Pro. which I have also pre-ordered separately. I’ll include a link below if you want to check it out.
The two main differences between the above remote and the one that ships with the Cube are that you get the find lost remote feature and buttons that can start smart home routines.
I also think Amazon should have included an HDMI cable, which you will need to purchase separately if you don’t have one.
Hardware Specifications & Performance
Once again, the 3rd Gen Fire TV Cube seems to be the clear winner here. While I won’t be able to test this until I get my Cube in late October, Amazon claims the 3rd Gen Cube is 20% faster than the 2nd generation.
Amazon says that the performance of Alexa commands is 2x faster than its top-performing Fire Stick 4K Max. Here’s a diagram that Amazon put together showing the dimensions and ports on the back of the device.I am looking forward to doing some benchmark testing when I receive my new Cube in late October.
The one thing I feel is missing from Amazon’s updates is an upgrade to the Cube’s built-in speaker as it tends to sound a bit tinny, but perhaps the new smart speaker will have better sound housed in the updated design.
📚 Related: Fire TV Cube Black Screen Fix
Refer to the table above for the specific content formats supported by both devices.
Amazon has included support for the latest video and audio formats in the latest generation Cube. All formats supported by the Fire TV Cube 1st Gen and 2nd Gen Cube are supported in the 3rd Gen model.
This includes Ultra HD and Dolby Vision, as well as Dolby Atmos.
In addition, the new super-resolution upscaling feature will allow the streaming of older lower-definition content at higher resolutions.
Man, I am looking forward to binge-watching The Office and Seinfield with the new Cube to see if there is a noticeable difference.
Software & Connectivity
Gen 3 and Gen 2 of the Fire TV Cube both leverage the Android operating system.
Common Alexa voice commands are processed both locally on the Cube itself with some voice control commands also in the Cloud.
I was encouraged to see Amazon upgraded to the latest Bluetooth and Wi-Fi standards which have already made my tech reviewer colleagues a bit giddy. Again, see the table above if you want the specific deets.
Both Fire TV Cube generations will let you stream the most popular streaming services to watch your favorite movies, tv shows, and other content using Fire OS. These include:
Dimensions and Weight
The following table illustrates the dimensions and weight of both Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen.Table could not be displayed.
Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen Video Reviews
Here’s a first look at the Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen out on YouTube from our friends over at Next Level Tech.
Video Credit: NxTLvLTech
Here’s an unboxing video that I did of my 2nd Gen Cube on my YouTube channel. I will do an unboxing on the 3rd Gen Cube as soon as it arrives. Please subscribe!
Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen: A Better Mousetrap?
My take: Amazon upped the ante when they announced the 3rd Generation Fire TV cube that contains some heavy-hitting hardware upgrades, support for the latest streaming technologies, a better remote, and more.
So what do you think about my review of Amazon Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen?
Do you like the idea of being able to control your TV with Alexa?
I own many Echos and Alexa devices, but this is one of my favorite new Amazon devices.
Anyhow, I sincerely hope you found this article helpful. Please leave a comment below and let me know.
If you liked this post comparing Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen vs 2nd Gen, you might also like some of these articles:
- 5 Best Remotes that Work with Alexa
- Amazon Nebula vs Sonos Beam: Alexa Soundbar Comparison
- How To Connect Alexa to Your Samsung Smart TV
- Logitech Harmony Elite vs Ultimate Home
- 5 Best Soundbars that Work With Alexa
- Best Universal Remote Apps for iPhone
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Tim Brennan, a tech blogger and host of the @TecTimmy YouTube channel, writes about smart homes at oneSmartcrib, home theaters at UniversalRemoteReviews, and AI in writing at Writeinteractive. He holds a Journalism degree from Northeastern University and has covered technology for three decades. He lives on the ocean in Nahant, Massachusetts.
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for a fun take on all things tech.