There's a new Amazon Fire TV Stick (2020) in town, and it's set to shake up Amazon's range of streaming sticks with a host of new improvements.
It's not the only new Fire TV model that was announced at September's Amazon event, either – as those after a more affordable streamer can opt for the cheaper Fire TV Stick Lite instead. If what you really want is 4K streaming, too, you'll be best off with the Fire TV Stick 4K – given the 2020 model featured here is technically a successor to the HD Fire TV Stick.
The Fire TV Stick (2020) is on the cusp of launching, too – which is why we've brought together everything you need to know about the incoming streamer. Read on for more information on its price, release date, specs and UI – as well as what's actually different compared to other Fire TV streamers out there.
What about Amazon Prime Day 2020?
Amazon Prime Day is coming up soon on October 13-14. The massive sales event will be a great place to find discounts on Fire TV devices, as well as lots of other tech. Amazon has a habit of discounting even brand new Amazon models, so it's worth keeping an eye out in the sales. Otherwise, Black Friday 2020 kicks off on November 27, giving you another chance to get a big discount.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A new HD streaming stick in the Amazon Fire TV range
- When can I get it? September 30
- How much does it cost? $39.99 / £39.99
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2020) price and availability
The Amazon Fire TV Stick (2020) will be available globally from September 30, though it's available for pre-order until that date. You can buy it for $39.99 or £39.99 in the US and UK respectively – the same price as the previous Fire TV Stick – while those of you in Australia have the option of the cheaper Fire TV Stick Lite instead.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2020) specs and features
So, what's new with the 2020 model of the Amazon Fire TV Stick? This version is still a Full HD streamer, and still comes with the same Alexa Voice Remote of its predecessor – a clicker with playback, power, volume and voice command inputs that also ships with the Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube, and can be used to control connected AV receivers and soundbars.
There are a few notable upgrades over the previous HD Fire TV Stick model, though, even though it launched pretty recently (in 2019).
For one, there's the introduction of HDR (high dynamic range), meaning you'll get increased color and contrast in your HD images, with more nuanced tones and a larger spectrum of light and dark shades. You can the basic HDR10 format here, as well as the dynamic HDR delights of HDR10+ (which uses metadata to calibrate picture settings shot-by-shot) though not its Dolby Vision competitor.
It's also worth noting that you won't get the full impact of HDR without 4K resolution either, given there are fewer pixels on show. A 4K TV will upscale the video output to make it output in 4K on the screen, though you'll be at the mercy of that particular set's processing ability.
While the 2019 model supported 30fps playback, the 2020 version pushes this up to 60fps – which is fitting, given that most new 4K TVs these days come with a 60fps panel (if not 120fps). This should make for smoother motion with less blur or judder during fast-moving scenes, though some of this will come down to your television's processing. It should be especially good for any gaming on the Fire TV Stick, as with the upcoming Amazon Luna game streaming service.
Amazon tells us that the new model is "50% more powerful" than the 2019 iteration, thanks to an "enhanced 1.7 GHz quad-core processor". We're told that the "dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi supports 5 GHz networks for more stable streaming and fewer dropped connections" – and does all this "while consuming 50% less power" too.
On the audio side, the Fire TV Stick (2020) supports Dolby Atmos surround sound. That means you can get more immersive audio, though you will need to be using speakers that support the format also.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2020) UI improvements
The Amazon Fire TV UI, particularly, is getting a big overhaul aimed to make it easier and more intuitive to use.
Now, there are profiles for every member of your family, which can be customized to each viewer. There's also a new navigation bar which includes the favored apps (channels, streaming services, Fire TV Stick VPNs, etc) of each profile, making getting around the UI much quicker.
You're also getting a picture-in-picture mode, meaning you can load up more than one app at one time on your Fire TV interface for dual watching. It may sound a bit busy, but it means that a video stream from your smart doorbell can come up in the corner without entirely taking over the screen or closing the other app you have in use. A similar technique is at work with Alexa voice commands, with answers being displayed in compact text boxes rather than using up the full width of the screen.
All of these changes sound good to us – and they're set to come to all existing Fire TV devices – though we're still waiting on Amazon to improve its flawed browser experience for Amazon Prime Video.