Amazon’s second Fire TV is faster, more powerful and has a heap of new bits on board. Like what? Like 4K streaming, that’s what.
Externally, little has changed: it’s a little black box that’s minimalist enough to look cool, subdued enough to ignore. There are worse designs to plonk under the telly. Inside, there’s been a mammoth makeover: a juicier processor and more memory means a 75 per cent performance boost over the original – not bad, given that the first-gen Fire TV zipped about like a puppy on espresso.
The good news for those with twitchy thumbs? Amazon is using that extra oomph to offer ‘proper’ gaming, including a paired-down version of Lego Star Wars, playable via a sold-separately gamepad. Best of all, it’s still the only streaming box in the UK to offer both Amazon Instant Video and Netflix – though, sadly, the vastly-improved voice search function is limited to Amazon-only content.
Most films and TV shows are available in 720p and 1080p and, at Full HD, clarity isn’t far off Blu-ray – but the real party-starter is 4K. It’ll deliver 4K from both Amazon and Netflix, so if your TV’s lacking one of those, this will fill the gap. The level of detail is stunning: from clothing textures to facial features, it’s captivatingly clean and crisp.
The catch? You’ll need a 4K TV compatible with HDCP 2.2, a type of copyright protection not found on older models. Oh, and you’ll be stuffed without a suitably speedy internet connection.