Amazon has done a few updates and so has Roku who has been quickly pushing out new and improved models. Almost everything has been improved and the value you get is outstanding for just $40. But who makes the better streaming stick? Let’s find out!
I’ve been using the Fire TV Sticks for years now and I have really liked them, Alexa works great (most of the time) and the overall experience is great. My only issue has been after three years the sticks often crash, Alexa no longer works or doesn’t load, and I often get strange colored screens, like a solid green or blue screen when playing a show. I called Amazon and they said to just buy the new model. So, I did and now everything works again as it should, just seems strange to have all three of my Fire TV Sticks start to die at the same time. The new Fire TV Stick has an improved remote that now controls the TV (finally!) and it’s been a great upgrade to live with and my clients love it whenever I install one.
I’ve also owned and installed Roku sticks for years and have loved them. I have not had the same issues as with the Fire TV Sticks, but once, Netflix wouldn’t load for over three months, then it suddenly started working again. But that’s been about it. I love the Roku remote, it’s more substantial than the Fire TV Stick’s and the Roku has the well-loved free streaming app Roku Channel. It’s my favorite free streaming app and a big reason why I keep buying Roku Sticks. I have found Roku to be more reliable and stable than the Fire TV Stick over the long term.
Winner – Fire TV Stick
Amazon preloads most of your info onto Amazon Fire devices when you buy them to make setup a breeze. When I bought a new Roku and Fire TV Stick for this review, I was able to get the Fire TV Stick working more quickly and with less hassle. The Fire TV Stick wins this category by a mile.
Winner – Roku
Roku has such a simple, uncluttered interface and it’s not always trying to get you to buy a movie every second, it’s just very easy to use. Add to that the apps are always in the same place; the Fire TV Stick likes to rearrange things every so often and it’s annoying having to search. Hulu always seems to be hiding on the Fire Stick.
Winner – Fire TV Stick
Roku’s voice control is excellent for finding movies and TV shows, but the Fire TV Stick has it beat. I like the placement of the voice button on the Fire TV Stick remote better and Alexa can answer more complicated questions. Roku is now offering Alexa support, but the Fire TV Stick had it first, so the win goes to the Fire TV Stick.
Winner – Roku
The Roku remote is better in just about every way and feels so much better in my hand. Having the volume control on the right side so that my thumb can control it is genius. (Sorry lefties. Ed.) The awkward placement of the volume and power buttons on the new Fire TV Stick remote are a bit strange and the remote is so thin that I can’t get a good grip on it. The Roku remote is chunky and just feels great to use.
It’s difficult to pick a winner, I can’t even decide which one I like more and as such, I have both in my house. It’s become a chocolate or vanilla pick for me, with some people just liking one better and that’s fine. I do notice the Fire TV Sticks go on sale often, I just picked one up for $25 recently. I don’t see Roku discounted as often though. If I really had to pick it would be the Roku because of the remote ergonomics, simple interface and better stability. What’s your favorite streaming device? Let me know in the comments below, thanks for reading!