After benchmarking every Fire TV model ever released last week and posting the results, several of you asked for a similar post comparing Android TV devices. Now that the new 2020 Chromecast with Google TV has arrived, here’s a benchmark comparison of the Chromecast, two generations of Nvidia Shield TVs, the Tivo Stream 4K, and the Mi Box (for good measure) compared to every Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Cube model.
As I do with all of my benchmark articles, I must remind you that benchmark results are absolutely not a good representation of how these devices will perform in real-world everyday use. A streaming device that scores twice as much on a benchmark as another device will not give you an experience that is twice as good as the weaker device. That said, it’s still good to know how these devices compare when they are pushed to their absolute limits, which is what benchmarks show us, even if those limits are rarely ever reached in actual use.
Just as with when I benchmarked Fire TVs last week, all of these scores are newly tested runs on the device’s latest software version. Each benchmark was run 3 times per device and the top 2 runs were averaged to give the final value that you see listed below. I’ve omitted the AnTuTu and 3DMark benchmarks, which I included for my Fire TV comparison, because those same tests would not run successfully across all the Android TV devices in this comparison.
Geekbench is a great all-around benchmark for the processing (CPU) capabilities of these devices. While still not a good representation of video streaming performance, it’s probably the closest benchmark available to show how these devices will perform while launching apps and navigating around their interfaces. Still king in raw power is the 2017 Nvidia Shield TV 2, followed closely by the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube and the cylindrical 2019 Shield TV 3. I’m sorry that I don’t have a 2019 Shield TV Pro to include in the comparison, but I’m confident that it would score just slightly above everything else. I suspect that the older 2017 Shield TV 2 scored higher than the new one because, like the 2019 Shield TV Pro, it runs a 64-bit operating system and has 3GB of RAM, while the 2019 Shield TV 3 has a 32-bit OS and 2GB of RAM.
Coming in at the top of the budget-friendly devices is the 2020 Chromecast, which does run Android TV despite the Google TV rebranding and new interface. This is surely thanks to its 1.9GHz CPU versus the 1.7 GHz CPU shared by the Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Stick 3, and Fire TV Stick Lite. With about 14% more raw power than its dongle/stick competition, it’s not going to blow away Amazon’s Firesticks or the Tivo Stream 4K in every-day tasks, but it still takes the crown for sub-$50 devices.
It’s worth noting that the Tivo Stream 4K, with its 1.8 GHz CPU, should be outperforming the Fire TV Sticks as well, as is evident by its higher single-core score, but something is holding back Tivo’s multi-score core. My guess is that its buggy software, which has always been my biggest complaint about the device, is adding unnecessary overhead that robs away performance. The Tivo Stream 4K should come in right under the Chromecast, especially because both devices have 2GB of RAM, but it seems to be falling short of its CPU’s peak potential in this benchmark.
As for gaming (GPU) performance, which is what the next benchmark, GFXBench, measures, it’s not even close when the Shield TV is included. Nvidia’s bread and butter is graphics and it shows through with nearly 4 times the gaming performance as the next closest device, the Fire TV Cube 2. It’s just a shame that, unless you’re heavily using the Shield TV for gaming, most of that raw power goes to waste when it comes to everyday tasks. Despite having 1GB less RAM and a 32-bit OS, the Shield TV 3 outperforms the Shield TV 2 in this benchmark because the GPU in its slightly improved Tegra X1+ processor is clocked at 1.267 GHz, while the older model uses the Tegra X1 that has a GPU clocked at 1 GHz. Once again, I’m confident that the 2019 Shield TV Pro would perform slightly above the 2019 Shield TV.
As for the budget-friendly devices, none of them are really designed for gaming, but the 2020 Chromecast once again edges ahead of the Firesticks and the Tivo Stream 4K, so it should be able to squeeze out just a few more frames-per-second in games than the other sub-$50 devices on the list. While the Tivo Stream 4K uses the same Mali-G31 GPU as the Chromecast, there is once again something holding it back from where I’d expect it to be.
When it comes to raw CPU power, Android TV devices edge ahead of Fire TV devices in both flagship (>$100) and budget (<$50) categories. However, gaming aside, the difference isn't so great to choose one device over the other based on benchmark performance alone. When the performance of 2 devices are within 10-15% of each other at their absolute limits, as we're seeing with these benchmarks, the software optimization and the UX choices play a much more important roll in how they'll perform in daily streaming tasks than their hardware does.
ok, so Sabrina is not that much faster, I don’t need to throw out my Fire TV Stick 4k yet. I would still appreciate if Amazon would release an update to that.
I’d say not faster at all. Read the last sentence of the post.
Absolutely phenomenal breakdown, Elias. This is the type of content I return for! Thanks!
It’s Mi TV not Mii TV
Doh! Thanks. I fixed the article title and text, but I’ll leave the images as-is for now unless another mistake is found.
I know it’s not an Android box, but any guestimates on where Apple TV 4K would fit in with these lists?
I find it’s much snappier/quicker than my 2019 Shield Pro.
It’s hard to say. The Apple TV 4K uses an A10x CPU which is also used by older iPad Pros. Those older iPad Pros scored around 830 single-core and 2260 multi-core on the iOS Geekbench benchmark. That would put it just below the 2020 Chromecast, but that doesn’t seem right at all because I agree that the Apple TV certainly feels much snappier/quicker than that score would make it seem. Either the iOS and Android versions of Geekbench aren’t interchangeable or Apple’s OS is just much more optimized. If I were to rank the Apple TV just on perceived performance, I’d easily put it right along with the Fire TV Cube 2 and the Shield TVs at the top of these charts.
The 830 single core score for the A10x is using Geekbench 5, where scores are much lower than Geekbench 4.
A10x in Geekbench 4 would be right under 3900, so much faster than any Fire TV/Android TV device, but much more limited in terms of functionality, since it’s Apple.
Ah, good to know! That explains it. Thanks for the clarification.
No prob, glad I could help.
I guess I am in the minority, but my Apple TV is my main device, with my 4K Fire Stick as backup while my Nvidia Shield Pro gathers dust. The UI on the Apple TV is far superior and doesn’t get in the way and is much better supported app-wise than any other device that’s not a Roku. Just my 2c.
For the price and loss of options you would expect it too.
According to this website, the A10X scores “9,233 on Geekbench 4 general performance benchmark, while the A12 Bionic…landed a little north of that, with a score of 11,471.”
I assume those are the multi-core scores. I haven’t found any other documentation to support that at this time.
Actually I just found the results:
Very interesting. Agree with @stadi that FTV Stick 4K needs an update, with at least 2GB RAM and 16GB storage and a SoC like the Cube 2nd gen’s. Re: RAM and storage, it’s shocking Amazon is still relying on 1GB/8GB in 2020.
For serious home theater fans, nVidia Shield TV keeps going unchallenged… power, local media support, full HD audio passthrough, etc.
With my Fire TV 2 constantly filling up storage wise, I’ve been thinking of getting the new Tivo stick. This article confirms that’s the best idea if I go with a stick. So thanks for writing it!
Having just bought a Cube 2, after not having one since winter, I’m pleased to see how well it performed. I’m finding in my experienced it is a big upgrade to my Stick 4K’s. Very impressed with it. I also have the 2017 Shield and it certainly navigates no faster than the 2019 Cube. Good stuff. Lon Seidman seems very impressed with the Chromecast. Were I to ever be foolish enough to buy one I would want to add Ethernet, which I think you will need if you plan use it with Stadia when that is available, and I try to avoid wi-fi.
I used a Tivo Stream 4K and quite frankly found the experience of Android TV very user unfriendly. It forces you to create a Tivo account and then a Google Account. I find that time consuming and just disgusting from a user experience point of view. I still think the user experience on FireOS is miles ahead of Android TV.
Thats a Tivo issue. Android tv does not require two accounts only a google account. Tivo just wanted your info for buying their brand. All other Android TV devices will not require multiple accounts only google account.
The shield is overpriced and overkill for streaming only.Odroid n2,firecube 2 or Raspberry Pi 4 offer good specification for half the price.
For streaming video off the internet, yeah a little bit.
But for streaming video games off a home PC, nothing has compared in my experience. It seems to have zero flaws where in my experience the Steam Link had a number of hiccups and intermittent issues while the Pi 4 had consistent issues on the Steam Link software(hopefully they fix this some time though). Not to mention nothing else can stream at as high of a resolution.
Is the comparison chart we all needed.
Thank you Elias!
I use 2 Fire TV devices AND 2 Android TV devices in my home to complement all the apps and features that each device type falls short on.
Elias, the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick incorporated HARDWARE DEINTERLACING an works great when used with either the HDHomeRun Application or with the Kodi HDHomeRun Applications when using their HDHomeRun Connect or Extend Model ATSC Dual Tuner Off Air Antenna Devices
Do the new Fire TV 3 Stick or Fire TV 3 Lite devices incorporate this technology?
In addition to the Amazon 4K Fire TV Stick, what other Fire TV Devices provide HARDWARE DEINTERLACING?
Thanks in advance for your answers.
Is the casting feature to a chromecast any different from the screen cast feature of the ftvs?
I get the feeling yes, but I don’t know in what way it would be different if yes?
Ok I found it out using the feature of my Android TV (normally I use the TV only as a dumb display), and omg that’s much better than expected.
I can get apps natively streamed, stuff that has no fire tv or Android tv app, it is just awesome.
For example we have this stupid sky ticket app in Germany that I did through pc and browser before (pc is connected to avr) but at can be done so much better via this casting.
Plugged into my avr with musiccast multi room, I do not even need airplay anymore (the only reason why I bought an ipad) … Music apps that were not supported natively, there was then only just bluetooth (sucks of course) or airplay but it also works with chromecast and I can use the remote or the harmony remote and can use my phone for something else.
Really nice, offers a lot of unexpected possibilities.
Any chance of a similar comparison of fire tablets and a few competitors (iPad, dragon touch) in the future?
Also, thank you so much for all the work you do. I have learned so much from you over the years.
Great comparison, but how do TVs that run Android compare to those?
For example the 2019 Sony A9G (or AG9) is supposed to have a good processor, but how does android and android apps run on it?
Do you have any idea, or could you point me to some resources?
Dear aftv, other commenters,
How do you think the:
2020 chromecast (sabrina?)
Nvidia Shield TV 2017
In streaming games trough services like:
Steam link, AMD link and GeForce NOW ?
Thank you so much in advance ♂️
-Michel from the Netherlands.
Like the post states; it all depends on the optimalised software how good/optimal the hardware actually performs for the task at hand.
The Shield TV will work best with GeForce Now, especially with the Shield gamepad.
2019 Shield TV Pro (not Tube) will even gain you AI Upscaling on GFN.
For Stadia, Chromecast Ultra is best. I personally think “Sabrina” is a bottom tier device along with TiVo Stream 4K.
For Luna, you want Fire TV xx
Yay! Splintered game streaming services!
You should mention before the comparison chart what the “Single” and “Multi” numbers mean. Dont think everyone reading this knows what they mean.