Benchmarking the new Fire TV Stick Lite & Fire TV Stick 3 against every other Fire TV model

Now that the new 2020 Amazon Fire TV Stick 3 and Fire TV Stick Lite have been released, it’s time to see how they stack up against existing Fire TV models, past and present. While computational benchmark scores are by no means going to tell you how well a device will perform at real-world everyday tasks, they’re still helpful to understand how much raw power each Fire TV, Firestick, and Fire TV Cube have to offer, should you push them to their limits. I’ve run all 10 Fire TV models that have ever been released through 4 popular benchmarks that test their CPU, GPU, Memory, and more. Here are the results.

Each Fire TV was factory rest and fully updated to the latest software version available as of today. All devices were left idle for several hours prior to the test and rebooted for each new benchmark. I ran each benchmark 3 times on each device (yup, that’s 120 tests total) and have taken the average of the 2 highest scores. These are all newly run scores from the last 24 hours on the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick Lite, the 1st & 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube, the Fire TV Stick 4K, the 1st & 2nd Fire TV boxes, and the 3rd-gen Fire TV pendant.

One of the most popular benchmarks is Geekbench, which runs a few dozen tests and provides results for both a single-core and all available CPU cores. It primarily taxes the device’s CPU, so it’s interesting that the Fire TV Stick Lite consistently scored ever so slightly better than the Fire TV Stick 3, even though they have the exact same CPU. This is likely due to the fact that the Fire TV Stick 3 has onboard Dolby decoding and TV/AV equipment control, which the Fire TV Stick Lite does not. One or both of those features probably take up a tiny bit of resources all the time, which is reflected in this benchmark score.

A much more prominent example of this kind of CPU overhead taken by a feature is with the 1st-gen Fire TV Cube and the 3rd-gen Fire TV, which, again, share the exact same CPU. Their single-core scores differ slightly, but there is a significant difference in their multi-core score because the 1st-gen Cube’s always-listing mics consume about half of a core at all times to detect the Alexa wake word. The 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube has a similar overhead requirement, but its powerful 6-cores have plenty of processing power to spare.

The AnTuTu benchmark is a cumulative score of its CPU, Memory, and UX tests. Like Geekbench, it heavily emphasizes the CPU (about 50% of the score), but unlike Geekbench, AnTuTu devotes a third of its score to the device’s memory performance. It’s interesting that The Fire TV Stick 3 outperforms the Fire TV Stick Lite by about 3% in this test. Looking at the score breakdown shows that the majority of that advantage was in the memory tests.

To confirm the results, I ran the PassMark memory and disk tests on the two new Firesticks and that test also showed an advantage for the Fire TV Stick 3 over the Fire TV Stick Lite, particularly with data write speeds. My guess is that either I got bad luck with the quality of memory/storage chips in my Fire TV Stick Lite or the two new models use slightly different components to help make up for the $10 price difference between them. The 1st-gen Fire TV could not complete this benchmark.

These next two benchmarks, 3DMark and GFXBench, both test the devices GPU. The GPU is primarily used for games, so these scores represent each device’s gaming capabilities, but the GPU does play a part in rendering parts of the interface and how smoothly it feels when quickly navigating around. The two new Fire TV Sticks are beaten only by the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube and 2nd-gen Fire TV box, which are both obvious powerhouses when it comes to gaming capabilities.

It’s worth noting that in all of these benchmarks, including these gaming benchmarks, the new 1080p Sticks slightly, but consistently, outperform the Fire TV Stick 4K. It’s probably not a big enough difference to be noticeable in regular use, but it’s there nonetheless. These 3 latest Firesticks all use the same GPU, use very similar CPUs, and have the same 1.7Ghz CPU speed/cores. My guess for the Fire TV Stick 4K’s slightly inferior performance is the extra resources needed to output a 4K interface instead of a 1080p interface. The new 1080p devices do run Fire OS 7, while the Fire TV Stick 4K runs Fire OS 6, so that may also have to do with the performance difference. The newer OS , which is based on Android 9 instead of Android 7.1, might be slightly better optimized.

The Fire TV Stick 4K is a great device and has been very well received by the Fire TV enthusiast community, so it’s good to see that the new entry-level Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick 3 perform just as well as the 4K Stick. It’s hard to believe that these relatively cheap and tiny new Fire TV Sticks now pack about the same power as the original 1st-gen Fire TV box that started it all.

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62 comments
  1. Jack says:

    I’m keeping my Fire TV 2… forever!

    • sanjonny says:

      Agreed. I have the 1st fire tv, the tv2, the cube 1,2 and various sticks. Firetv2 beats the cube 2 hands down all day long in real world use. Maybe it’s the software. But it’s just better. Both run 1080 and in the past both on the same tv as I put the cube2 on the main tv thinking it would be an upgrade and went back to the tv2. Amazon was on a good path, but just like the kindle hdx (still the best tablet I even owned) they don’t make the high end option anymore. Which sucks. Now it’s all low spec. I don’t mind paying more money for better speed and performance, but I guess that product manager left the building and the cheap slow device guy stayed.

      • Jack says:

        I believe the Fire TV 2 is the only device which uses the 64-bit version of the OS.

      • 666 says:

        “Firetv2 beats the cube 2 hands down all day long in real world use” Scroll up, it doesn’t. And yes, I’ve used and own a Fire TV 2, just like I own all other Fire TVs ever released, nothing comes close to the Cube 2.

      • AFTVUser says:

        Oh, pshaw (pardon my language)—I, too, have owned Fire TV 1s (they were okay out of the gate, but slowed significantly over time), Fire TV 2s (a decent effort in 2015, but now more than a little long in the tooth in 2020), and Fire TV Cube 2s (benchmarks and performance are still close to, or slightly exceeding, the far more expensive, so-called “champ” Nvidia Shield). In my own real-world use, and as indicated in virtually every benchmark and review, the Fire TV Cube 2 far exceeds the performance of all of previous Amazon Fire TV devices by a significant margin, and is “just better” by any measurable definition.

        The above notwithstanding, if you still have any second-gen Fire Tv Cubes with which you’re unhappy, I’d be more than happy to take them off your hands for the cost of shipping…

    • Teri says:

      Until it stops working

  2. kywildcat says:

    Fire TV 2, is indeed straight

    I’ll Probably snatch a Fire TV Cube 2 on prime day

  3. stadi says:

    Would be great if you could do the same tests on Google Sabrina once you can get your hands on one.

  4. clocks says:

    So for these tests, 4k devices were run in 4k, and 1080p devices in 1080p?

  5. Jack says:

    This is the kind of information we missed! Glad to have you back, Elias!

  6. Frank Hiett says:

    I have the 2nd generation fire tv box and the 1st generation box as well as 2 4k firesticks. Like all. The 4k firestick on my vizio 4k smart TV has excellent picture quality

  7. JJ says:

    I own 2 x Fire Tv Stick 4K, I really like those, feels powerful, I can access websites through Silk Browser and play videos from them without a hitch, the Wifi speeds are great, supports bluetooth so I can connect it to my speakers, software UI updates are coming soon, can’t wait. Good device.

  8. Frank Hiett says:

    Is that the 2nd generation box

  9. Ben says:

    What is the outlook for a new Firestick 4K? I’m happy with the current one but they haven’t been upgraded for years. I’m also hoping they give them significantly more memory than 8GB!

  10. AFTVUser says:

    Thanks for taking the time to do this, Elias. Hopefully, this will finally put some sort of lid on the erroneous/idiotic claims that the Fire TV 2 somehow benchmarks and/or performs better than the Fire TV Cube 2. Oh, wait, never mind…still can’t fix stupid.

    • Haha, I blame the Fire TV 2’s built-in Ethernet port. It has somehow put a spell on people to stay loyal to the end of time. :-P They’re both great devices. While the Fire TV Cube 2 is superior in numerous ways, it’s not so much better that I’d say Fire TV 2 owners HAVE to update just yet.

  11. THis has all been interesting. I believe I have most every model but the Cube 2. Have a one, never used it…In short, I had all models, but preferred the Roku due to interface and depth of “channels.” Having said that, I nearly always purchased the newest Fire TV models. I am NOT here to sway users, but I WOULD like, it to include the most recent Rokus to your comparison. Not sure I am ready to purchase the newest Fire MOdels, PS…Adding the AMAZON TVs with FIRE built in is also a curiousity…They were so inexpensive for 24″ models, I purchased one of those as well. THANKS FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE…..and looking forward to as others have requested, particularly the newest Chromecast Google TV. Looks intriguing.

  12. Jack says:

    After reading through the comments, I’d now like see a real world comparison between the Fire TV 2 and the Cube 2. Maybe a YouTube video?

  13. KraziJoe says:

    Looks like I am going to upgrade my Cube 1 to a Cube 2…I really wish the FireTV2 could use the new remote, I would pull that out of storage and use it.
    Crying shame that they didn’t refresh the Cube2. Amazon Day trade in, here I come…

  14. Keith says:

    Interesting that the two new sticks perform as well as the 4K stick. Amazon better bring out a new 4K stick soon!

  15. sean says:

    AnTuTu is a horrible benchmarking system for multimedia.
    that thing doesn’t even know what 4K is.
    AMAZON FIRSTICK LITE DOES NOT SUPPORT 4K OR UHD AND NO DOLBY!!!!!!!!

    • I’m very open to better benchmark app suggestions. They’re honestly all pretty poor at testing streaming devices since they’re tailored for mobile phones, but it’s, unfortunately, all that is available.

  16. Eric says:

    Just curious how the performance of the TVs that have FireTV built in as their OS. Are they in general much slower? I was thinking of upgrading TVs and currently have a FireTV 2nd gen box on the TV looking to replace. Thx.

  17. Bob says:

    I have the Pendant and it still works fine. Except that it fills it’s storage and I have to manually clear out all the apps’ caches. This happens on our 4K Stick too. So it’s an operating system problem. i’d like to know how to stop the Screensaver app from taking up 800 meg+ of storage too.

    So when does everyone think a new 4K stick will be released? I’m keeping my Pendant for now. Thanks, Bob

  18. Charlie says:

    I hadn’t owned a Cube since last winter, but decided to buy one a few days ago and even bought a used one from Amazon warehouse for 76.00, with no warranty to save money. Support pointed out it be will eligible for return until the end of January, so that’s my warranty. It came in slightly damaged packaging, with all new accessories, and a few scuffs around the inputs on the back from someone who has poor aim when insetting connectors. It works perfectly and I wanted to post this to make the point that the upgrade from my Stick 4K’s can’t be over-estimated. The sticks are quick, but this thing is quicker and the picture is noticeably better. Of course there is the built-in Echo. Just using it with my HDHomerun DVR app, for example, is so much smoother and faster that, that alone justifies the purchase. Can’t remember why I got rid of original 2019 Cube. Highly recommend the 2019 Cube.

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