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.