Now that the new Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote has shipped to customers, we can finally know if it’s the same as the original Fire TV Stick, bundled with a non-voice remote, which was released a year ago. I’ll tell you right now, the two Fire TV Sticks are essentially the same device, as was assumed, but they do differ in a few small ways. Here’s a detailed comparison of the differences between the two Fire TV Sticks.
From the outside the Fire TV Stick included with the voice remote bundle is almost identical to the one with the non-voice remote bundle. They both carry the same Amazon logo on the front, as well as the same model number, W87CUN, and same FCC ID number, 2ABDU-0509, on the back. Apart from an extra symbol and two small rows of numbers on the right side of the voice Fire TV Stick (bottom), the casing is identical.
The only other exterior difference, and probably the easiest way to tell the two apart, is the inclusion of an “HDMI” logo on the side of the voice Fire TV Stick (left).
Even though the two Fire TV Sticks share the same FCC ID number, which is a pretty good indication they’re the same product on the inside, I took them apart to compare. They both have nearly the exact same components and circuit layout. The voice Fire TV Stick (bottom) does appear to have a few more electronic components near the HDMI plug on the far left.
The biggest change on the inside is the switch from an 8GB eMMC memory chip made by Toshiba on the non-voice Fire TV Stick (top) to an 8GB eMMC memory chip made by SanDisk on the new voice Fire TV Stick (bottom). I’ll be conducting benchmarks soon to see if there is a performance difference between the two.
Of course, the biggest difference between the two bundles is the inclusion of a new wifi based voice remote with the new bundle, versus the bluetooth based non-voice remote with the old bundle. The two remotes are functionally identical, apart from the voice capabilities. The voice remote included with the Fire TV Stick is not the same as the voice remote included with the 2nd-gen Fire TV. I’ll be comparing the two new voice remotes in detail in a separate post.
The power adapter included with each bundle is quite different. Both are rated at the same 5 Watts, 5 Volts, and 1.0 Amp, however they are physically different. The new power adapter included with the voice Fire TV Stick bundle (left) is slightly larger than the non-voice power adapter (right) and no longer has retractable prongs. While the older power adapter is much better for travel, due to its slightly smaller size and retractable prongs, the new one fits in a power strip much better without blocking adjacent outlets due to the USB port being moved to the top instead of the side. Both bundles come with an identical micro USB cable to use with the power adapter.
The last difference between the two Fire TV Stick bundles is with the HDMI extender. The voice Fire TV Stick includes a female-to-female HDMI adapter (top) while the non-voice Fire TV Stick bundle includes a true HDMI extender (bottom). The idea with the new adapter is that, if the Fire TV Stick does not clear your HDMI port position, you would use the adapter to connect the Fire TV Stick to a standard HDMI cable. While that does give you more flexibility with the placement of the Fire TV Stick over the older 4 inch long extender, it does require you to purchase an HDMI cable, which is not included.
Overall, the new Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote bundle is not much different than the previous non-voice bundle. This new bundle ships with Fire OS 5 pre-installed which includes Alexa voice capabilities and support for the new Game Controller right out of the box. While we’re expecting Fire OS 5 with Alexa to arrive on the older devices soon, it is currently not yet available. In my opinion, having full access to Alexa and voice search on the included voice remote is well worth the extra $10 Amazon is asking for the new voice bundle over the non-voice bundle.