Amazon Fire TV (2015) Second Generation Review

Fire TV Design

The second-generation Fire TV uses the same box-like design as the first-generation product. At initial glance, it would be very easy to mistake the first generation Fire TV for the second generation device. In fact, the two are the same size measuring 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches, weigh nearly the same, and have the same straight lines and edges with a simple Amazon logo on the top. The easiest way to tell the difference between the first generation and second generation Fire TV is to turn them around and look at the rear ports.

FireTV old new

first-generation Fire TV (left), second-generation Fire TV (right)

Looking from top to bottom in the above photo, the second-generation Fire TV has a Power outlet, HDMI connection, network port, microSD card slot, and a USB connection. Looking at the first-generation and second-generation Fire TVs side by side, you’ll notice Amazon replaced the Optical Audio port on the first-generation Fire TV with a microSD card slot on the second-generation device. While some will definitely appreciate the microSD slot for storage expansion, keep in mind you can also use the USB port for storage.

FireTV remote 1

The Voice Remotes that come with the first- and second-generation Fire TVs are slightly different. In terms of size, the second-generation Fire TV Voice Remote is nearly a half inch longer and measures approximately 1.5 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches. Upon closer examination, you’ll also notice the second-generation remote has a smooth plastic finish, glossy ring, and rubberized keys. Although both remotes function similarly and have similar keys and layout, we prefer the soft feel of the first-generation remote as opposed to the smoother plastic feel of the second-generation remote. That said, without having the two remotes side-by-side, we wouldn't have known what we were missing.

A microphone is located on the front of the remote near the top. Below the microphone, you’ll notice the voice search button which provides access to search and the Alexa features. The navigation ring is slightly raised and has a glossy finish with a matte center select button. Below the navigation ring, you’ll find six rubberized soft buttons: Back, Home, and Menu as well as rewind, play/pause, and fast forward. The back of the remote has the same small indent as before that fits one’s index finger perfectly. To open the remote and install the included AAA batteries, simply slide the back cover upwards. The remote connects to the Fire TV via Bluetooth, enabling you to hide the Fire TV anywhere without worrying about line-of-sight. 

FireTV ports

Internally, the second-generation Fire TV received a significant upgrade in the form of a quad-core, 64-bit MediaTek SoC and Power VR GX6250 GPU. Amazon claims this processor has 75 percent more processing power than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 SoC / quad-core Krait 300 combination found in the first-generation Fire TV. These hardware upgrades are what enable the second-generation Fire TV to support 4K Ultra HD video.

In addition to the Fire TV, you’ll find a Fire TV remote, two included AAA batteries, a power adapter, and a quick start guide in the box. You’ll need to provide an HDMI cable in order to use the Fire TV, though.

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