firetv cube 1st gen vs 2nd gen

Fire TV Cube 2019 vs 2021 [2nd Gen vs 3rd]: What’s Changed?

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All-New Fire TV Cube 2019 vs 2021: In this post, I’ll outline the five key performance improvements that Amazon’s development team made to the All-New Fire TV Cube 2nd Generation that was announced last week.

Here’s a summary of what’s changed: Local Alexa TV commands are now processed right on the device rather than in the Cloud, and the latest HDR standards are supported, including. HDR Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG.  Significant hardware upgrades include a faster Amlogic S922z Quad-Core processor (at up to 2.2GHz) and an improved GPU (ARM Mali G52-MP6, 800MHz).

FireTV Cube 2019 vs 2021: Think Inside the Box

I love my Fire TV Cube 1ST Generation. I have been using it since Christmas, and it really jazzes me to have Alexa control my TV.

When I first heard about Amazon’s plans to update the Fire TV Cube, I initially thought, meh no big deal.

fire tv cube1st gen vs 2nd genI mean the Cube looks like same, and it has the same set of ports, and it still supports the same set of Alexa commands.

But then I dug a little deeper. After getting under the hood and doing some thorough research, what Amazon has done to soup up the new Cube is sheer brilliance.

Amazon has already steeply discounted the 1st Gen Cube [check price at Amazon here]  But, I am convinced that the upgrade is totally worth it and I have already pre-ordered mine.

You can pick up the new Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen at Amazon here.

Fire TV Cube 2019 vs 2021: Detailed Comparison Table

The easiest way to see what changed is in a comparison chart, so I’ll start with a quick comparison table. Here’s a chart that outlines the key similarities and differences between Fire TV Cube 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen.

 FireTV Cube 1st GenFire TV Cube 2nd Gen
ProcessorAmlogic s905zAmlogic S922z
CPUQuad-core 1.5GHzHexa-core (Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz
GPUMali-T820-MP2ARM Mali G52-MP6, 800MHz
Video Resolution720p/1080p/2160p720p/1080p/2160p
Frames Per Second (FPS)60 FPS60 FPS
Storage16 GB Internal16 GB Internal
Memory [RAM]2 GB2 GB
PortsHDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared supportHDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support
Amazon Alexa< Voice ControlCloudOn-board for most TV Commands
Optional Voice RemoteYesYes
Audio Support Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound
Microphones (for Listening)88
Wi-Fi Connectivity802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; 2x2 MIMO
(2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz dual band)
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; 2x2 MIMO
(2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz dual band)
EthernetPort IncludedPort included
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2 + LEBluetooth 4.2 + LE
Operating SystemFire OS 6 (Android 7.1)Fire OS 6 (Android 7.1)
High Dynamic RangeHDR10Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Dolby AtmosDolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround SoundDolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound
Dimensions 3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”. 3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0”.
Weight16.4 oz.16.4 oz.
Warranty1-year Limited (Amazon)1 year Limited (Amazon)

If It Ain’t Broke

I love that Amazon left what works alone, and instead worked on improving the user experience with some serious performance upgrades. I think the biggest of these is putting Alexa onboard the Cube itself for basic TV commands.  I will get more into what that means in a bit, but I am excited about the performance gains of the new Cube.

So if you were initially thinking meh like me, you may be surprised to learn about the goodies Amazon included in the New Cube.

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Fire TV Cube 2019 vs 2021: Five Key Differences

Fire TV Cube 2 vs 1

FireTV Cube Deal Bundle with Cloud Cam (Click for Price at Amazon)

Improvement #1: Alexa On Board

When you talk to Alexa on your Echo devices, she reaches out to the Cloud (i.e., Amazon’s servers throughout the world) to give her answers back to you.  This is also true of the 1st Generation Cube. For example, when you say, “Alexa, Turn on the TV,” although minimal, there is a slight lag for the Cloud-based server to process that command.

With the 2nd-Generation Cube, Amazon put Alexa “in the box” for common commands.  This saves the trip out the Cloud, which virtually eliminates the lag for common commands like “Alexa, Go Home,” “Alexa, Scroll Right,” “Alexa, Pause TV,” and many others. While I was ok with waiting that extra second or two for my Gen 1 Cube to respond, I am super excited about the improved performance gains in this area.

Improvement #2: Faster CPU

The biggest change in hardware is to the CPU. The 2nd Generation makes the jump to a screaming fast Hexa-core processor. The new processor is Quad-core at up to 2.2GHz + Dual-core at up to 1.9GHz.

This is double the speed of the 1st Gen’s quad-core at 1.5GHZ. Wow.

Improve #3: Better Processor

Another nice benefit of the Fire TV Cube 1st Gen vs Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen, is a major processor upgrade. While the 1s Gen Cube leveraged Amalogic s905z the new Cube kicks it up a few notches with the  Amlogic S922z.  This will result in faster processing of commands and ultimately a better overall streaming experience.

Improvement #4: GPU Upgrade

GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. This also receives a nice upgrade in Fire TV Cube 1st Generation vs 2nd Gen.

The 2nd Gen cube jumps from Mali450 MP3 to ARM Mali G52-MP6, 800MHz.

Improvement #5: Lofty High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Fire TV Cube 2 also adds High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for the latest standards.  In addition to supporting HDR 10, Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen adds support for HDR Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG.

The result? Streaming media content that leverages these technologies will play more seamlessly and look better.

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Video Review – Early Look

Here’s an initial look at the Fire TV cube from my boy Craig over at Craig’s Tech Talk.

Cube 2019 vs 2021: 5 Similarities

Since I covered what’s changed, I figured I would also list out what hasn’t. I think Amazon played it smart here by not over-engineering the new device and keeping what worked with the Gen 1 cube.

Here is a summary of some common features of both the 1st-Gen and 2nd-Gen Cube.

Similarity #1: Sports the Same Look

The design and dimensions of the Cube haven’t changed, with the size and weight of both devices being identical.  Both cubes are 3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0” and they both weigh 16.4 oz.

Similarity #2: Still Rocks Alexa Remote

Both devices include the Alexa voice remote in the box; the remote works using a Bluetooth signal from the remote to the device. I very rarely use the remote, as I find the voice commands work just fine on their own.  A neat bonus is that you can use the remote with your other Alexa devices. I occasionally use mine with my Echo device to “Simon Says” prank my kids from the next room. LOL.

If you aren’t familiar with Simon Says, just say “Alexa, Simon says: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,” and she will repeat it back to you.

And if you are interested in learning more about the Alexa remote, My Mate VINCE has a nice demo video. Nice job with the video, mate!

Similarity #3: Screen Resolution and Dolby Atmos

Video resolution for both Cubes maxes out at 720p/1080p/2160p for up to 60 frames per second (FPS), and they both support HDR 10.

The audio experience is pretty much the same which is controlled by Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo, and HDMI aM.

Similarity #4:  Same Mics and Speaker

Both FireTV Cube Gen 2 and Gen 1 have eight microphones that support “far-field” technology [meaning that Alexa can hear you over your surround system, background noise and even your obnoxious friend at the football gathering]. They both contain a single standard speaker.

Similarity #5: Same Operating System, Ports, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

I guess this rolls a bunch of similarities into one, but hey I wanted to match the five differences above so here you go:

  • Android is the underlying operating system for both devices.
  • The port configuration is the same: HDMI 2.0a, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards remain the same. Bluetooth is 4.2 + LE and Wi-Fi is IEEE 802.11 b/g/n.

What’s in the Box?

The box contents for both products are identical. Here’s what you get:

Fire TV Cube 2 vs Fire TV Cube 1

My new Fire TV Cube

  • Fire TV Cube
  • Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen)
  • Power adapter
  • Quick Start and Marketing Guide
  • 2 AAA batteries
  • Infrared (IR) Extender cable
  • Amazon Ethernet Adapter (10/100)

Here’s a little unboxing video that I did over on my YouTube channel:

New Fire TV Cube 2019 vs 2021: What Do You Think?

So, what do you think about the new performance improvements of Fire TV Cube 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen?

Do you agree that this is a worthy upgrade?  Are you looking forward to the performance improvements like me?

I am especially jazzed about seeing what a difference having Alexa onboard the Cube makes in response time. I’m guessing it will be super fast.

Do you already own a first-gen Cube?  Considering buying either the 1st or 2nd Gen?  If so, and you could use one of the links in this post, I would greatly appreciate it (I will get a small commission as an Amazon affiliate).

Please leave a quick comment below and let me know your thoughts. I hope to hear from you.

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About the Author

Best Remotes for YouTube TVTim Brennan is the founder of Writeinteractive, Inc., a  technical writing consultancy.  He is also an owner of a smart home technology blog and a regular contributor here at Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and a loves a good taco.

He is also a huge fan of the Fire TV Cube and admits to having a crush on Amazon Alexa.

Tim holds a B.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University. For more than 25 years, he has worked as a technical writer for organizations in and around Boston. These include General Electric, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Liberty Mutual, and Biogen.

firetv cube 1st gen vs 2nd gen

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