Fire TV Cube Generations: 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen [2022]

The Amazon Fire TV series has been one of the most recognizable and popular lineups of smart home devices bringing smart features to your home.

Since its launch, the Amazon Fire TV Cubes has spawned two different variants separated as generations and both have been popular devices amongst the Amazon Fire TV lineup.

But what are the main differences between the two Fire TV Cube generations?

I did my fair share of research on the internet and came up with this article on Fire TV Cube 1st gen vs 2nd gen that will help you decide which one would work best for you.

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Categories1st Gen Fire TV Cube2nd Gen Fire TV Cube
Design and HardwareIdentical designIdentical design
PerformanceSlowerMuch faster
Software Fire OS 6.2Fire OS 7.2
CompatibilityWorks with all Alexa devicesWorks with Alexa, along with added support for soundbars and cable boxes
PricingAmazonAmazon

Fire TV Cube Comparison: 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen

Design and Hardware

Design and Hardware

Design can be an important aspect that can make or break a proper setup for the TV.

If it doesn't compliment the already existing TV layout, chances are that people will move on to better options available in the market.

Thankfully, the Fire TV Cube series has been designed with this in mind, sporting an all-black look and a small form factor that blends well with most TV setups.

Since it is supposed to exist as a separate unit beside the TV, like a cable box or Playstation, it has the dimensions required to add extra performance to the Fire TV experience.

First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The retail box of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube comes in with the following products:

  • The First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube, ofcourse.
  • Alexa enabled remote.
  • Ethernet adapter.
  • IR blaster.

Unfortunately, there is no HDMI cable in the box, which is necessary in order to connect to the TV.

The First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube, just like the name intends is designed as an (almost) cube painted completely in black, adding an alien tech look to any setup.

It measures at 3.4"x3.4"x3" dimensions, with sharp boxy edges between all faces, with the surface sides having a glossy finish on top of the black paint job.

The front face of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube has a very minimalistic design with a very subtle amazon logo etched on the bottom.

The front face also has a translucent light bar on the top edge that emits blue light whenever Alexa is listening.

The back face of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube hosts four ports on the bottom half:

  • A micro USB port.
  • A 3.5mm jack for an infrared(IR) blaster .
  • A full sized HDMI port.
  • Port for a power adapter.

The ethernet adapter that comes in the box can be connected to the micro USB port so as to plug the internet directly into the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

The IR blaster that comes in the box can be used with the 3.5mm jack to engage with remotes that have an IR blaster, for a conventional TV remote signal recognition.

The top matte finish face has four buttons arranged in a plus fashion that hosts the following functions in the clockwise order from the top:

  • Volume Up.
  • A button for triggering Alexa, which is a rather unnecessary addition considering it has hands free Alexa.
  • Volume Down.
  • A button for putting the microphone on mute.

Other than the four functional buttons, there is an array of eight holes going perpendicular to the buttons that host the far-field microphones for accurate voice detection.

The bottom face also sports a matte finish and has a downwards firing speaker outlet.

The speaker is surrounded by four rubber feet that lift the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube up slightly and provide a solid grip on the table.

The Alexa remote is a standard 6 inch Alexa remote that has the following necessary buttons for operating the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube:

  • A dedicated voice button to call Alexa.
  • A circular ring D-Pad for navigation.
  • A back button.
  • A home button.
  • A Menu button.
  • Rewind button.
  • Play/Pause button.
  • Fast forward button.

Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

Amazon definitely went the 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' way in regards to their design and hardware approach with the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

The design and hardware of the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube are exactly the same when compared to the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Even the box contents are the same, even down to the exclusion of the necessary HDMI cable.

There was also scope for improvement if the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube came with the newer USB-C port instead of the traditional micro USB port.

That being said, this is not a deal-breaker, as the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube already had a pretty great design and most users did like the design aspect.

Verdict

Since the design and hardware are spot-on similar, this is a draw between the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube and the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Performance

Performance

Performance is the main selling point that the external box form factor can potentially provide, compared to in-house and HDMI stick solutions.

Since it has its own unit to operate, it can incorporate better cooling solutions and better performing chips inside that can elevate the Fire TV OS experience in general.

Feature1st Gen Fire TV Cube2nd Gen Fire TV Cube
Size3.4"x3.4"x3" 3.4"x3.4"x3"
Weight465g 465g

Storage
16GB 16GB
Cloud Storage supportYes Yes
RAM/Memory2GB 2GB DDR4
CPU/ProcessorAmlogic S905z Dual-core processor
@1.5GHz
Amlogic S922X Hexacore processor
@2.2GHz Quad-core & 1.9GHz Dual-core
GPUARM Mali T820-MP2ARM Mali G52-MP2 at 800Mhz
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2 and LEBluetooth 5.0 and LE
WiFi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
2x2 MIMO
2.4GHz and 5GHz Dual-band support
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
2x2 MIMO
2.4GHz and 5GHz Dual-band support
Ethernet10/100 Mbps10/100 Mbps
IR supportYesYes
Speakers40mm single speaker40mm single speaker
AudioDolby Atmos support
7.1 surround sound
5.1 surround sound via HDMI audio pass-through
Dolby Atmos support
7.1 surround sound
5.1 surround sound via HDMI audio pass-through
Miracast supportNoYes
Video resolutions support720p@60fps
1080p@60fps
2160p/ 4K@60fps
720p@60fps
1080p@60fps
2160p/ 4K@60fps
HDR supportHDR10HDR10
HDR10+
HLG
DoVi
Audio codec supportAAC-LC
AC3/ Dolby Digital
EC3_JOC/ Dolby Atmos
eAC3/ Dolby Digital Plus
AMR-N8
FLAC
MIDI
MP3
MPEG-4 HE AAC/ AAC+
MPEG-4 HE AACv2/ enhanced AAC+
Opus
PCM/Wave
Vorbis

AAC ELD
AAC-LC
AC3/ Dolby Digital
EC3_JOC/ Dolby Atmos
eAC3/ Dolby Digital Plus
AMR-N8
FLAC
MIDI
MP3
MPEG-4 HE AAC/ AAC+
MPEG-4 HE AACv2/ enhanced AAC+
Opus
PCM/Wave
Vorbis
Video codec supportH.264
H.265 / HEVC
MPEG-2
VP9

H.263
H.264
H.265 / HEVC
MPEG-2
MPEG-4
VP8
VP9
Image format supportBMP
GIF
JPEG
PNG
BMP
GIF
JPEG
PNG
DRM CertificationHDCP 2.2
PlayReady 3.0
Widevine L1/L3
HDCP 2.2
PlayReady 3.3
Widevine L1 v11
Warranty1 year limited warranty and service
2 year and 3-year optional warranty extensions available for US customers
1 year limited warranty and service
2 year and 3-year optional warranty extensions available for US customers
Launch Price$100$120

First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube has a lot of great inclusions in its spec sheet that made it an absolute killer purchase for the price bracket it was launched in.

The First Generation Fire TV Cube sports 16GB non-expandable storage, which is a bummer, especially considering the sheer amount of apps the Fire TV OS supports.

But thanks to Amazon's cloud solution, user data can technically be stored and accessed depending on the Amazon cloud storage drive subscription.

It also has 2GB of RAM, which is not plenty but enough to keep movie streams and background processes running without hogging the system too much.

What is a bummer though is the inclusion of a quad-core processor, which can barely keep the Fire TV Os running smooth.

Despite the First Generation Fire TV Cube having the potential for a performance boosted experience, it frankly does fall short of expectations.

The GPU is adequate enough, but when paired with the underperforming processor it is quite an underwhelming combination.

The overall user interface of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube feels slow and unresponsive at times.

But still, the system is powerful enough to run up to 4K content at 60 fps, that too with HDR10 support which is a good thing.

Unfortunately, Miracast is not supported so forget about casting a smartphone screen directly onto the TV from the First Generation Fire TV Cube.

But fortunately, it does support most major codecs and formats necessary for media viewing and playback.

The Widevine L1/L3 certification is also a boon, which helps in proper 4K HDR playback of content from streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video.

Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube turned things up a notch, especially when it comes to the raw power and specs compared to the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

From the spec sheet, it is evident that Amazon improved upon the Fire TV Cube series drastically, with the addition of a new CPU, GPU, and more file format support.

The Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube now is powered by a much better Hexa core processor that provides a much-needed performance boost.

Coupled with a better GPU, the general UI, and playback performance are noticeably improved even with the unchanged 2GB RAM onboard.

Couple that with the better software support thanks to the new generation hardware, things run much smoother and lags are way less frequent.

Amazon also added support for Miracast, making it much easier and faster to cast a smartphone screen onto the connected TV.

A lot more codecs and formats are now supported which makes for a better media viewing and playback experience overall compared to the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Unfortunately, they still kept the 16GB non-expandable storage, which could have been upgraded to at least 64GB considering modern requirements as of 2022.

Verdict

The Amazon Fire TV Cube series might have been intended to be a performance-focused version of Fire TV products.

But despite such a name, the First Generation Fire TV Cube faltered in living up to its name.

But the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube clearly made up for its predecessor's downfalls and climbed back up to be an excellent performing Fire TV device.

The clear winner is the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube when it comes to performance, by a mile and a half.

Software

Software

The software is the main aspect that one interacts with when it comes to a product like the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Hardware isn't the only component that determines performance. Software plays an integral part too, and the experience depends on how optimized the device is.

Thankfully, the Fire TV lineup is not relevant outside its first-party Amazon lineup of devices, so its software and hardware are built in-house and properly integrated.

First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The latest software version of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube is FireOS 6.2.8.1, based on Android 7.1.

The First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube has all the bells and whistles of a Fire TV device, including seamless hands-free Alexa.

This means that the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube can be effectively used as a smart speaker, with all its full-fledged features intact.

That being said, one thing to note is that Alexa is still cloud-based, so it will take its time with its response depending on the stability of the internet connection.

Coming to the Fire TV OS, it works just like on other Fire TV devices, but a bit smoother due to the slightly better processor and RAM, at least compared to the Fire TV Stick lineup.

Unfortunately, the Fire OS layout on the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube feels outdated and cluttered, due to the outdated Fire OS version 6.

But everything works great, with all supported streaming services supporting 4K HDR playback, provided appropriate subscription plans for those services are active.

All in all, considering function it is a very good experience from the software front if one turns a blind eye to the general UI aesthetics.

Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The latest software version of the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube is FireOS 7.2.4.2, based on Android 9.

The software is again, where the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube shines, compared to the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

it has all the features of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube, but with added quirks.

Thanks to the better in-house processing power, Alexa finally processes all its offline requests locally so the response times are significantly faster.

It is also much smoother in terms of UI navigation thanks to the newly introduced Hexa core processor powering the Cube.

Speaking of UI navigation, the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube also got a major software update, pushing it to FireOS 7.

This brought forward a plethora of changes, including a major UI overhaul, better performance, and memory management, along with many other changes.

This huge update resulted in a massive change in the user experience of the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube that now has a separate product listing on Amazon.

Due to this, people even started touting it as the 2021 refresh or the Third Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube, sprouting even more confusion.

But in reality, this was just a software refresh and there aren't any hardware changes between the two listings.

As of 2022, there are only two Fire Cube generations: The First Generation and the Second Generation.

Overall, this software refresh gave the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube an extra kick to propel it further from its competition.

Verdict

Despite the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube having a better software experience compared to other Fire TV devices, it was overshadowed heavily by its successor.

The Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube has the hardware power and newer generation tag that enabled it to get a major power-up in the form of FireOS 7.

Therefore, The Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube is a winner in this category too.

Compatibility

Compatibility

Compatibility with the existing devices in the TV setup is also a key factor to consider when it comes to buying a smart box like the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Compatibility with other devices within a smart home ecosystem is a very important aspect every tech enthusiast looks into when buying an internet-enabled device.

If it synchronizes well with other devices in its vicinity (in some cases, even remotely) then it's safe to say the Amazon Fire TV Cube will be well connected to the intended ecosystem.

Thanks to Alexa on both the First Generation and Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cubes, the job is much easier. Compatible devices are much easier to find.

First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

Thanks to Alexa, the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube supports all Alexa-enabled devices straight out of the box, making it a fantastic device when it comes to compatibility.

But on top of that, The First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube added in only the most basic of devices support, namely support for TV and A/V Receivers.

The First Generation Fire TV cube compatibility list of supported devices is as follows:

1st Gen Fire TV Cube Supported TVs1st Gen Fire TV Cube Supported A/V Receivers
LGYamaha
SonyDenon
TCL Pioneer
SamsungMarantz
VIZIOAudio Source
ElementRussound
SanyoBose
HisenseHarman Kardon
SharpSherwood
ToshibaPyle
RCAOnkyo
Sony

This compatibility list is, of course, restricted by models with respect to the brands mentioned.

But if the product is mentioned to be Alexa compatible, it is also compatible with the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The Fire TV Cube Second Generation, as expected added a lot more devices that can be further integrated with its Fire OS.

This is partially thanks to the major software refresh in the Fire OS 7 too, which added support for external peripherals. This adds support for soundbars and satellite boxes.

The Second Generation Fire TV Cube compatibility list of supported devices, on top of the list of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube is as follows:

2nd Gen Fire TV Cube Supported Soundbars 2nd Gen Fire TV Cube Supported Cable and Satellite Boxes
VIZIODISH
YamahaComcast/Xfinity
SamsungDIRECTV/AT&T U-Verse
NakamichiSpectrum
LGFrontier
PolkCox
SonyVerizon
JBL
Bose
Sonos (select models only)

Again, this compatibility list is only reflected on select models across all mentioned brands.

But if the product is mentioned to be Alexa compatible, it is also compatible with the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Verdict

The First Generation Fire TV Cube has fantastic compatibility with all Amazon Alexa certified devices and adds support for other TVs and A/V receivers too.

But the Second Generation Fire TV Cube as expected builds on top of that list and brings in even more compatibility.

Comparing the two, the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube is again, the winner.

Pricing

Pricing

First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube was launched in 2014 with a price tag of $99. This put it in a rather premium tier, considering other Fire TV products.

This price tag also put the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube right in between the cheaper $49 Fire TV Stick and the premium $179 Apple TV

Despite facing stiff competition, this was a well-priced product.

Considering the price drop after the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube was released, this became an even sweeter deal

Unfortunately, this is a product that was launched in 2014, and hence Amazon has taken down the product listing for the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

But one can easily find a refurbished or used product for much cheaper, with even some listings on Amazon itself.

Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

The Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube was launched with a price tag of $119, which was a 20% price hike compared to its predecessor First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

Add in the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube's price drop, the price difference became even more evident.

But the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube brought with it a better feature set, software support, and processing power, somewhat justifying the pricing.

But this price hike just gave its competition more incentive to capitalize on and make their product more enticing than the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Verdict

Despite the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube bringing in a better feature set, it is hard to glance over its price gap with the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube

Pricing is a subjective category, and the utility some extra bucks brings to the table is completely dependent on how often the user will be using it.

On paper, the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube brings forward a huge chunk of changes for the extra premium it asks, making it the better deal.

But for most users, the price-to-features ratio that the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube brings would be killer enough for a satisfying experience.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

The Amazon Fire TV Cube series is a fantastic lineup of Fire TV devices that is a great addition to any TV setup or Smart home.

Both the Amazon fire tv generations had their standout moments when it comes to each category we compared it against.

But Fire tv cube 2nd gen vs 1st gen: Who is the winner?

The First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube did show its age in most categories, but it still stood on its feet pretty well, considering it is being compared to its successor.

Still, I would consider the Second Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube the better product.

Despite the same design and higher price tag, the Second Gen did bring forward a bevy of changes and features that complimented it very well in most categories

Also, the removal of the First Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube from the Amazon product listings only cemented the fact that the Second Generation is the main Cube from now on.

I hope my article on Fire Cube 1st gen vs 2nd gen has been a good read and has helped you make some quality decisions for your needs

Have a good day!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is there a 3rd Generation Fire TV Cube?

Amazon has never explicitly listed a Fire TV Cube 3rd generation on their website. The 3rd gen confusion was caused by an alternate product listing by Amazon that was the same 2nd generation Fire TV Cube, but with a newer software update.

Can the Fire TV Cube be Jailbroken/Rooted?

Since Fire OS is based on Android, it can technically be rooted. There are forums on XDA dedicated to rooting Fire TV Cube using FireFU. But this is not something that is recommended, and the root access doesn't open up as many doors as rooting an Android smartphone does.

Can the Fire TV Cube be used as a Wireless Bluetooth speaker?

The Fire TV Cube has Bluetooth, which can be used to pair and stream audio without the aid of the internet. But since the Fire TV Cube is intended to be a device attached to a TV, it does need to be powered directly and cannot function wirelessly.

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About Doug Stevenson

Hey! I'm Doug, My passion for tech started by fixing phones and computers for my friends and family.

I started Blinqblinq to give reliable tech advice to anyone who needs it, for free! If you have questions on anything tech-related, feel free to contact me.

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Doug Stevenson

Hey! I'm Doug, My passion for tech started by fixing phones and computers for my friends and family.

I started Blinqblinq to give reliable tech advice to anyone who needs it, for free! If you have questions on anything tech-related, feel free to contact me.

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