Review | Amazon Fire Stick
Home automation. Sexy, sexy home automation. Eventually our homes will become transformers and follow us around the park, marking their territory by bleeding their radiators on nearby trees. Obviously when I say ‘our homes’, I mean the places we live that we can’t afford to own because of listicles in the Times.
If you’re looking for a first step in home automation there are a few easy routes in, such as HDMI devices that you can smack straight into your telly. One of which is the Amazon Fire stick. Maplin popped on in the post to the Lampoon-Cave for a little review.
Amazon Fire stick – which sounds like a primitive tribal ritual involving fire ants – is a fairly inexpensive way to get your on the automation property ladder. £40 gets you an Amazon Firestick and an Alexa powered voice remote that you can talk to when no one else is listening.
First impressions: It’s not sexy. There are no shiny bits. It’s meant to hide behind your TV so that’s ok. It’s about the size of a mint chocolate club, or for anyone under the age of 20 - it’s about the size of an Amazon Fire stick.
After a quick set-up I was logged in and browsing.
There is a decent choice of apps available, including Netflix for that all important second watch of Stranger Things. iPlayer for your BBC Four documentaries and Spotify for your big beats playlist (big beats are the best). The response from the remote is fairly quick, the same kind of speed as your TV remote. There’s a quad-core processor and 1GB of memory to handle 1080p (the pricier Amazon Fire TV box can take up to 4K).
“Alexa - play Top Gear in BBC iPlayer”
I ask, fully aware of the mental and contractual anguish I have just inflicted on my artificial friend.
After a few failed attempts to woo Alexa into finding the ‘Bum bum willy’ song on YouTube I resort to using the remote again.
The voice recognition is surprising good when searching in context within an already open app - but I find Google home to be better.
Like a parent of a teenager, you can also shout at Alexa to bring you your favourite food (from Just Eat), take you to your friends house (order an Uber) or what the weather is like because you've forgotten how curtains work.
Another use for the Fire Stick is to treat it as a mobile entertainment server. Take it on work trips with you for lonely hotel times (invariably London City Airport Travelodge because it always fucking is).
Amazon fire stick isn’t the answer for all your home automations but it is a fairly solid entry-level introduction and includes some decent features. If you already have an Amazon Prime account and aren’t fussed with too much else other than streaming and Spotify it’s an attractive option.