The new Fire TV Stick is available to order for £39.99 right now

Alexa, fresh features and important tweaks make it worthy of your money

The Amazon Fire TV Stick has just been treated to an upgrade, pushing the best cheap streaming device on the market even further ahead of the competition.

It was launched in the US some time ago, but has only just come to the UK, and brings with it a number of improvements that make it well worth buying, even if you already own an Amazon Fire TV Stick. 

Its headline feature is support for Alexa, Amazon’s excellent voice assistant.

This doesn’t just enable users to track down TV shows, films and apps much, much faster than ever just by speaking to the voice-controlled remote, but also to accurately control playback without having to fiddle with any buttons.

“Just say ‘find suspense thrillers’ or ‘open Netflix’ and Alexa will respond,” says Amazon. “For Amazon Video content, you can also control playback with just your voice; just ask Alexa to ‘go back 30 seconds’ or ‘jump ahead two minutes.’”

Through the new Fire TV Stick, users can also ask Alexa for information on news and weather, their commute and sports scores, and also tell it to create shopping lists, play music, request an Uber and order a takeaway from Just Eat.

The Alexa remote can be used to control Smart Home devices too, such as lights and heating systems, and users can take advantage of thousands of skills – both useful and ridiculous – created specifically for the voice assistant.  

Amazon’s also refreshed the Fire TV user interface, making it more image-heavy but also cleaner and easier to navigate. 

Users of previous-generation Fire TV devices will gain access to Alexa and the new UI through a free software update, and customers who don’t happen to own a voice remote can actually use the Fire TV smartphone app to access Alexa.

While this is undoubtedly great, and a decent enough argument for not upgrading to the newest version of the Fire TV Stick, having to fire up the app on your phone each time you want to do anything is a bit of a pain.

There’s also one big improvement that a software update can’t provide.

The previous version of the Fire TV Stick suffered from fairly heavy lag at times, with performance definitely an area that required attention. 

Amazon has addressed this, equipping the new Fire TV Stick with a new processor that makes it significantly speedier than its predecessor – by as much as 30%, according to the company. 

Along with the voice capabilities, this should make the entire experience far slicker and more enjoyable. 

The new Fire TV Stick is available to order for £39.99 right now.

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