To make a long story short, my family recently got an Amazon Fire TV. It solved a problem plagued by many families for many years. Requiring Xbox Live to use Netflix. Yeah, sure, some of us have Wii Consoles, but not all of us like the Wiimote and it’s annoying accuracy issues sans-Wii Motionplus. Hence, The Fire TV was bought.
On the face of it, The fire TV looks like a pretty good deal. You get a Fire TV micro-console, with possibly the nicest remote control I’ve ever seen. Cheap produce this ain’t. Even without Amazon Prime, it still gives you access to on-demand services, such as the aforementioned Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Then things go downhill. Very downhill indeed.
You see, While it’s oriented towards
annoying customers into buying Prime nudging you into the Amazon Prime ecosystem, it’s determination to do so is quite intrusive. Admittedly, if you bought this anyway, chances are you were getting Prime in the first place. But it’s still annoying. The Movies, TV sections are all off-limits without Prime. And that’s not even getting started on the restrictions.
The Fire TV, at it’s core, is Android. Specifically, it’s Amazon’s own implementation of Android KitKat. Because of this, there’s no Google play, No Gmail, no Google+ (+1 points for removing G+ amazon!) Not even YouTube. What’s even weirder is that, because of these restrictions, the apps in the Fire TV store is so limited, it doesn’t even compare to Amazons OWN Appstore for Tablets or their HDx lineup. Even worse, is that all the apps that did get on there, are missing features in some way. The Twitch app, for example, doesn’t have a Game search feature, present on Tablet editions.
While the specs for the Fire TV are, admittedly, more than decent for the £65 spent on the thing, it performs very well in all the tests I could muster in terms of the Games dept. Also, unless you want to Root the Fire TV, you can’t use any old USB controller (Like you can on Android). You are limited to the Logitech branded USB controllers, and the Fire TV controller. Which is £40. No. Just…No.
Overall, I like the Fire TV. For the money my family spent, we knew what we were getting into. However, I do find it dissapointing that the lack of any web browser, Youtube, or decently optimised apps shocking.
6/10. And that’s me being generous.