For many, the battle for the top TV streaming dongle will come down to pitting the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs. the Chromecast with Google TV. Both devices have push-button access to their voice assistants and support 4K UHD video and Dolby Atmos audio, as well as a $50 price tag. So which is the better option for you? That's what we're here to help you decide.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Spec Showdown
Even though the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has been around for a few years, it still goes toe-to-toe on most features and tech specs with the newer Chromecast with Google TV.
|Chromecast with Google TV||Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K|
|Year released||October 2020||October 2018|
|Dimensions||4.7 x 1.6 x 0.5 in||6.4 x 2.4 x .5 in|
|OS||Android TV OS||Fire OS|
|Voice assistant||Google Assistant||Amazon Alexa|
|Video formats||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+|
|Audio formats||Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos (pass-through)||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos|
|Smart home controls||Yes||Yes|
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Feature Parity?
Honestly, this is one of the tougher comparisons we've had to do in a while. Both devices are really good at what they do — providing a user-friendly interface to access thousands of apps and streaming video content at the push of a button or the prompt of your voice. Which one you choose largely depends on whether you use Amazon's Alexa or the Google Assistant around your home. However, there are some subtle differences to point out if you're not in a relationship with a voice assistant at the moment.
As you can see from the spec table above, both devices have basically the same video and audio playback abilities, and both have similar amounts of storage and RAM. Both have user-friendly remotes with voice assistant access at the push of a button. However, one could argue that even though the Chromecast remote looks better, the Alexa Voice Remote is more functional because it has dedicated rewind and fast forward controls.
oth devices are really good at what they do — providing a user-friendly interface to access thousands of apps and streaming video content at the push of a button.
The Chromecast with Google TV as a whole certainly looks more impressive in its three fun colors — Snow (white), Sunrise (pink), and Sky (blue) — but really, you'll only see that on the remote since the dongle will be plugged in behind your TV. The biggest selling point for the new Chromecast is, in fact, its Google TV user interface. Previous Chromecast devices did not come with dedicated remotes or any sort of user interface.
While Google is catching up to Amazon here, it adds a few features that might pique your interest. For starters, Google's Stadia cloud gaming service is set to arrive on the device by early next year (though you can sideload it now), and the For You and Watchlist personalization features are welcome additions. Users can even add items to their Watchlist from a Google search!
One of our writers who ran out and got a Chromecast with Google TV the day it was released said that he was overall very pleased with the device, but that he had some issues with the CEC controls when trying to turn his TV on or off with the Chromecast remote. Not sure if this is a problem with his TV or the Chromecast, but I thought it worth mentioning.
We have had the Fire TV Stick 4K as our top Fire TV stick and top Fire TV device for over a year now, and it still compares favorably with the best devices from the likes of Apple, Google, and even Roku. However, it hasn't seen an update in the two years since it was first released. Interestingly, at its fall 2020 hardware event, Amazon announced an update to its mid-range Fire TV Stick and a new Fire TV Stick Lite but gave no word on plans to update the 4K streaming stick.
Like Google TV, the Fire TV OS is also getting a revamped interface soon, and Amazon aims to improve viewer recommendations and the overall user experience. The company's Luna cloud gaming service is also coming to Fire TV devices in the next few months, and it promises to be a serious Stadia competitor.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Which should you buy?
When we compare devices with separate ecosystems, unless there's a glaring discrepancy we tend to recommend that you just stay in whatever ecosystem you are already in or are most comfortable in. While that recommendation sort of holds true here, it's not a very strong one.
We really like the new Google TV interface and some of its unique features, plus the colors are a nice touch. But what really puts it on top for us here is how you can access pretty much all of the same media and services on the Chromecast as you can on the Fire TV, including Prime Video and Amazon Music. Plus, the photo slideshows are much better on Google Photos than they are on Amazon Photos.
The one exception to recommending the Chromecast with Google TV is if you already have a bunch of Ring or Blink smart home accessories. Amazon has much stronger tie-ins with other third-party smart home products, and you'll likely find it difficult, if not downright impossible, to use any of those devices with the Chromecast device.
Whichever device you choose, you're going to get a fantastic streaming dongle with an excellent voice remote. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Chromecast with Google TV
Want to test Google TV right now?
Google's newest Chromecast packs not only Android TV but the newest interface that gathers up the content you want to watch in one place with Watchlist and uses Google's machine learning to serve up timely content.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
A quick and simple upgrade to most any TV in your home
Powered by Fire TV OS with Alexa available at your beck and call, the Fire TV Stick 4K is your best streaming option from Amazon. It's a full-featured dongle with support for HDR 4K and Dolby Vision that can also be controlled by your Amazon Echo speakers.
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