Streaming devices are getting cheaper and more impressive these days, making it easier than ever to access all the major streaming and catch-up services from your TVs (or other displays) that don't offer them already.
They also make for great travel companions, allowing you plug into the HDMI port of any TV you come across and continue streaming from where you left off (so long as you have an available Wi-Fi network).
That said, most streaming-device families now include numerous models and iterations to decipher, offering a wide range of features and capabilities – particularly when it comes to HDR and 4K.
Two of the latest devices on offer are Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite and Google's new Chromecast with Google TV. Both are similarly placed in terms of content and user experience, yet they do differ in many regards.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this extensive Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite vs Chromecast with Google TV comparison article to help you decide which streaming player is right for your household. So without further ado, let the clash of the titans commence!
Easiest setup: Chromecast with Google TV
With every new streaming video player comes the inevitable setup process – this can either be quick and painless or long and arduous.
Thankfully, both the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite and Chromecast with Google TV are fairly easy to get up and running. That said, the new Chromecast has the edge when it comes to ease of setup, thanks in large part to its compatibility with Google's ecosystem.
Both devices plug into your television or monitor's HDMI port, with power provided via USB cable and power adaptor. The Chromecast with Google TV has an attached cable that makes it easier to plug its HDMI connector into tight spaces, while the Amazon TV Fire Stick Lite includes a male-to-female HDMI extender cable for the same reason.
To get started with the Amazon TV Fire Stick Lite, you'll need to create or login to an existing Amazon account. All of this is done via on-screen keypad and the device's included remote, which can take some time.
On the other hand, Chromecast with Google TV offers setup via on-screen QR code, allowing you to set the device up entirely from your smartphone, so long as you have the Google Home app installed and a Gmail account.
Downloading apps on either device is simple, though you will likely need to spend a significant amount of time signing in to all of your non-Amazon streaming accounts on the Fire TV Stick Lite – again via that aforementioned on-screen keypad.
Meanwhile, Android users will find the same process to be hassle-free on Chromecast with Google TV – all of our streaming logins, such as Netflix and Disney Plus, were already backed up to our Google account via Chrome, making the device more or less ready to go; we were prompted to login to each streaming app using our previously saved credentials.
Winner: Setup on both devices is straightforward, but the Google ecosystem made setting up the Chromecast with Google TV especially fast and easy.
Best interface: Chromecast with Google TV
Both the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite and Chromecast with Google TV boast interfaces that pull in content from several streaming sources, displaying everything on a Netflix-style home screen.
While each streaming device takes a similar approach to putting content in front of your eyeballs, the Chromecast with Google TV's home screen is a little easier to follow and manage.
It's very easy to reach everything from the home screen on Google's new Chromecast, with a list of horizontally scrolling apps clearly distinguishing itself from all the pulled-in content thanks to their smaller size.
Amazon's home screen is quite similar, but feels like a more complicated version of its Prime Video service, with apps and content mixed in together. Additionally, jumping back and forth between the home screen and the apps screen can make the interface a little harder to follow – especially for older users.
Thankfully, both devices allow for voice search via their included remote controls, with Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite harnessing the power of Alexa, and the new Chromecast taking advantage of Google Assistant.
Additionally, though there are a number of third-party casting apps available to download on Amazon's device, all of them require you to install an accompanying app to cast from on your smartphone. This means it lacks the broad support of Google's casting feature, which lets you cast from a variety of different apps, including Facebook, Chrome and more.
Winner: Chromecast with Google TV has the edge when it comes to its user interface, however Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite is very close behind.
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Best for content: Amazon Fire TV Stick
Almost all of the major global streaming services are represented on both the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite and Chromecast with Google TV, meaning you'll have plenty to watch regardless of which device you go for.
Each dongle allows you to watch the likes of YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and Disney Plus, along with local catch-up services in most regions.
That said, one streaming service which is readily available on Amazon's device but noticeably absent from Chromecast's lineup is Apple TV Plus.
Given that only a few television brands offer native support for the Apple TV app at present (and then often only on sets less than 4 years old), accessing the service on an inexpensive streaming dongle is a great alternative to buying the Cupertino company's pricey Apple TV 4K streaming box.
In this instance, those looking to watch quality Apple Originals like Ted Lasso, Defending Jacob, Greyhound and the upcoming sci-fi series Foundation are advised to pick up Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite.
Winner: Both options are great in terms of app support, though Amazon's device has the edge thanks to the inclusion of Apple TV Plus.
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Best for 4K/HDR streaming: Chromecast with Google TV
Given each device's relatively low price point, it's actually quite remarkable that both are able to offer Dolby Atmos passthrough capability, alongside standard HDR10 support. It's worth noting that the new Chromecast supports Dolby Vision, while Amazon continues to overlook the HDR format preferred by AV purists.
When it comes to 4K, Chromecast with Google TV is the only option, as Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite maxes out at 1080p resolution. However, Amazon does offer a non-Lite version that can stream at 4K, though it still lacks Dolby Vision support.
Winner: Google's new streaming device wins by virtue of its 4K and Dolby Vision support.
Best remote: Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite
Amazon's new Fire TV Stick Lite offers a nearly identical remote to its non-Lite sibling, albeit without a volume rocker and power button, which is perfectly fine in our book.
It still feels sturdy, straightforward and remarkably clicky, with buttons that require just the right amount of pressure. Because of this, accidental button presses are basically a non-issue on Amazon's remote.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Google's remote – the first to be included with a Chromecast device. From a design standpoint, the Chromecast remote is light and aesthetically pleasing, if a little flimsy feeling.
Like Amazon's remote, it also features a circular keypad. However, we found it way too easy to accidentally press the center button when navigating around menus and keypads, forcing us to backtrack on a regular basis. Additionally, both remotes feature the usual back and home buttons, along with internal microphones and dedicated buttons to launch Alexa or Google Assistant.
One area where Google's remote improves upon Amazon's clicker is the inclusion of YouTube and Netflix buttons, allowing you to reach each service with just a single tap. Handy as those buttons are, Amazon's remote is arguably more practical in terms of usability, with dedicated buttons for rewind, play/pause and fast forward.
While Amazon has dropped the volume rocker from its remote for its Lite streaming device, Google's new Chromecast does have one, though it's unfortunately placed in an awkward position on the remote's right side (pictured above).
Winner: Google's remote is a good first attempt, but Amazon's remote feels more reliable and practical.
Best value: Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite
For years, Google's Chromecast has been known as the cheapest way to turn your dumb TV into a smart one. However, that's no longer the case thanks to Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite, which offers a similar experience at the much lower price point of $29.99 / £29.99 / AU$59.
Of course, while the Chromecast with Google TV is more expensive at $49.99 / £59.99 / AU$99, the added cost is admittedly worth it for those who own 4K-capable television sets, as Amazon's device only offers a maximum resolution of 1080p.
Still, if what you're after is a cheap way to access streaming services which aren't currently offered by your television, it's hard to pass up Amazon's incredibly affordable offering, particularly if you're only looking to outfit a 1080p TV.
Winner: Amazon's Fire TV Stick Lite is insanely good value for money.
VERDICT: what's right for you?
When it comes down to it, both the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite and the Chromecast with Google TV are very similar in terms of usability. Aside from their differences in content and resolution, the real deciding factor will ultimately come down to which smart home ecosystem you prefer.
If you're an Alexa household, you'll likely gravitate towards the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite. Meanwhile, those who prefer to use Google Assistant and Android will probably be better off with the Chromecast with Google TV.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite is perfect for users who are already acquainted with Alexa and Amazon's Prime Video service, and would like an affordable streaming device that offers all the major services.
Chromecast with Google TV is for those users who are after the best streaming dongle in terms of resolution and HDR formats, regardless of the extra cost involved. They're also likely to be Android users with a good grasp of Google's ecosystem.
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