Why buy the Apple TV 4K when the Fire TV Cube is so, so cheap?

Amazon Fire TV Cube
(Image credit: Amazon)

Christmas is fast approaching, as we all know, so big retailers like Amazon are already in the process of slashing prices on desired products for you and your loved ones. 

Case in point: the Fire TV Cube,one of the best streaming devices out there, is currently down  to just $74.99 / £59.99 in each respective region, down from the usual retail price of $119.99 / £109.99.

That's the lowest price ever at the online retail giant in both the US and the UK, beating more expensive streamers like the Apple TV 4K.

That's a bargain compared to the Apple TV 4K ($179 / £169) too. The latter may be a fabulous streaming device in itself, especially with high frame rates, HDR support, a brilliant Siri remote and, of course, the inclusion of the Apple TV Plus subscription service.

However, its price is hard to justify if you're not already an Apple enthusiast, especially when more affordable alternatives exist that are just as capable – or in some cases even beat it for functionality. It doesn't have a built-in speaker like the Fire TV Cube, after all.

The Fire TV Cube is a brilliant streamer, packing in almost every entertainment subscription service you could ask for, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and of course, Prime Video. 

Yet its typically high price tag often makes other great streaming devices like the Roku Express 4K or Chromecast with Google TV look far more appealing, if only for their relatively affordable retail prices.

It stands to reason that Amazon needs to counter the burgeoning competition in the streaming space. 

To its credit, Amazon has consistently updated the Fire TV Cube in the years since its release with new features and quality-of-life improvements, and the second-gen device also supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. However, that's simply falling in line with its competition, not exactly beating them.

Is a better Fire TV Cube on the way?

Amazon Fire TV Cube next to TV

(Image credit: Amazon)

Of course, a sudden price drop like this could well point to a new Fire TV Cube iteration coming in the near future – something we've speculated on before.

While we were disappointed that Amazon chose not to show off a third generation model back at the September Amazon event, the first quarter of 2022 seems like a fine time to usher in a new iteration of its excellent streaming device. But where can it improve?

Let's look at gaming, for one. Both the Apple TV 4K and Chromecast with Google TV support Apple Arcade and Google Stadia respectively. 

Amazon has its own gaming service in Luna, which seems like an obvious, natural addition to a next-gen Fire TV Cube to give it something that its competition lacks, especially considering Google Stadia is still a mixed bag of a service in the eyes of many gamers.

Further improvements could also be made to Fire TV Cube's existing feature set. A home screen that isn't as reliant on Amazon-exclusive content as well as better language recognition are both things Amazon could realistically improve. 

How about true HDMI 2.1 support for better image quality and drastically lower input lag for gaming (if the company elects to include Amazon Luna, of course)?

There's a lot Amazon can do to improve upon its already fantastic Fire TV Cube, then. A follow-up device has been long overdue for a while, and the above suggestions show that there's still plenty of room for improvement. 

We just hope to see said improvements before the competition starts to leave the Fire TV Cube in the dust.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.