The differences between the Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick are a little hard to find, and feel as if you're playing one of those old Highlights For Children games where you spot the differences between two very similar photos.
Yes, the two new streaming sticks announced at Amazon's Sept. 24 event may look practically identical, but there are key differences between these two sticks, that will likely change how you stream with each. And they appear fast enough to possibly land on our best streaming devices list.
Oddly, each of these devices differ less in the internals of the actual stick than they do in their included remotes — though there is one notable difference in audio quality between them.
Here's a closer look at the Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick, with an eye toward finding the right streaming stick for you.
Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick: Specs compared
|Fire TV Stick Lite||Fire TV Stick (2020)|
|Picture quality||1080p Full HD (HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG)||1080p Full HD (HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG)|
|Audio quality||Dolby Audio via pass-through HDMI||Dolby Atmos Audio|
|Remote||Alexa Voice Remote Lite (no TV controls)||Alexa Voice Remote|
|Processor||Quad-core 1.7 GHz||Quad-core 1.7 GHz|
|Also in the box||2x AAA batteries, HDMI extender, USB cable and power supply, Alexa Voice Remote Lite||2x AAA batteries, HDMI extender, USB cable and power supply, Alexa Voice Remote|
Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick: Price and value
This one's easy. The Fire TV Stick Lite is so lite because it's price isn't as heavy on your budget. Yes, if you thought the $40 Fire TV Stick was too expensive, you might be interested in checking out the $30 Fire TV Stick Lite.
While the Fire TV Stick Lite trades away some features for the $10 you're saving, it's still seriously comparable, and making it a strong value pick.
Winner: Fire TV Stick Lite
Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick: Design
This is where you might need to squint... but not at the Sticks themselves. The Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick share the same 3.4 x 1.2 x 0.5-inch design, and both weigh 1.1 ounces.
The Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick 2020 also connect to your TV in the same way, via their internal HDMI port, though Amazon includes an HDMI extender if you're having a hard time getting to the ports on the back of your TV.
Both also feature chassis made of 100% recycled die-cast aluminum, as they're a part of Amazon's Climate Pledge Friendly project. This initiative is a part of the company declaring its "commitment to be net zero carbon across our entire business by 2040."
Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick: Remote
I'll argue the biggest differences in the Fire TV Stick Lite and the normal Fire TV Stick are found on its remote. The Fire TV Stick Lite's Alexa Remote Lite is shy a few of the buttons that make the Fire TV's normal Alexa Remote more capable.
Specifically, the normal Alexa Remote has TV controls for power (in the top right corner) and volume (up, down and mute, below all the other buttons). The one button it lacks, that the Alexa Remote Lite has, is the Guide button, which opens the Live TV Guide.
That's potentially annoying for anyone who wants to only use one remote, and not juggle the one for their TV and the Alexa Remote Lite. But that might not matter for those who prefer to use the Amazon Fire app on their phone as a digital remote. Alexa can also perform these functions, but I don't always want to talk at my remote when I'm watching TV, and I doubt I'm the only one.
Winner: Fire TV Stick 2020
Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick: Streaming quality
Both the Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick 2020 deliver one of the most important features when it comes to streaming TV: Full HD 1080p video output. Both sticks also support the HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+ and HLG video standards.
The one way they differ under the hood is on audio. The Fire TV Stick 2020 has Dolby Atmos Audio while the Fire TV Stick Lite only has Dolby Audio, and only via pass-through HDMI.
The difference between the two is based in immersive sound. With Dolby Atmos, audio is pumped out through your TV and AV equipment in specific ways to create dimensionality. In Dolby's own words, it provides "multi-dimensional sound with incredible clarity that envelopes you." We're betting that folks with their own multi-channel home stereo are more likely to see the difference.
Dolby Audio isn't as impressive, focused on providing rich and powerful sound quality. It too works with surround sound equipment, but Dolby doesn't aim for the same immersion.
Winner: Fire TV Stick 2020
Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick: Performance
While we haven't tested the Fire TV Stick Lite nor the Fire TV Stick yet, we're already sensing a tie in this category. Amazon rates these sticks for the same performance and energy saving gains: 50% faster speed and 50% less power consumption (both compared to the previous Fire TV Stick).
This makes sense, as they're both running on quad-core 1.7 GHz processors (the same chip, it seems that's in the Fire TV Stick 4K). Also, both feature 8GB of storage.
If one of these Fire Sticks is surprisingly faster than the other, we'll update this face-off accordingly.
Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick: Outlook
On paper, it seems like the Fire TV Stick Lite is probably best for most people. Those who want to limit the number of remotes in their living room, or get the best sound quality may disagree, but the Lite's $10 lower price makes it even more accessible to consumers (and we wouldn't be surprised to see it get even cheaper this holiday season).
While I personally prefer to have the Fire TV Stick's TV volume and power buttons, it's hard to argue they're worth $10. When both Fire TV Sticks have the same processor, storage and video quality, it's not hard to see why many will choose to save money and get the less expensive Fire TV Stick.
Once we test the Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick, we'll make sure to update this story accordingly, and deliver a conclusive ending to this face-off.