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All Things Firestick

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In the day and age of streaming, the device you use is almost as important as all of your video subscriptions. It used to be that there were only a couple of options available, but these days everywhere you look is something new to make cutting the cord a little bit easier.

From Chromecast to Roku to Apple TV, there are a multitude of options from which to choose when it comes to streaming. With cable numbers dipping year after year, it’s evident that more people are turning to their WiFi connection for entertainment. While all of the options on the market are good in their own way and they all do the same things, one choice leads the pack; the Firestick from Amazon.com.

Of course, like any product the Firestick has its advantages and disadvantages but the numbers don’t lie. Just a year ago, the Firestick was behind the rest of the pack with the Chromecast out in front. However, in 2017 Amazon’s Firestick and Fire TV clinched the lead for having the most desirable options, yet Amazon remains humble enough to continue selling their competitor’s products.

What’s Good?

  • Easy to Use – The Firestick is super simple to use as long as you’re using it with the basic functions in mind. A jailbroken Firestick is going to be a little bit more complicated to use and since the legality on jailbreaking is up in the air, it’s probably best that you stick to the basics. The menu is front and center, easy to see and use, and there isn’t anything hidden that you have to dig through to watch Netflix or Hulu.
  • Inexpensive – The Firestick is about $40 and can be found not only online but at several participating retailers (Target, for example). The newest version allows users to speak into their remote to Alexa and she’ll find you whatever you’re looking to watch. Even the Fire TV box comes in at a lower price than Apple TV.
  • Amazon Customer Service – If there is anything at which Amazon excels, it is in their customer service department and the Firestick is part of that excellence. Have an issue with a rental or purchase? Most of the time Amazon is more than happy to make it right. If a prized video disappears from your library, a customer service person will stay on the phone with you until it’s found again.
  • Simple Setup – Some of the streaming devices on the market require a lot of signing up for accounts to get started. However, the Firestick is easy as pie. All you have to do is plug it in, log in to your Amazon account, and you’re in. Downloading the individual apps is quick and painless as well.
  • It’s Portable – If you’re going on vacation and want something for your family to watch during down time or rainy days, the Firestick is super portable. It’s smaller than a deck of cards and is just a plug and play device for any TV with an HDMI input. Easy peasy!

What’s Not?

  • The Remote – On older versions of the Firestick, the remote completely sucks. It’s tiny and very easy to use. In the newer versions, it’s a little bit bigger but probably still pretty easy to lose. Now it should be noted that there is a Firestick app for your phone that allows you to control every Firestick linked to your account.
  • It’s Buggy – Depending on the speed of your wireless connection, the Firestick can be a little bit buggy. It can glitch on certain apps and sometimes will lose your connection details for no reason and say that the network is unavailable, only to reconnect seconds later. Compared to Roku or Chromecast, it’s got one of the best playbacks in terms of delay though.
  • Easy to Unplug – Out of all the issues with the Firestick, this is probably the most irritating. A small tug on the cord will separate the Firestick from its USB extender or unplug the Firestick from a wall outlet. It’s frustrating, but it’s far from being a deal breaker. It’s more difficult to unplug if it is plugged into a power strip so that would be the recommended outlet for daily use.

If you’re looking to cut the cable cord and stop paying ridiculously large bills, the Firestick is the streaming device on the market that has the best ease of use. It is backed by Amazon’s stellar commitment to customer service and for the price, you can’t go wrong!

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