Fire TV Stick vs. Fire TV Stick Lite: What's the Difference?

The might look identical, but they aren't quite the same

The Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite look the same and have a whole lot in common in terms of performance and capabilities, with the most notable difference being price. There are some important differences though, and we'll outline them all to help you choose between Fire TV Stick vs. Fire TV Stick Lite.

Fire Stick and Fire Stick Lite

Overall Findings

Fire TV Stick
  • 1.7Ghz quad core processor.

  • Supports 1080p @ 60Hz.

  • Supports HDR.

  • Built-in Dolby support (Atmos, Dolby Digital, etc).

  • Remote has power and volume buttons for television.

Fire TV Stick Lite
  • 1.7Ghz quad core processor.

  • Supports 1080p @ 60Hz.

  • Supports HDR.

  • HDMI Audio passthrough for Dolby Digital, etc.

  • Remote has no TV controls.

The Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite are remarkably similar devices that check almost all the same boxes right down the line. They have the same processor, both support full HD video and HDR, and both work with Alexa. The biggest differences are the the Fire TV Stick has built-in Dolby support and the Fire TV Stick Lite comes with a pared-down remote that can't control your television.

Specifications and Performance: Almost Identical

Fire TV Stick
  • Processor: Quad Core 1.7GHz.

  • GPU: IMG GE8300.

  • Memory: 1GB DDR4.

  • Resolution: 1920x1080 @ 60Hz.

  • Audio: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, AAC-LC, AAC+, etc.

  • Operating System: Fire OS 7.

  • Storage: 8GB.

  • Miracast: Supported.

Fire TV Stick Lite
  • Processor: Quad Core 1.7GHz.

  • GPU: IMG GE8300.

  • Memory: 1GB DDR4.

  • Resolution: 1920x1080 @ 60Hz.

  • Audio: HDMI Audio passthrough for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, Dolby Atmos, and DTS, AAC-LC, AAC+, etc.

  • Operating System: Fire OS 7.

  • Storage: 8GB.

  • Miracast: Supported.

Looking at the specifications of the Fire TV Stick (3rd gen) and the Fire TV Stick Lite, even a cursory glance reveals they are almost identical in every way. The hardware itself is actually the same in both devices, with the same exact processor, graphics processor, memory, and onboard storage.

The only difference in terms of specifications is that the Fire TV Stick supports comes in the form of audio codec support. They both support all the basics, from AAC to MP3 and most of the options in between, but the Fire TV Stick Lite only supports HDMI audio passthrough for things like Dolby Atmos, while the Fire TV Stick has native support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, and more.

The net effect of the differences here is the Fire TV Stick will provide substantially more immersive sound in Dolby Atmos home theater setups, while you're unlikely to notice a difference if you use your television's speakers or a basic sound bar.

Since the hardware is identical, the performance of these units is also identical. While the name Fire TV Stick Lite might imply an underpowered budget device, it performs to the exact same standard as the Fire TV Stick.

Design and Remote: Alexa Voice Remote Lite Lacks TV Controls

Fire TV Stick
  • Stick form factor.

  • Built-in HDMI output.

  • Micro USB for power.

  • Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen).

Fire TV Stick Lite
  • Stick form factor.

  • Built-in HDMI output.

  • Micro USB for power.

  • Alexa Voice Remote Lite.

In the same way the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite have the same hardware under the hood, they also share identical packaging. They both have the same stick form factor that's been in use since the first generation Fire TV Stick, both have built-in HDMI outputs, and both have micro USB ports for power.

The only difference here is the Fire TV Stick comes with a second generation Alexa Voice Remote, and the Fire TV Stick Lite comes with an Alexa Voice Remote Lite.

The Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen) includes some extra buttons, including a power button and volume controls, and it's capable of transmitting via infrared (IR) to directly control your television. That means you can avoid picking up a second remote in a lot of cases, and just use the Fire TV Stick remote to control both your Fire TV and your regular television controls.

The Alexa Voice Remote Lite has most of the same functionality as the second generation Alexa Voice Remote, but it lacks the television controls. It can still process voice commands via Alexa at the touch of a button, but you'll need to pick up your television remote if you want to adjust the volume.

Price: Price Difference Reflects Feature Differences (It's Small)

Fire TV Stick
  • MSRP: $39.99.

  • Positioned as an upgrade to the Fire TV Stick Lite, and a more affordable option compared to the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Fire TV Stick Lite
  • MSRP: $29.99.

  • Positioned as a more affordable alternative if you don't need native Dolby support or television controls.

The difference here is pretty straightforward, as Amazon has positioned the Fire TV Stick Lite as its entry-level streaming product. You save about $10 compared to the Fire TV Stick, and in turn you give up TV controls on the remote and native Dolby Atmos support. In that same vein, the Fire TV Stick offers a mild upgrade over the Fire TV Stick Lite, and a more affordable option compared to the slightly more expensive Fire TV Stick 4K for people who don't own a 4K television.

Final Verdict: Do You Have a Dolby Atmos Sound System?

There are two reasons to buy a Fire TV Stick over a Fire TV Stick Lite: if you have a fancy surround sound system, or if you crave the convenience offered by volume and power buttons on your Fire TV remote.

If you aren't interested in the volume and power buttons, and you're using your TV speakers or a basic sound bar, there's no reason to pay the extra money for a Fire TV Stick. On the other hand, the Fire TV Stick is absolutely worth the extra money if you have a Dolby home theater system, and even more so if you've invested in a Dolby Atmos system.