Amazon Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick

Fire Stick Versus Chromecast

In the end, it comes down to what functionality you’re looking for.


Since the release of Google’s Chromecast (view on Amazon), a couple of competitors have entered the dongle video streaming arena: The Amazon Fire Stick (view On Amazon) and the Roku Stick (view on Amazon). We’ve put together a side-by-side comparison so that you don’t have to. Check it out below:

Specs and Hardware:

Amazon Fire Stick Google ChromeCast Roku Stick
Remote Included Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick   Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick
Processor Dual-core Single-core Single-core
Memory 1 GB 512 MB 512 MB
Flash Storage 8 GB 2 GB 256 MB
Dolby Digital Plus certified surround sound Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick    
Wi-Fi Dual band/Dual antenna (MIMO) Single band Dual band/Dual antenna (MIMO)
Voice Search Remote app; voice remote sold separately    
HDMI extender included Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick  
HDMI video out (up to 1080p) Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick
Fling/Cast Smart Phones and Tablet Videos Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick(Limited)
Phone/Tablet Screen Mirroring Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick Chromecast Versus Fire Stick Versus Roku Stick  

Courtesy of Amazon.com

The devices are all very similar. Some hardware standouts include that the Roku Stick and the Amazon Fire Stick both include a remote. For families looking to find a streaming device for younger kids that don’t have smart phones, the Chromecast is not going to be a smart choice as it will require that they hunt down a smart phone, tablet, or computer to stream their favorite shows. Additionally, the Fire Stick and the Roku stick both feature dual band/dual antenna for Wi-fi. This equates to faster wi-fi speeds and an increased wi-fi range. If you’re looking to stream to that corner room of your house, you may be better off with either the Fire Stick or the Roku Stick.

Fire Stick Versus ChromecastThe Amazon Fire Stick and the Google Chromecast both support screen mirroring meaning that you can stream a variety of non-video streaming related content such as social media, pictures, awkward panda GIFs, and more. It’s worth pointing out, however, that the Roku Stick does have some non-streaming apps such as social media, AOL news, and more as an alternative to screen mirroring.

Finally, in my opinion, the performance specs of the devices are less relevant as performance is going to vary based on how effective the software is that runs the device. The Chromecast is zippy and works extremely well. The Roku Stick also has a slick user interface that doesn’t seem to lag or stutter on a regular basis. Performance has yet to be seen on the Amazon Fire Stick, so the relevancy of the beefed up ram and processor is yet to be known. We’ll be sure to update our comparison once it is released.

Apps:

Like I always says, a device is only as good as the software that can run on it. All three of these devices have strong offerings, but it is clear that the Roku Stick is the front-runner from a streaming apps perspective.

  Amazon Fire Stick Google Chromecast Roku Stick
Netflix
Amazon Instant Video  
Hulu Plus
YouTube
Pandora
PBS Kids
WatchESPN
Bloomberg TV  
Crackle
Twitch  
HBO GO  
 ABC   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
 Disney Channel Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
NPR One   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
 PBS Kids Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
 MLB Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
 Google Play Movies and TV   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick  
 PLEX Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
VUDU     Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
BeyondPod   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick  
Vimeo Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
VEVO Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
History Channel Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
NBA Gametime Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
Showtime Anywhere Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick
Spotify Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick   Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick

This is by no means an exhaustive list. The Roku Stick has over 1,200 different streaming apps putting it significantly ahead of its competition. It’s worth pointing out that the Chromecast can stream whatever is in a browser window on a computer, opening the doors to the majority of the services available on the Roku Stick. However, streaming in a browser window is prone to some stutter depending on the hardware of your computer.

When considering your streaming stick, if there are specific streaming services that you are looking for, it is best to check manufacturers website to see if it is supported. Use the following links to view supported apps for each device:

Ease of Use:

The Chromecast and the Roku Stick have both shown that they are relatively easy to set up. Simply plug them in, connect them to wi-fi, choose your apps of choice, and start streaming. The Roku Stick is meant to be primarily controlled with the remote, with the exception of a few major apps that support casting from smart phone apps. With the Chromecast your are captive to your smart phone, tablet, or computer. If you don’t own one of those devices, this device will be worthless to you. Then again, if you don’t have one of those devices, you’re likely not reading this article. (Unless you’re at the library)

Fire Stick Versus ChromecastDue to the small form factor of these devices, they are often considered for the purpose of becoming travel companions to avoid costly hotel on-demand fees. Unfortunately, both the Chromecast and the Roku Stick both currently don’t have an effective way to authenticate you on Wi-fi that requires you to login in a browser. Over 90% of hotels have a portal that you have to log into. (This is an accurate statistic pulled from the air)

It is worth pointing out that the Amazon Fire Stick has advertised that soon after its released the device will support logging into wi-fi that is captive behind a login. This is a big deal for individuals that travel on a regular basis and is likely to win them over.

Price:

For many consumers, at the end of the day, price is going to be a primary factor. The Chromecast and the Fire Stick are both similarly prices at $35 and $39 dollars respectively. The Roku Stick does require a premium at $49 for the device. While $14 dollars doesn’t seem like much more, keep in mind, that is 40% more than the Chromecast. Food for thought, while digging through your wallet.

Conclusion:

In short, all three of these devices hold a lot a promise and are packed with functionality. For a more integrated solution with smart phones and tablets, go with either the Chromecast or the Fire Stick. If you’re buying this for kids or individuals that don’t own smart phones, tablets, or computers; consider the Fire Stick or the Roku Stick with their included remotes. If you’re just looking for access to the most content possible, the Roku Stick is hands down your best option with over 1,200 apps. In the end, it comes down to what functionality you’re looking for. What do you think of these three devices? Which one will ultimately win you over? Let us know in the comments below.

Ryan Egan

About the author

Ryan is a natural born technology enthusiast. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and has been writing on the topic of technology for over 4 years. He also enjoys sitting in hot-tubs while watching movies on a gorgeous 80 inch flat-screen televisions.

7 comments on “Amazon Fire Stick Versus ChromeCast Versus Roku Stick”

  1. Thomas Scott Reply

    We purchased a Chromecast a few months after it first came out, and have no regrets. I’ve always been a huge fan of Google’s environment (since the G1/Android 1.0), and have loved the deep integration it has with Android. For me, it wasn’t even really a choice, and after seeing the Roku Stick and Fire stick, I still feel like I made the right decision.

    • Ryan Egan Ryan Egan Reply

      What aspects of the integration do you like better about the Chromecast that the Fire Stick doesn’t have?

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  3. Scott Reply

    I got the chromecast a while ago and I love it! The main thing that I use it for is streaming video straight from web pages. When Netflix doesn’t have a show or movie that I want to watch, I use another (maybe not 100% kosher) website and I can just cast the page to my tv. They have improved how the video plays on your computer too so if you go full screen, it will fill the tv but still only occupy one browser page so i can still do stuff on other tabs while watching fullscreen on the tv. I use this a lot for streaming sports as well and I haven’t had any problems with it. I haven’t tried the others but I haven’t really wanted to since the chromecast does exactly what I bought it for.

    • Ryan Egan Ryan Egan Reply

      Definitely. The Cast Your Tab feature is excellent. Make sure you have your laptop plugged in though, it can drain the battery pretty substantially.

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