These two TV streamers are relatively inexpensive, and they both are capable of streaming 4K content and HDR. They are also capable of streaming any kind of video or content from the Internet. Howsoever, despite the similar capabilities, Roku Ultra vs Fire TV are still very different devices. So, which model is better for the money? Find out below!
What we will discuss below include:
– The design and dimensions of each device
– The connectivity features of each device
– The remote control of each device
– The user interface of Roku Ultra vs Fire TV
– The performance comparison between these models
– Which TV streamer that is generally more recommended
From the design perspective, Roku Ultra vs Fire TV are very different. They are good-looking in their own ways. And they both have their own pros and cons in terms of design. See also: Mi Box vs Fire Stick.
Roku Ultra is quite bigger and larger. It measures 4.9 inches x 4.9 inches x 0.8 inches. It requires a small area near your TV dedicated specifically for it. The device also needs to be plugged to a power outlet, but the included power cable is quite simple to use.
This device comes in a rectangular shape with a flat top surface. It looks plain and simple, but the curved not-so-thick body creates a modern look. There is a light indicator on the front and a small purple Roku label on the side.
Fire TV, on the other hand, is much smaller and more compact. It measures 2.6 inches x 2.6 inches x 0.6 inches. The design is quite unique; the device has a pendant-like shape with an integrated HDMI cable. It is designed to be plugged directly to your TV.
However, the design may make it a bit tricky to place, as you probably don’t want to just let it hand on your TV’s HDMI port. In addition, it also needs to be connected to the included power adapter, which, in turn, should be plugged to a power outlet. The set-up process is somewhat not as straightforward.
Roku Ultra is actually the winner when it comes to connectivity. This device comes with a MicroSD slot, USB port, and Ethernet port. You can insert a memory card or plug a flash drive for additional storage. But the dedicated Ethernet port is the biggest advantage – you can easily connect the device to your home network without any adapter.
In addition, Roku Ultra vs Fire TV has built-in Wi-Fi which supports 802.11ac dual-band MIMO. So, the wireless performance is very good. With a good router and a reliable Internet service provider, this device can stream 4K content in high speed.
Fire TV comes with built-in Bluetooth 4.2 + LE, which enables a wireless connection to a smartphone or tablet that is capable of the technology. With the Bluetooth, you can mirror the screen of your smartphone or tablet to your television.
Fire TV also has built-in Wi-Fi that supports 802.11ac dual-band MIMO. However, it doesn’t have any memory card slot, and the Micro USB port is only for power. There is an optional Ethernet adapter which can be plugged to the Micro USB port if you need a stable wired Internet connection.
Roku Ultra’s remote control looks simple, but it is perfectly effective. It has a fully featured remote with a power button, a mute button, and volume controls. There are shortcuts for popular streaming services, which you probably use. The A and B gaming buttons are very basic, indeed, but still nice.
The best thing is the 3.5mm audio output port for private listening; you just need to plug your headset to the remote without having to deal with any complicated pairing process.There is a dedicated button for voice command. The voice command is great. Roku Ultra is able to understand long and complex queries, and the search results are generally accurate.
Fire TV’s remote control looks really streamlined. There is a dedicated voice command button, several control buttons, and a circular navigation pad with the select button on the center. You need to use voice command for volume control. Fire TV allows private listening via Bluetooth, so you need a Bluetooth-capable headset for that. Then again, the pairing process is a bit of a hassle.
But Fire TV still has one big advantage that may attract some homeowners: Alexa. This device is fully integrated with Alexa, so it is an excellent addition for a smart home system. You can use the voice command not only for finding films and TV programs, but also for many other things that you can do with Alexa.
Roku Ultra has a simple and intuitive user interface. Everything here is about “Channels” – in Roku Ultra, apps and streaming services are called channels. All of the channels that you use are synced with your Roku account, so they can stay updated. If you don’t want to spend too much money, there is the free Roku Channel which can give you a good amount of content.
Unfortunately, the user interface of Roku Ultra feels cheap because of the on-screen ads. It also doesn’t feel sophisticated. It has several cartoon-like images that you can use for the screen saver.
Fire TV has an interface that is a bit more complex, but it is still easy and intuitive to use. The design is beautiful, and the content is arranged neatly. There are various films, TV shows, and music available on Prime Video and Amazon Channels. It is not plagued by ads, hence the premium feel. For the screen saver, it has several beautiful photographs that you can use to fill up your television screen when not streaming.
The difference between these two models is quite significant. After all, they are designed for different things. Roku Ultra is almost entirely focused for streaming with just a small gaming aspect, whereas Fire TV is meant to serve not only streaming but also a full smart entertainment system.
Roku Ultra is only powered by an ARM Coretex A53 processor and 1GB RAM. This is definitely sufficient for streaming 4K content and HDR. However, the performance is not particularly blazing-fast. The internal storage is only 512MB.
Fire TV is quite a powerful unit. It is armed with the Amlogic S905Z processor, Mali-450 MP3 GPU, and 2GB RAM. With these components, the device can easily stream your favorite content in the highest quality. It is fast. It can easily run a variety of applications smoothly. Although this device doesn’t have a way to add external storage, the 16GB internal storage is quite spacious.
Roku Ultra vs Fire TV
These two devices have their own pros and cons. However, Fire TV is slightly more recommended because of the significantly higher processing power and Alexa integration. It also has a better user interface and Bluetooth LE.