There is no point in arguing that, if you are looking out for the best streaming players, the most sought-out options are Firestick and Roku.
At the surface, both of them come with similar features and, to a certain degree, similar spec sheets. You can plug them into any TV and have access to a wide range of awesome shows and films.
But, going deep into their marketing strategy, both the streaming players are more different than alike.
While Roku’s approach is to provide a simplistic UI and trying to hit every single segment of the market, Firestick has taken a completely different path.
They try to provide one of the most effective hardware options, along with a beautiful UI, focusing on aesthetics.
The sole idea behind this article is to make an in-depth review of the two streaming players so that you don’t have a hard time making the right decision.
In-Depth Comparison: Firestick Vs Roku
1) Ease of Use
Bear in mind that ease of use should be the most important aspect to look for while getting electronic equipment.
There is no point in having all the nifty features if you can’t access them in the first place. As far as Roku is concerned, if you are well versed in launching applications on your smartphone, you will do just fine.
The main windows consist of icons that are presented in a grid-like manner. So, one can easily quickly launch their favorite apps, such as Hulu and Netflix.
The channel store can also come in handy while setting up so that you can find all the popular streaming apps.
The Firestick menu, on the other hand, is clutter. All the favorite and recent apps are separately sorted on the main menu.
There is also s master app list, where you can find all the installed applications.
The home screen also consists of additional menus for the list of movies, TV shows, and recommendations. So, for ease of use, the credit goes to Roku.
2) Overall Interface
Firestick comes with a very visually appealing UI design. It looks very modern and polished while using. The only downside is that the Firestick tries to push its own contents to the general user.
For some, it might be annoying at times, but once you get accustomed to it, you can easily navigate around the interface to find your favorite show to binge-watch.
Roku, on the other hand, has a customizable interface. You can find all the channels in a list of scrollable manner.
In fact, you can even create channel shortcuts for the one that you heavily use.
Installation of third-party add-ons can also improve the overall functionality of Roku. So, for the overall interface, Roku takes the lead from Firestick.
3) Content Discovery
On the contrary of everything we have said so far, you can actually find Fie Stick far better than suggesting you with the contents of your preference.
Once you get past scrolling the app list, you can find rows of suggested movies and TV shows, that Firestick learns from your viewing order.
The majority of the recommendations actually comes from Amazon’s Prime videos, but you can also get suggestion from HBO and Netflix.
Such a feature can always come handy, especially if you are feeling indecisive.
Roku, on the other hand, has a more conservative approach to content discovery. There is only a featured free option, which lets you actually watch free movies and TV shows.
As far as the recommendation is concerned, you won’t be able to find anything that Netflix or Hulu has to offer.
You need to search through specific genre names before you can even find anything worth watching.
So, the majority of Hulu users stick to a particular app for their recommendation. In the domain of content discovery, Firestick is more advantageous than Hulu.
4) Web Browsing
Let me clear this out; regular web browsing with desktop-like experience is not at all possible with Hulu. As for Firestick is concerned, you can easily surf the internet through it.
Amazon provides two web browsing flavors. One is their own Silk browser, and the other one is Firefox.
Both the browsers are easily controllable using the Firestick remote, but still don’t expect too much on the web browsing side. So, here Firestick is a far better option where web browsing is concerned.
Whenever gaming on your streaming player is concerned, both Firestick and Roku provide decent titles.
But, if you are more inclined towards hardcore gaming with graphic-intensive titles, then Fire TV is a far better option for you.
You can easily find some of the best titles such as Minecraft, Star Wars, and Badland on Firestick.
The games that you find on Roku, are playable. But, it can hardly entertain you for half an hour.
As for popular PC titles are concerned, it is only possible through NVidia Shield. Well, that can be the topic for some other time.
As for the comparison, if you want to play games on your streaming player as well, then you should probably stick to Firestick.
6) Screen Mirroring
Screen mirroring is an option that can easily come in handy at times. The Miracast technology is built-in with all the Roku Devices.
For everyone unaware of the Miracast technology, it is nothing but the wireless version of HDMI. Some of the Miracast compatible devices include most Android devices along with Windows.
But the support for screen mirroring is long gone with Firestick. Some of the earlier versions of Firestick used to come with Miracast Technology, but not anymore.
You can’t find them on the latest Firestick or Firestick 4K. So, for this one, the point goes to Roku.
7) Voice Control
There is no point in a contest on this matter. We all know how Firesticks are well known for their voice control features.
Search by voice is available on both devices, but using Firestick, one can even launch music and videos directly from the app itself.
The voice control feature is applicable to more number of services in Firestick as compared to that of the Roku. One can even tune in to all the live channels.
Thanks to the ecosystem that Amazon has created based on Alexa. For example, if you have an Amazon Echo speaker, you can even use voice control, without the need for the remote.
Roku, in fact, also provides hands-free control, but it takes more of a learning curve with all the complicated syntax. With Alexa, you can practically converse with the voice assistant.
In the case of hardware, Firestick has always been a step ahead of Roku or any other streaming player for that matter.
The conservative approach of Roku makes it constrained to newer hardware. Now, it is the company’s way of launching its products.
As for Firestick’s entire lineup, it has been kept pretty minimal as well. There are currently three variants of Firestick on the market.
Whereas Roku offers six different streaming players making it more confusing for the end-user. Still, we would suggest not to go with the cheapest option from Roku.
9) User Flexibility
If you are someone who loves tinker with all of your tech products, Firestick is going to blow your heads off.
One of the main reasons includes, Firestick is based on Android. So, it comes with all the goodness of an open-source platform.
For starters, one can easily install sideload apps that are not available on the Amazon store. Using Kodi, one can easily use a Bluetooth controller and enjoy a whole new world of gaming experience.
Roku, on the other hand, is a closed system, which means it only comes with limited functionalities.
The only thing that one can do is install private channels, that don’t come from Roku’s store. With Firestick, you can even integrate with an OTA antenna, and the list just goes on.
10) Software Support
One of the other important aspects for which Roku is well renounced is its strong record of software support.
There are hardly any companies, which provide software support for old hardware dating back to 2014.
These devices are still receiving new apps and features as we are discussing. On the contrary, Firestick has not been around for as long as Roku.
But, they have still managed to cut off loose ends, leaving behind their older models. From the company’s perspective, that’s is great for promoting newer models.
But if you are someone who loves to stick to their electronic gadgets for a longer duration of time, Roku might be a better option for you.
But bear in mind, never apps are also starting to cut off their support from older hardware. For example, YouTube TV is no longer supported by the original Fire TV.
Firestick Vs Roku: Quick Comparison
|Features||Firestick / Roku|
|Ease of Use||Roku|
If you are in the dilemma, whether to for Firestick or Roku, then it all comes down to your personal preference.
For some might enjoy the simplistic approach of Roku, while others wanting to tweak their player would prefer Firestick.
Going through the overall list of comparisons, our recommendation is to go with Firestick. Certainly, there are a few learning curves, which you can easily get accustomed to over time.
Also see: How to use Kodi on Roku