Now that Logitech is getting out of the universal remote business, we're all going to have to get serious about the remote controls that come with our devices. Let us start, then, with the brand-new Alexa Voice Remote (it's the third-generation model), for use with Amazon Fire TV. It's shipping now with the mid-range Amazon Fire TV Stick for $39, and available on its own for $29. (We'll let you do the math there, but do remember that the Fire TV Stick doesn't do 4K video.)
It is, to put it plainly, the best Alexa Voice Remote Amazon has made thus far. It's also not a huge departure from the second-gen remote that came before it. It's perhaps a tad smaller — not so much that you'd notice without really looking. And like the second-gen remote, it still has all the TV controls, the better to power things on and off with, my dear. (Same for controlling volume.)
The biggest visual differences are the addition of a teal Alexa button instead of a generic microphone for voice control (that must have been a serious "ah ha!" moment for someone), along with four branded shortcut buttons at the bottom. The first generation of the third-generation remote has shortcuts for Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu. And it wouldn't surprise us to find different shortcuts on different remotes as it trickles out to more Fire TV devices. (Roku, which also has branded shortcuts on its remotes, has bounced back and forth between whomever is willing to pay.)
There's also a new button that looks like a TV with an antenna, which is both dating myself as well as whomever designed this thing. Anyone under the age of 40 probably has no idea what that means. But the end result is you have one-touch access to free live channels that are available on Amazon Fire TV, be it through Amazon Fire TV Recast, which connects an over-the-air antenna to your Fire TV and allows for recording — or it will show channels from a supported live TV streaming service like YouTube TV. The whole thing looks like a live guide, which is nice enough. But clicking through to a show currently on YouTube TV opens the channel up inside YouTube TV. So it's really a shortcut button that's send you to a shortcut guide for the YouTube TV app. But that's splitting hairs.
A couple pieces of fine print worth noting: You'll need a newish Fire TV device to use this remote. Specifically, the Fire TV Stick Lite, second-gen Fire TV Stick and later, the Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, or the third-generation pendant-shaped Amazon Fire TV. Anything older is off the table.
All that is to say this: There's a new Alexa Voice Remote for Amazon Fire TV that works almost exactly like the last one. It has a few new buttons, but pretty much nothing you couldn't figure out on your own. It's a nearly identical shape — there's the slightest rounding of the edges compared to the previous model, but probably not anything someone who doesn't write about $29 remotes for a living would notice.
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