Last Updated on 2 years by Amelia Johansson
Purchasing the best streaming device for you isn’t an easy task while you have two different and best choices. So, in today’s guide, we are going to discuss Roku VS Firestick as many people are still confused about which one to buy.
As you know I already have Firestick but recently I saw many people were looking for Roku as well. That’s why I also purchased it and then compare them with each other. You won’t believe how many different things I found in these two streaming devices.
Make sure to read the whole guide and read the comparison of both to easily get a suitable device for you. However, at the end of this article, I will also share my opinion about which device I love the most.
Things To Know Before Choosing
Before we move to the comparison section we have to learn what things we need in any streaming device. So, below is the list of some common features that we need to look at as these are the vital things that come with almost every device.
- The range for Remote Control.
- How much it costs?
- Does it play in 4K or UHD?
- Can it play games?
- The number of apps that come or a user can download from it.
- Does it support screen mirroring or not.
- Is it suitable for my TV?
- Does it come with voice commands?
- Will it work with the devices I already own?
These are some common things that we need to consider before making our choice. For example, if you already have a Google Home device and the streaming stick you purchased doesn’t support what you can do with it?
Similarly, check out everything like the price or the range of remote even though check which apps are supported there. Because these two are different devices so the compatibility or the availability will surely be the different.
Roku VS Firestick
After checking all these things now we are ready to know what we need in a streaming device. So, here is the complete comparison guide between Roku and Firestick.
First, we are going to talk about Roku and after this, we will talk about Firestick. In the end, you can see the comparison table for a quick review. Also, at the end of this article, I will share my vote so first let’s check out the complete comparison.
Roku is a streaming device that was founded in 2008 and is owned by Roku inc. It comes with Roku OS which is based on Linux. This comes with a variety of channels that are already included while others can be also downloaded from the Store.
Rokus comes with three different devices that are Roku Express, Roku Premiere & Roku Streaming Stick+. The price variants are also different as Express is a low-budget device with minimal features while Streaming Stick+ is their flagship device.
Roku Express: It is a low-end device with minimum features like it only stream in HD the remote is also simple with no voice command. The price is very cheap that anyone can afford and with the box, you will get 2 AAA batteries, 1 HDMI Cable, 1 Roku Express Stick, 1 remote & USB Power Cable.
Roku Premiere: This is the mid-range device that also comes with a simple remote with no voice command that is quite unsatisfactory. However, it supports streaming of HD, FHD, 4K, and 4K Ultra. With the box, you get 2 AAA batteries, 1 Power Adapter & USB Cable, HDMI cable, Remote with pre-set popular channels.
Roku Streaming Stick+: It is their flagship streaming device so no doubt price is quite high. They offer an advanced remote control with a dedicated shortcut key of famous channels other than this it has a voice command button as well as a volume control key with the dedicated mute key. It is useful for Wall-Mounted TVs because it has a Power Adapter and an extender cable.
We are going to compare Roku Streaming Stick+ with the Firestick 4K which is the flagship device of Amazon. However, we also talk about their mid-range devices so if you don’t have enough money you can go with it.
- Supports Streaming of HD, FHD, 4K, and 4K Ultra.
- Advanced Remote with Voice Command and Dedicated Volume Keys.
- Shortcut Keys to Launch Popular Channels.
- It offers a USB extender which is best for Wall-Mounted TV.
- Has the best Range for Bluetooth and WiFi.
- Remote Comes with Headphone Jack.
- Some Popular Apps are Pre-Installed.
- Easy to Use and Simple Home Screen.
- Can be Controlled with Roku Remote App.
- Comes with Apps that offer thousands of Free Movies & TV Shows.
- It can be used To Play various Video Games.
- Limited Number of Applications Available.
- Cannot Jailbreak to Install 3rd-party apps.
- Screen Mirroring is Limited
- Doesn’t Support Dolby Vision.
Roku comes with 3 different devices having their own features and some benefits as well. Their pricing plans start from 30$ which is their low-end device. While their flagship device having all these features comes with $49.99. Furthermore, you can check out the screenshot attached below for complete pricing information about these devices.
Amazon Firestick is also the best streaming device that was launched on Nov 9 2014 and it was the first generation named as Fire TV Stick. After that, they launch a new device on OCT 20 2016 which is their second generation and the latest 3rd-generation Firestick 4K is released on OCT 31 2018.
It comes with the FireOS which is based on Android so no doubt we have millions of apps already available to download. However, the 1st gen is no longer working as it is too old so we get only two options 2nd gen and 4K. The 3rd-generation of this device is the flagship as it has almost everything that a user requires to stream their favorite content.
First Generation: This was the first release of the Fire TV Stick is budget-friendly but with minimal features. It comes with 1GB of Ram and a total of 8GB of internal storage for downloading apps or games. Even though it has a Broadcom processor running at 1.0 GHz Cortex-A9 while it only supports 1080p resolution.
Second Generation: It is their mid-range device that has many new and advanced features like remote with Voice Commands Alexa. Other than this they also change the processor and now it has a Mediatek MT8127D Quad-core ARM 1.3 GHz processor along with 1GB of RAM. It has the latest Bluetooth 4.1 and supports streaming of 1080p. Instead of this, it is re-released in 2019 and now it has the remote control same as Firestick 4K.
Firestick 4K: This is the last and the high-end device with almost every feature that should need like a Remote with Alexa Voice Command and streaming resolution of 1080p, 4K, HDR10+ along with the Dolby Vision. The processor is also upgraded and now it runs on Mediatek 1.7 GHz quad-core processor along with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.
- Supports Video Streaming of 4K, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
- Upgraded Remote with Alexa Voice Command Feature.
- It Runs FireOS 6 that is Android 7.1 Nougat.
- HDMI extender to use it on-wall-mounted TV’s.
- Amazon App Store To Download Thousands of streaming Apps.
- Supports Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other famous apps.
- Comes with Famous Channels Installed.
- The Bluetooth range is too Good.
- It has Dual Band WiFi to get the best speed even if the router is far.
- Bluetooth v5.0 + LE
- Supports Screen Mirroring.
- Jailbreak to Install Apps from the 3rd-party source.
- Many free apps are available to watch Free Movies, TV Shows, Live TV, etc.
- Supports various free games directly from the App Store.
- It has a limited amount of Storage means only fewer apps can be stored.
- When using a lot it overheats.
- Need some work on Alexa Voice Command.
- A lot of promotion for Amazon Prime
If we talk about the price then it is quite affordable because the Roku Express has minimal features as compared to Firestick 2nd gen. However 2nd generation Fire TV has some advanced and latest features at a similar price tag. But the Fire TV Stick 4K is quite expensive because of its advanced features and supports of HDR10+ & Dolby Vision. To learn more about price just check out the screenshot attached below.
Comparison Between Roku & Fire TV Stick
Now after checking out the quick guide between these two amazing streaming devices let’s compare them with each other. We are going to talk about in-depth comparisons like the layout, screen support, apps option, speed, and so on.
So, without wasting any further time first check out Roku as after this we will write about Firestick.
Roku Streaming Stick+
The first thing that almost everyone should check before buying any streaming device is the hardware specification because it is the only thing that we can get an idea if the device runs smooth or laggy. So, with Roku Streaming Stick+ you will get a total RAM of 1GB which is quite unsatisfactory as we cannot do multitasking.
Instead of this, it has 256MB for the channels while has 512MB of internal storage to download other apps on Roku. It also has the ARM Cortex A53 processor along with OpenGL ES 2.0 accelerated graphics as it supports the total resolution of 3840 x 2160 at the rate of 60 frames per second. Furthermore, Roku Streaming Stick+ offers the support of HDR10.
It has the nice and the simplest user-interface ever, however, Roku also allows users to change the position of any particular app. You can easily bring Netflix or Hulu on the top of the list or simply at first, instead of this from the left-side you can easily find free movies or TV shows just by going to Featured Free.
If any app or movie isn’t listed there then using the Search option from the left menu can help to find things easier. Instead of this, we can also search for a movie or a song directly by typing the actor’s name or the name of that artist.
Remote is another thing that we need to consider because with this we can easily navigate from one place to another. So, with Roku Streaming Stick+ you will get a remote with a dedicated voice command button which is not available on other devices.
This voice command is actually Google Voice Assistant so to use it you have to say on Roku at the end. For example “Open Netflix on Roku” and other commands by saying Roku at the end.
Instead of this, it has volume control keys along with the mute button that is attached to the side of the remote. Another thing that you can find in Roku remote is the shortcut key for various applications like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Sling TV, etc.
Now the last thing is the app selection because this is the reason why we are buying Roku. So, it has a vast choice of channels that are already installed. These apps include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, ABC, and so on.
However, it also offers some free content but you may see some advertisements there. Including this recently Roku added a channel for Kids too. We can also download apps from the private library by just inserting the code and it will be installed automatically.
Amazon Firestick 4K
With the Firestick device, you get some advanced and latest hardware specifications. So, here you will get the MediaTek 4x ARM Cortex-A53 1.7GHz processor for a smoother app toggle. Even though it also has 2GB of RAM and a total of 8GB of internal storage to download other apps.
Instead of this with FireTV you get the support of Bluetooth 5.0 + LE and has 802.11ac dual-band WiFi to provide a strong network even the router is far away. If we talk about streaming then FireTV supports the video streaming of 4K at the rate of 60 frames per second. It also supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision which is missing on Roku.
The Home Screen or the layout of Firestick is quite updated and fancy at all but navigating from an app to another app is a little bit hard. However, in the first row, you can find the most used apps that are already listed according to your usage.
But don’t worry as we can also bring our favorite applications in the first row to easily open. On the above, you can see Settings, Search, Apps, and other sorts of menus to customize your device. Just like Roku, you won’t get any free channel but the promotion of Amazon Prime all over.
Just like the remote of Roku Streaming Stick+, Firestick 4K also supports the voice command which is Alexa. We can open any application or play any movie or TV show without using the navigation key as we can simply say “Alexa, Open Netflix” or “Alexa, Play Money Heist on Netflix” it saves a lot of our time.
There is a little bit drawback as the Firestick remote doesn’t have any dedicated volume or mute key which is quite disappointed. For this, you have to purchase their new remote separately and instead of this it also doesn’t provide a shortcut key just like Roku does. Overall the performance is too good and it can be used from some distance without any trouble.
Now comes the major part of this article which is the app selection so unlike Roku it doesn’t have many pre-installed apps. But comes with a few apps and others that can be downloaded from the Amazon App Store and no doubt it has hundreds of famous TV channels to be downloaded. It supports almost all channels like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Spectrum, Vudu, and so on.
But the best part is we can also sideload apps that are not available on the Amazon Store. Just because it’s based on Android means we already have millions of free apps to use. The process of sideloading apps is called Jailbreak and with this, we can install some famous apps like TeaTV, Kodi, Cinema HD, and so on.
Fire Stick VS Roku Data Usage
It is not new that Firestick and Roku both require an active internet connection to stream content. But have you ever wondered how much data do these streaming devices consume? Well here is the quick overview that I figure out after using them at the same time for 1 month.
So, I have been using the Fire TV Stick since the first launch but after they launch 4K device I immediately purchased it. But then I notice I am consuming too much data as compared to a previous time and then I notice it is because of the resolution as I was streaming at 4K.
However, after purchasing Roku I use it for two weeks and I receive a warning from my ISP that I have used 80% of my data. This is totally weird as I have a 300GB package installed so how can I consume 80% in just weeks. Then after using both devices on two different WiFi networks I figured out that the Roku is consuming way more data than the Firestick.
No matter if you are using it or not, it will still consume data and this is the reason why I face 80% usage issue. You can also solve this issue just by unplugging it while not using but still I am afraid of using it because I don’t want to run out of data in just weeks.
No doubt both of these devices are beneficial but the Roku is way easier than firestick. But it doesn’t end here because the Winner of this Roku VS Firestick battle is no doubt FireTV Stick. Because it has the latest and the fancy user-interface which is a little bit annoying but it’s Ok.
Another reason is the video playback resolution since it runs at 4K at the rate of 60 frames per second and also supports HDR10+ as well as Dolby Vision. Hardware specs are also high in this device as it has 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory along with a 1.7Ghz ARM-Cortex processor.
My vote goes to Firestick and I would also recommend you to go with this if you don’t want any restriction and want to use the device on your own.
I am personally using Firestick because I am using Kodi and other apps to stream free movies and TV shows. Other than this I also own Roku and I sometimes use it as well because it has free channels and some kid’s shows.