Amazon has announced a new remote which will work across its Fire TV streaming devices, such as the Fire TV Cube we recently reviewed, which you can read here.
The Alexa Voice Remote Pro is similar in design to the included remotes with Fire TV streaming sticks but it is also different with some additional features which don’t come with the standard remote included usually.
What’s in the box?
In the box, you get the remote, two AAA Batteries and the usual instruction booklets.
The Alexa Voice Remote Pro buttons are flatter than the previous range, which have a power button at the top left, a microphone in the middle top with right-hand side housing a new headphones button.
Underneath these buttons is the large circular navigation pad with the inner circular button. When tapped, this activates the LED lights, which in turn lights up the buttons on the remote, which I found useful. Beneath the navigation button are the standard menu and playback controls buttons, alongside the volume and channel buttons and setting buttons.
There are also two new programmable buttons where you can program the buttons as shortcuts to your favourite services and more such as:
- Weather updates
- Turning on your IoT devices such as smart lights
- Opening streaming apps like Amazon Music, Amazon Kids, Amazon Photos, Amazon Silk (web browser), IMDb TV, News, Prime Video, YouTube or Netflix
- Actions such as Go to Guide, Watchlist, Notifications, My Stuff, Profiles, Music or Photos
I’ll admit some confusion why you can set the programmable shortcut buttons to go Netflix, Amazon Music or Prime video because there are already shortcut buttons that cover this. It makes sense to use this as a shortcut to other streaming services like Paramount+, ABC iView, Stan, 9now, just to name a few others and something I am suggesting Amazon look at for any future updates.
There are also dedicated Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix and Amazon Music buttons which will take you right into these apps without the need to do this from the home screen.
The rear is where you will find the cover, which just slides down and out to be able to put in the batteries.
The top is where you will find the IR blaster to be able to turn off your smart TV or Fire TV Cube, and the bottom is where you will find the speaker, which sounds with a ringing tone when you lose the remote — simply say “Alexa find my remote — so you can find it again.
What’s it good at?
The back-lit buttons of the Fire TV Pro remote are a great touch, it’s not necessary but a lovely touch and increases usability.
As mentioned, i If you lose the remote, you can just say “Alexa, find my remote” to locate it easily. Whether you have a Fire TV Cube, an Echo smart speaker, a smart display or the free Fire TV app, you can also find the remote this way.
The Bluetooth button on the remote allows you to pair wireless earbuds or headphones so you don’t disturb anyone late at night or early in the morning. The bonus is that you can also drown out the noise around you if you don’t want to blast the sound up.
What’s it not so good at?
The one thing I did notice with the Fire TV Pro remote compared to the normal Fire TV remote, is that there is no recent button. While it’s not a deal breaker, if you’re upgrading an use this heavily on the previous model then you’ll be in for a bit of a learning curve. It would be nice to be able to use the programmable buttons, but it seems as though they’re only able to access app shortcuts to Amazon Music, Prime Video and Netflix.
If you have a 1st or 2nd generation Fire Stick TV and want a Voice Remote Pro, you’re out of luck. It simply will not work with these generations of streaming devices, a disappointment absolutely, but also somewhat understandable, pushing buyers to update hardware and increase functionality.
If you are hoping for a 3.5mm audio jack within the remote, you will be greatly disappointed. While — again understandable — it would be nice to connect old-school headphones, technologies have come to a point where wireless is the only way to go.
You cannot activate Alexa on the remote through the usual “Alexa” vocal trigger; you need to press the Alexa button for the remote to activate Alexa. Whilst this wasn’t an issue given the Echo smart speakers I have, if you’re not in that position, it could be an issue if you want Alexa to turn on your TV or open an app without physical input.
Should you consider buying one?
While I enjoyed some of the additional features, such as the back-lit buttons and the find my remote option, I feel there isn’t enough reason to upgrade if you own a Fire TV device. Particularly if you own a Non-Fire TV Cube, as whilst it will work on older Fire TV streaming devices, the fine my remote is mainly limited to the Fire TV Cube, the app or an Echo enabled smart speaker or smart display.
Also, the price – $59.00 – isn’t too bad, but the only reason I would possibly upgrade over the included remote, is to have a spare device but otherwise, the other included remotes would be still enough to be able to use your Fire TV streaming dongles. It would have been a more compelling offer to include in the Fire TV Cube over the standard remote, or an upgrade at the point of sale.
The Alexa Voice Remote Pro can be purchased from the Amazon Australian website for $59.