REVIEW: All-New Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote Pro – Is It Worth It?
In September, Amazon announced its new Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote Pro, the first standalone remote option for Fire TV devices.
At $34.99, it isn’t cheap; at the time of this review, it is the same price as the current promotional price of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max ($34.99), and $10 more than the Fire TV Stick 4K ($24.99) – which are full on streaming devices. However, in comparison to the Alexa Voice Remote that comes with Fire TV devices, it has some worthwhile upgrades.
The new remote comes with two user-customizable buttons, along with one-tap access to connect a pair of bluetooth headphones. The most noticeable difference though is that the buttons on the remote are backlit, meaning that you can easily find them in the dark.
Alexa Voice Remote Pro Features
- Backlit Remote Buttons
- Remote Finder
- Dedicated Headphone Button
- TV Controls
- Alexa Quick Access Button
If this remote was closer to $15-20, it would be an easier decision to upgrade your set-up. But, at its current price, we will explain who it is really designed for and whether you should get it.
What’s In The Box
Alexa Voice Remote Pro
The device comes in a small orange box, which includes just three things: The remote itself, two AAA batteries, and instructions on how to pair the device.
When you first unwrap the device, you’ll notice that it is barely longer than the original Alexa Voice Remote, but slightly shorter than the one that comes with the latest Fire TV Cube. The sides of the remote are squared off, while the back is still rounded giving it a much better feel in your hand than the remote that comes with Fire TV devices.
The remote has shortcut buttons for four streaming apps by default: Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu, along with two customizable buttons.
Unlike the Roku Voice Remote Pro, which has the major benefit of being rechargeable, the Alexa Voice Remote Pro still uses two-AAA batteries, this would be my biggest knock on the device. In our review of the Roku Voice Remote Pro, which costs $29.99, we said one of the biggest reasons you could justify spending that much is that you didn’t need to buy batteries.
With the device, you’ll find a user guide, that shows set-up instructions for whether you have another Fire TV remote or not.
Alexa Voice Remote Pro
Before you purchase, you should make sure your Fire TV device is compatible. While it should work with most Fire TV devices, there are some exceptions including Fire TV (1st and 2nd Gen), Fire TV Stick (1st Gen), Element Fire TV Edition, Insignia HD/Insignia FHD, and Hisense U6HF 4K ULED Fire TV Series.
If you have a Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen or Later), Fire TV (3rd Gen), and most Fire TV Smart TVs, you should have no problems. A full list of compatible devices is available here.
When you’re ready to set up the device, there are easy instructions in the box.
First, you will tap the “Home” button once on the new remote. Then, on your original remote, you will navigate to the “Settings” menu and choose “Controllers & Bluetooth Devices > Amazon Fire TV Remotes > Add New Remote.” All you have to do is select the new remote from the list and you’ll see that it has successfully been paired.
If you don’t have the original remote that came with your Fire TV, the instructions provide simple steps for set-up as well.
First, the remote has two of the same features that most Alexa Voice Remotes that come with Fire TV Devices have — the ability to “Press and ask Alexa” and TV controls, so you can control power and volume on your TV.
But what makes it different? There are four major features that come with the Alexa Voice Remote Pro that aren’t available on their other devices.
This is far and away my favorite feature of the Alexa Voice Remote Pro. In almost every review I’ve done of a streaming device, I’ve begged and pleaded that they add backlit buttons to the remote.
As someone who frequently falls asleep watching TV, having the ability to easily see the buttons is huge. The fact that the Roku Voice Remote Pro didn’t have this feature was my biggest knock on that device when reviewing it last year.
The backlit buttons are motion-activated and which will turn on automatically when you turn the lights off – and it works perfectly as expected. I would almost consider paying the $35 if the Alexa Voice Remote Pro ONLY had this feature.
Another feature that has been available on Roku remotes for years is the ability to easily find a missing remote. Now the feature comes to Fire TV devices for the first time.
To activate it, your Alexa device, Alexa Voice Remote Pro, and Fire TV all must be reset to the same account. The Alexa Voice Remote Pro must also be within 30 feet of the paired Fire TV device.
To find a missing remote, you just say “Find my remote” to any Amazon device with Alexa, the Alexa app, or the Fire TV app. Within 30 seconds, the Alexa Voice Remote Pro will ring for up to five minutes, until you press one of the buttons when you find it.
One thing to know though is if your Fire TV device is connected to your TV via the USB port, instead of the power adapter, this feature might not work if your TV is powered off.
The Alexa Voice Remote Pro comes with two customizable buttons. You can use these buttons to set up quick access to your favorite apps or Alexa commands.
To set it up, you press and hold the customizable button for five seconds. You can choose an app, Alexa Voice command, or select “More actions” from a side panel. “More actions” includes categories of additional options that you can use to customize the buttons.
Roku remotes have had this for the last few generations and I never found this feature particularly useful outside of setting a frequently used app that isn’t one of the preset options. I think it’s a little different though on this because of its ability to work with your Smart Home. I could see this being particularly useful for controlling your lights or accessing your Ring camera if you have it set up with Alexa.
Wireless Headphone Pairing
The last difference with the remote is that it has a quick access button to pair wireless headphones. While it is as simple as being able to plug-in headphones like in a Roku remote, if you frequently use private listening this reduces the clicks to just two.
Alexa Voice Remote Pro
Should You Buy It?
Cost aside, the Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote Pro is a much better remote than what comes in the box with your Fire TV device. It feels much more substantial in your hand with the squared sides and rounded back, and doesn’t have the cheap plastic feel that streaming remotes often do.
As I said earlier, to me the killer feature is the backlit buttons, which isn’t available on any other streaming remote — including the $59.99 Siri Voice Remote that comes with the Apple TV 4K.
When you add in the “Lost Remote” feature and the ability to customize buttons, there is a lot to like about the Alexa Voice Remote Pro. My biggest knocks on the device come down to two things: lack of rechargeable batteries and price.
For a Pro remote, you shouldn’t need to change batteries. Both Apple’s Siri Remote and Roku’s Voice Remote Pro offer the ability to recharge the remote, without having to swap AAA batteries every few months.
But, to me, the thing that might keep people away is the price. At $34.99, this is just too expensive for what you get. If it was $14.99-19.99, I could see why every Fire TV owner might want to add this to their setup.
The good news is, just like Fire TV devices, which retail for $40 to $55, but are often dropped to half the price, I wouldn’t be surprised if the price of this drops over time. But, if you’re ready to upgrade, the Alexa Voice Remote Pro starts shipping today.