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This Fire TV Stick 4K Max review is more of a preview than a test drive. In it, we go over the features and improvements that come with the latest version of the Amazon 4K Fire Stick. We also compare this brand-new Amazon 4K streaming stick to its immediate predecessor.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Maxreplaces the 2020 Fire TV Stick 4K. As naming systems go, adding a Max to the name of the 2020 model may seem like the marketing team phoned it in. Did the design team put a little more effort into setting the latest 4K Fire Stick apart from its predecessor? Let’s jump into our Fire TV Stick 4K Max review and find out.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max Review: Unboxing and first looks
Streaming sticks are usually compact, with the form factor of a large dongle or USB stick. This means that your package will be more or less the same size as a package that holds a new phone. Here’s what you get when you take the Fire TV Stick 4K Max out of the box:
The streaming stick is a compact plastic device that’s about four inches long and an inch wide. Depending on the layout of your TV inputs, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max may take up a lot of space if you connect it directly. That’s why there’s an option to use an HDMI extension cable for a neater install. You’ll find the cable in the package that contains the streaming stick.
There’s a micro-USB port on one side of the streaming stick that connects to the power cable.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max Review: Chipset, storage, memory, and connectivity
Amazon advertises the Fire TV Stick 4K Max as “40 percent more powerful” than the previous model. The vendor backs up their claim in the following ways:
1. CPU and GPU
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max carries a quad-core 1.8 GHz CPU, an upgrade on the 1.7 GHz clock speed of the previous model. This version of the Amazon 4K Firestick also has a faster GPU that clocks in at 750MHz, compared to the 650 MHz clock speed of the 2020 model.
2. RAM and storage
The manufacturer also upgraded the RAM from 1.5GB in the previous model to 2GB in the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. At 8GB for both models of 4K streaming stick, storage is the only aspect of the hardware that remains the same.
All these numbers sound impressive, but what do they mean in practice?
3. How the hardware improves performance
For starters, an increase in processing power gets rid of sluggish, choppy transitions as you navigate the Fire TV interface. A faster CPU and GPU also mean faster, smoother streaming and an improvement in picture quality. WiFi 6 capability allows the Fire TV Stick 4K Max to make the most out of your high-speed internet connection.
With the right 4K TV, speedy internet, and the latest Amazon streaming stick, you get to enjoy the best that 4K and HDR content has to offer.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max has a male HDMI connector that allows you to attach it directly to your TV. You could also use an HDMI extension cable for a neater install. With the streaming stick in place, connect it to a power source, and you’re good to go.
The Fire TV interface should automatically appear if the streaming steak is the only input currently connected to your screen. Connect the stick to your WiFi network and go through the guided setup until you get to the home screen.
Operating the Fire TV Stick 4K Max: Interface
Fire TV works best in an Amazon ecosystem, meaning that you get more out of the streaming stick with a paid Amazon account. Membership gives you access to content from Prime Video and Prime Music, in addition to other perks. Still, the interface will work perfectly well with a free Amazon account.
Your Fire OS home screen is a grid of streaming apps and productivity tools to get you through your day. Fire TV will learn your viewing habits and use the data to create a custom menu. The menu will also feature suggestions that the OS thinks will tickle your fancy. Expect these suggestions to push lots of Amazon offerings.
1. Apps and content
Fire TV offers a nice selection of native and third-party apps, allowing you to personalize your user experience. You have your choice of streaming apps, including favorites like Hulu, Twitch, and Netflix. There’s also a generous offering of Alexa skills at your disposal. Speaking of Alexa:
2. Alexa and your smart home devices
You can talk to Alexa by pressing the microphone button on the remote that ships with the Firestick. For a hands-free experience, link the Fire TV Stick 4K Max with a smart speaker that’s compatible with Alexa.
The smart assistant lets your TV act as a control center for compatible smart home devices.
The most convenient functionality the Fire TV Stick 4K Max offers is picture-in-picture mode. This feature is useful when you want a live feed from your Ring home security devices. It allows you to watch your front door as you catch your favorite show.
3. User experience
Look forward to a responsive interface that seems to anticipate your commands. The powerful chipset of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max makes for smooth transitions and apps that load instantly. Streaming and gameplay are immersive, thanks to good speeds and good picture quality.
Operating the Fire TV Stick 4K Max: Controlling the TV
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max allows you to control your display’s power and volume functions. This is a valuable feature that keeps you from juggling two remotes. However, you’ll still need the TV remote whenever you need to make adjustments to the on-screen settings of your display.
Support for different audio and video formats
No matter the content you want to stream, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max has you covered. From HDR10+ to Dolby Vision to audio that comes in Dolby Atmos, this streaming stick processes and executes whatever you throw at it.
- Picture-in-picture mode lets you put the feed of your Amazon Ring home security on a corner of your screen
- You can control the power and volume function of the TV directly from the Fire TV Stick 4K Max
- Improvements in the memory and processor speed make for a smoother, more enjoyable user experience
- Streaming sticks may be compact compared to streaming boxes, but they often require an extension cable for a neater, more flexible install
- The Picture-in-picture mode for your home security setup only works seamlessly within an Amazon ecosystem like Ring
- There are limits to the support that Fire TV offers for Google Applications and content
Fire TV Stick 4K Max review verdict: Is the Fire TV Stick 4K Max worth a second look?
The main selling points in this latest version of the Amazon 4K streaming stick are speed and power. Thanks to increased processing power, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max promises a smoother experience as you navigate Fire TV. The processing power also makes for a smoother, more enjoyable experience for gameplay and other fast-action content.
Support for WiFi 6 adds to the overall experience by allowing you to take full advantage of a good internet connection. This streaming stick lets you stream high-quality 4K content without the stutter of an overwhelmed processor or spotty internet.
In a nutshell, this Fire TV Stick 4K Max review finds that the streaming stick is an outright upgrade. It gets rid of the little kinks you find in its predecessor. If you operate in the Amazon ecosystem and are in the market for a high-performance streaming stick, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a good idea. Click here to learn more about this device.