Fire TV Stick 4K Review (2023): The middle child

Microsoft
By Microsoft 11 Min Read
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At first sight

Expert analysis

Professionals

Mostly easy efficiency Some helpful options for content material discovery Compact distant management

Against

Limited cupboard space Chaotic menu system Screensaver accommodates adverts

Our verdict

It’s not Amazon’s finest 4K streaming participant, nevertheless it’s the most affordable.

Price at time of evaluate

$49.99

Today’s finest costs: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2023)

Retail worth

$49.99 View the offer Price comparability from over 24,000 shops worldwide Product Price Backmarket Price Comparison

The Fire TV Stick 4K straddles a skinny line in Amazon’s lineup of streaming gadgets. Not Amazon’s finest streaming dongle (that may be $60 Fire TV Stick 4K max) nor its finest worth dongle (the $40 Fire TV Stick). But at $50, it is Amazon’s least expensive streaming gadget with 4K HDR video assist, and its closest competitor Roku streaming stick 4K AND Chromecast with Google TV.

It’s a reliable possibility for many who recognize Amazon’s streaming capabilities and might’t stand sub-4K video. But for simply $10 extra, the 4K Max is a greater purchase total, providing extra storage, additional distant management options, and nothing Annoying screensaver ads. Occupying the middle floor has its trade-offs.

Voice search on the Fire TV Stick 4K is efficient for locating particular motion pictures or reveals, launching apps, and tuning into reside channels on supported streaming companies.

Design and specs

The second-generation Fire TV Stick 4K has a rounded design to differentiate it from Amazon’s earlier streaming dongles, although it appears to be like similar to the Max. It plugs into the HDMI slot of any trendy TV, so you should use it rather than a wise TV’s built-in software program or add intelligence to a dumb TV.

This evaluate is a part of TechHive’s in-depth protection of the best media streamers.

Amazon says the brand new Fire TV Stick 4K is 30% sooner. his predecessorand though it’s much less highly effective than the Max e Fire TV Cube, it has the identical 2GB of RAM, and it is arduous to note a lot distinction when launching apps or leaping from menu to menu. At worst, you might discover an occasional hitch when loading a menu, however the gadget feels quick and easy more often than not.

A notable step down from Amazon’s dearer streamers: The Fire TV Stick 4K solely has 8GB of storage, of which about 5GB is usable. If you put in numerous apps, you’ll run out of cupboard space and whereas Amazon launched an “Auto Download” feature. which might liberate house as wanted, had not been applied on our Fire TV Stick 4K on the time of this evaluate.

origin 1The Fire TV Stick 4K connects to your TV’s HDMI port and receives energy through a Micro-USB cable.

Jared Newman/Foundry

Wi-Fi 6 is a slight step up from the unique Fire TV Stick 4K. If you will have a Wi-Fi 6 routerit is going to be higher at dealing with many simultaneous connections, together with the streaming dongle, however take into account that streaming companies do not require something near the theoretical most speeds supplied by Wi-Fi 6.

As earlier than, the Fire TV Stick 4K helps HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision HDR, together with Dolby Atmos for object-based encompass sound. Unlike the primary technology mannequin, the brand new Fire TV Stick 4K helps AV1, which some companies (including Netflix) use to scale back bandwidth necessities for video streaming. Bluetooth audio stays accessible for pairing wi-fi headphones or earbuds.

And sure, Amazon streaming dongles still uses Micro-USB for power. If you need to join exterior USB equipment, reminiscent of storage drives, an Ethernet port, or wired sport controllers, you may want a USB-OTG adapter.

A medium sized distant management

origin 1Remote controls in contrast: Fire TV Stick 4K (left) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K Max (proper)

Jared Newman/Foundry

The second-generation Fire TV Stick 4K has the identical distant as its non-4K counterpart, with fundamental navigation and playback buttons together with the TV’s quantity and energy controls. There’s additionally an Alexa button for voice management, a reside TV button that switches to Fire TV Grid Guideand 4 non-programmable shortcuts (for Prime Video, Netflix, DirecTV, and Peacock).

Amazon does an excellent job with audio and TV management, as all the time, asking on your TV’s producer throughout setup and utilizing a collection of directions to program the right quantity and energy controls. The distant may also management exterior soundbars and A/V receivers, through HDMI-CEC or IR. (Roku’s rival streaming remotes, specifically, do not assist the latter.)

However, this is not Amazon’s most full distant. Both the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Fire TV Cube remotes have a number of extra buttons, together with a channel flipper, a latest apps switcher, and a shortcut to the settings menu. The firm additionally sells a $35 Professional voice remote control with extra options, together with backlit keys, distant search operate and customizable buttons. That stated, the Fire TV Stick 4K’s distant is a bit smaller and extra handy, so it is perhaps preferable for those who do not care about these additional options.

The software program expertise

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Jared Newman/Foundry

As all the time, Amazon’s Fire TV software program combines helpful content material discovery options with a irritating quantity of sponsored and self-promotional materials.

Shortcuts to your six favourite apps are on the prime of the house display screen, and you’ll see all of your apps through a button on the suitable aspect, however scroll down and Amazon begins recommending content material from a variety of streaming companies. There’s a “Continue Watching” row to select up the place you left off, a useful “Next for you” row for personalised film and present suggestions, a row of reside streaming channels, and extra. (For now, the Continue Watching line solely helps Amazon video companies, however different companies will, too start coming on board later this year.)

origin 1The “Next for you” line suggests issues to look at primarily based on previous viewings.

Jared Newman/Foundry

The common information idea makes numerous sense, however Amazon’s model makes you are feeling such as you’re all the time underselling one thing. Accessing the record of latest apps requires scrolling previous a banner advert, and at one level in my testing, 33% of the primary 12 traces on Amazon’s house display screen have been sponsored (41% for those who rely Amazon’s self-promotion for Prime Video). None of those traces are even customizable; so when you may desire rows of Netflix or Max content material on the prime, you may’t reorder them or cover rows you do not care about.

Amazon has some helpful options elsewhere in its interface. The “Live” part is nice, with a customizable information grid that helps a variety of free and paid streaming sources, and the “Free” part is a helpful aggregator of ad-supported content material. You’ll additionally discover some genre-based suggestions hidden within the Fire TV search menu.

origin 1The Fire TV Guide aggregates a number of reside streaming sources into one menu.

Jared Newman/Foundry

Voice search additionally stays efficient for locating particular motion pictures or reveals, launching apps, and tuning into reside channels on supported streaming companies. You can all the time say “watch (film or present title)” to go straight to the video. If it is accessible on a couple of streaming service, Fire TV will present you choices so you may select one.

origin 1Search for a film or present and you may see all of the viewing choices.

Jared Newman/Foundry

The result’s a menu system full of excellent concepts, however not so simple as Roku nor as versatile as Google TV or Apple TV. And at the least for now, it is the one one accessible mandatory sponsored screensavers.

Should you purchase the Fire TV Stick 4K?

Amazon’s streaming platform has its strengths, notably its integration with the corporate’s different companies like Alexa, Ring, and Amazon Music. Being in a position to play multi-room audio on simply your Echo TVs and audio system may make the Fire TV price contemplating.

Amazon’s tendency to slash costs on Fire TV streamers additionally makes them arduous to beat by way of worth. As of this writing, Amazon has already dropped the worth of the Fire TV Stick 4K to $30, whereas its predecessor dropped to simply $23 on Prime Day. Roku and Google not often handle to match these costs with their very own streaming dongle.

But those self same gross sales occasions are inclined to make the Fire TV Stick 4K Max far more inexpensive, too. (It’s on sale for $40 as of this writing.) For severe Fire TV fans, the dearer Max possibility is price a little bit additional.

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