Amazon’s latest streaming device, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, offers increased performance and faster Wi-Fi for an attractive price of $ 54.99.
We tested the small dongle with Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming service to assess whether the performance gains are just online retailer marketing or the real deal.
And, not to spoil it, but the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the real deal. Let’s dive in to see if this is right for you.
The Alexa streaming key to get
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max delivers the best performance of a Fire TV Stick and beats competing Roku gamers, all for an attractive price tag of $ 54.99.
Who is he talking to : The $ 54.99 Fire TV Stick 4K Max is for those looking for the most powerful Fire TV Stick or those looking to upgrade to 4K from a standard Fire TV Stick or Stick Lite.
What would you like to know: It’s faster than any other Fire TV Stick sold by Amazon and harnesses that power to access content faster via the included voice remote. Plus, it integrates deeply with the rest of Amazon’s products. The Max lives up to its name by delivering the maximum performance of the range, at least in this form factor.
How it compares: The Fire TV Stick 4K Max costs $ 20 more than the Fire TV Stick 4K. The extra cost gives you a faster processor, improved Wi-Fi performance, and more memory. The price is very competitive with the likes of Roku 4K + $ 69.99 Streaming Stick which starts shipping on October 17th. We haven’t tested the Stick 4K +, but on paper it looks like the Fire TV Stick Max 4K is the best deal. It also compares well to $ 49.99 Chromecast with Google TV, offering a similar set of features and streaming quality for almost the same price. The biggest difference between the two is which smart assistant platform you use the most. For those who have deeply integrated Amazon’s Alexa and Echo products into their home, the Stick 4K Max is the obvious choice.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max looks a lot like Amazon’s previous Fire TV Sticks, but slightly longer.
This is a black rectangular dongle that plugs either directly into an HDMI port on your TV, or via an included extension cable that hangs from your TV. There’s a single micro USB port on the Fire TV Stick 4K Max to power it, and Amazon includes all the necessary cables in the box, along with an Alexa voice remote and two AAA batteries.
Once everything is connected and powered up, you are ready to set up the device. We linked our Amazon account and started going through the rest of the prompts when we noticed something new.
We have configured and tested many Amazon Fire TV devices, and this is the first time we have been asked if we want to restore a new device from a backup of another Fire TV device.
We don’t know when Amazon added this feature, nor do we care. But we’re excited it’s an option now and want it to go even further. Currently, using a backup only downloads all of your apps and games. It doesn’t reconnect you to those apps and games, so while it’s a good idea, we still had to spend a lot of time reconnecting to services like Netflix, Hulu, and Discovery + – often with long passwords. and complex. It is a chore that we want simplified.
That said, not having to go back and re-download everything was a welcome experience.
All said it took about 15 minutes to get from a box-up Fire TV Stick 4K Max to broadcast our first show.
Amazon has boosted the performance of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max across the board. There’s a slightly faster processor, more memory, and Wi-Fi 6 support. You won’t have to do anything to take advantage of these first two upgrades, but to take advantage of faster Wi-Fi speeds, you’ll have need a Wi-Fi 6 capable router. Something like Amazon’s own Eero 6, which is currently our first choice for the best mesh Wi-Fi system, or another Wi-Fi 6 compatible system. Not only does Wi-Fi 6 support faster wireless speeds, it also better manages more devices on your network.
To be clear, you don’t need to own a Wi-Fi 6 system to use the Stick 4K Max. It will work with your current Wi-Fi system, you just won’t be able to take advantage of its full capabilities.
Now on to performance – We didn’t have a problem with the interface of a Fire TV Stick 4K, but with the Stick 4K Max, navigation is smoother. It might be a placebo effect, but we’re inclined to think that the extra memory and the slight increase in CPU performance is the real reason.
We could easily navigate the Fire TV layout with three different main options at the top. Home, find and live. Each category displays various apps, TV shows, or movies that you can start watching with just a few clicks on the Alexa voice remote.
Starting a show like Squid Game on Netflix is almost instantaneous. This is thanks to the more robust performance but also thanks to Wi-Fi 6 (we tested the Stick 4K Max on a Plume network).
As for the image quality, it is of course excellent. Amazon has never had a problem with the image of its 4K streaming devices, and the 4K Max Stick stick to this trend. In Squid Game, for example, the black masks against the hot pink outfits are vibrant and bright.
The Stick 4K Max streams 4K content and supports Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10 + and Dolby Atmos audio. Of course, you will need a television that supports all of these measures.
We also spent time testing Moon, Amazon’s cloud-based streaming service, on the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. We first paired the Luna Controller to Stick 4K Max, then open the Luna application. Inside the app are several games, including top titles like Dirt 5 or Metro Exodus, which are part of Luna + subscription at $ 5.99 per month from Amazon . There are even Ubisoft games like Far Cry 6 or Assassins Creed, but playing them requires a separate subscription of $ 17.99 per month.
Every game we played played smoothly as if we had a Xbox Where Playstation connected to our TV. Games are limited to 1080p, so you won’t be able to take full advantage of the graphics you would get from a dedicated gaming console.
Another new feature that we enjoyed testing out on the Stick 4K Max is the picture-in-picture mode to display security cameras around our house. from amazon Ring and Blink video cameras are supported. Using the Alexa voice remote, you can pull any video camera connected to your Amazon account.
For our testing, we regularly viewed a Ring Floodlight with the “Show my garage camera” command and a few seconds later we saw a live feed from the camera monitoring the front of our house. Selecting the PiP button would reduce the stream, showing a thumbnail in the upper right corner of the screen.
With the camera feed still going, we could still move around the interface without any issues or lag. We even aired part of The Great British Bake Off while we waited for our kids to come home. It’s pretty neat and similar to how the Apple TV 4K manages the display of cameras connected to HomeKit on the large screen.
After a few days of using the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, it’s easy to recommend. Not only is its price tag of $ 54.99 appealing, but its performance is unmatched by any other Fire TV Stick, and for that matter, any Roku streaming stick at this price point.
Google’s $ 50 Chromecast The dongle offers similar functionality, but is surpassed by the Stick 4K Max. We can’t wait to get our hands on Roku Stick 4K + So we can test it thoroughly, but after spending some quality time with the Stick 4K Max, it’s clear that Roku finally has some fierce competition.
If you want the best 4K streaming stick Amazon has to offer, spend the extra cash and get the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It’s worth it.