Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max review


Amazon’s newest streaming gadget, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, options elevated efficiency and quicker Wi-Fi for a pretty $54.99 worth.

We’ve been testing the small dongle together with Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming service to gauge if the efficiency positive factors are simply advertising and marketing from the net retailer or the true deal.

And, to not spoil it, however the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max is the true deal. Let’s dive in to see if it’s best for you.

The Alexa streaming stick with get

The Hearth TV Stick 4K Max provides one of the best efficiency in a Hearth TV Stick and beats out competing Roku gamers, all for a pretty $54.99.

Who it’s for: The $54.99 Hearth TV Stick 4K Max is for many who need essentially the most highly effective Hearth TV Stick or these seeking to improve to 4K from a regular Hearth TV Stick or Stick Lite.

What it is advisable know: It’s quicker than another Hearth TV Stick Amazon sells, and it leverages that energy to get you faster entry to content material by the included voice distant. Moreover, it deeply integrates with the remainder of Amazon’s merchandise. The Max lives as much as its title by offering the utmost efficiency out of the lineup — at the least on this kind issue.

The way it compares: The Hearth TV Stick 4K Max is $20 greater than the Hearth TV Stick 4K. The added price provides you a quicker processor, improved Wi-Fi efficiency and extra reminiscence. The pricing could be very aggressive with the likes of Roku’s $69.99 Streaming Stick 4K+ that begins transport Oct. 17. We haven’t examined the Stick 4K+, however on paper, it appears just like the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the higher deal. It additionally stacks up properly in opposition to the $49.99 Chromecast with Google TV, providing the same set of options and streaming high quality for practically the identical worth. The largest distinction between the 2 is which good assistant platform you employ extra. For individuals who have deeply built-in Amazon’s Alexa and Echo merchandise all through their house, the Stick 4K Max is the clear alternative.

Jason Cipriani/CNN

The Hearth TV Stick 4K Max appears loads like earlier Hearth TV Sticks from Amazon, nevertheless it’s barely longer.

It’s a black, rectangular dongle that both plugs immediately into an HDMI port in your TV or by an included extension cable that involves let it dangle down out of your TV. There’s a single Micro USB port on the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max to energy it, and Amazon contains all the vital cables within the field, together with an Alexa Voice Distant and two AAA batteries.

After it’s all related and has energy, you’re able to arrange the gadget. We linked our Amazon account and began to undergo the remainder of the prompts after we seen one thing new.

We’ve arrange and examined many Amazon Hearth TV gadgets, and this was the primary time we bear in mind being requested if we wished to revive a brand new gadget from a backup of one other Hearth TV gadget.

We don’t know when Amazon added that characteristic, nor will we care. However we’re ecstatic it’s an possibility now and want it went even additional. Presently, utilizing a backup solely downloads all your apps and video games. It doesn’t signal you again into these apps and video games, so whereas it’s a pleasant contact, we nonetheless needed to spend loads of time signing again into providers like Netflix, Hulu and Discovery+ — oftentimes with lengthy and complicated passwords. It’s a chore that we want have been simplified.

That stated, not having to return by and redownload every part was a welcomed expertise.

All stated it took about quarter-hour to go from a boxed-up Fire TV Stick 4K Max to streaming our first present.

Jason Cipriani/CNN

Amazon has elevated the efficiency of the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max throughout the board. There’s a barely quicker processor, extra reminiscence and Wi-Fi 6 help. You received’t must do a factor to make the most of these first two enhancements, however to take pleasure in quicker Wi-Fi speeds, you’ll want a Wi-Fi 6-compatible router. One thing like Amazon’s personal Eero 6, which is presently our top pick for best mesh Wi-Fi system, or one other Wi-Fi 6-compatible system. Not solely does Wi-Fi 6 help quicker wi-fi speeds, nevertheless it additionally higher handles extra gadgets in your community.

To be clear, you don’t should personal a Wi-Fi 6 system with a view to use the Stick 4K Max. It’ll work along with your present Wi-Fi system; you simply received’t have the ability to make the most of its full capabilities.

Now, on to efficiency — getting across the interface on a Hearth TV Stick 4K wasn’t one thing we had a problem with, however with the Stick 4K Max, navigating simply feels smoother. Possibly it’s a placebo impact, however we’re inclined to assume that the additional reminiscence and slight bump within the processor’s efficiency is the true cause.

We might simply navigate the Hearth TV structure with three completely different major choices alongside the highest: Residence, Discover and Dwell. Every class shows numerous apps, tv reveals or films you can begin watching with a few clicks on the Alexa Voice Distant.

Beginning a present like “Squid Recreation” on Netflix is nearly instantaneous. That’s because of the beefier efficiency but in addition because of Wi-Fi 6 (we examined the Stick 4K Max on a Plume community).

As for image high quality, it’s nice, in fact. Amazon has by no means had a problem with the image of its 4K streaming gadgets, and the Stick 4K Max sticks with that pattern. In “Squid Recreation,” for instance, the black masks in opposition to the brilliant pink outfits are vibrant and shiny.

The Stick 4K Max streams 4K content material and helps Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR, HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos audio. Naturally, you’ll must have a TV with help for all of these metrics.

Jason Cipriani/CNN

We additionally hung out testing Luna, Amazon’s cloud streaming service, on the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max. We first paired the Luna Controller to the Stick 4K Max after which fired open the Luna app. Contained in the app are a number of video games, together with top-tier titles like Filth 5 or Metro Exodus, that are a part of Amazon’s $5.99-per-month Luna+ subscription. There are even Ubisoft video games like Far Cry 6 or Murderer’s Creed, however taking part in these requires a separate $17.99-per-month subscription.

Each sport we performed streamed with none difficulty, as if we had an Xbox or PlayStation related to our TV. Video games are restricted to 1080p, so that you received’t get to take full benefit of the graphics that you’d get from a devoted gaming console.

One other new characteristic we loved testing on the Stick 4K Max is picture-in-picture mode to view safety cameras round our house. Amazon’s Ring and Blink video cameras are supported. Utilizing the Alexa Voice Distant, you possibly can pull up any video digital camera that’s related to your Amazon account.

For our testing, we routinely considered a Ring Floodlight with the command “Present my storage digital camera,” and some seconds later we’d see a livestream from the digital camera that oversees the entrance of our home. Choosing the PiP button would shrink down the feed, displaying a thumbnail within the high proper nook of the display.

With the digital camera’s feed nonetheless going, we might nonetheless transfer across the interface with none hiccups or lag. We even streamed a few of “The Nice British Bake Off” whereas ready for our children to return house. It’s fairly neat and just like how the Apple TV 4K handles displaying off HomeKit-connected cameras on the large display.

Jason Cipriani/CNN

After a couple of days of utilizing the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, it’s straightforward to suggest. Not solely is its $54.99 price ticket engaging, however its efficiency is unmatched by another Hearth TV Stick, or any Roku streaming stick at this worth level for that matter.

Google’s $50 Chromecast dongle provides related options however is outperformed by the Stick 4K Max. We’re desirous to get our arms on the Roku Stick 4K+ so we are able to completely check it, however after spending some high quality time with the Stick 4K Max, it’s clear Roku lastly has some stiff competitors.

If you would like one of the best 4K streaming stick Amazon has to supply, spend the additional cash and get the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max. It’s value it.

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