Fire TV: Any streaming stick’s most crucial function is likely not featured on the side of the box. It is not the amount of RAM. The amount of onboard storage is not the issue. It’s not the Wi-Fi speed, the CPU, or even if it has 4K (OK, it’s more than a bit about that). And those aren’t all the apps to which it has access.
The price of the new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is its most significant feature. That’s basically what defines where it sits, both inside Amazon’s Fire TV device array and in relation to its closest rival, Roku, which has its own line of reasonably priced streaming sticks, in the overall scheme of things. Yes, the pricing is determining the specs. However, if you let us know how much you want to spend, we’ll recommend the finest streaming device for you.
And the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is unquestionably the Fire TV Stick to purchase, despite being an iterative update (there’s obviously nothing wrong with it) and being quite a mouthful to say (something we take a little problem with).
What the Fire TV Stick 4K Max has fresh
Not just the Fire TV Stick is affected. The Fire TV Stick 4K isn’t it? This one is Max, which, as far as we can tell, is a level below Extreme but one step up from Plus. It’s an absurd finishing touch added to a product that is primarily an iteration on an iteration.
These streaming sticks function in the same way. You have specific features at specific pricing points, therefore you will always make money. See more below on that.
It is clearly explained in Amazon’s own comparison table. Compared to the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is now three years old, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max checks off a few additional boxes. They are not insignificant boxes either.
The first device in the Amazon portfolio
The first device in the Amazon portfolio to support Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, is the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. If you have a Wi-Fi 6 router, it will take advantage of that, or it will be ready to use when you do. Although you shouldn’t expect warp-speed Wi-Fi, you’ll have more than enough bandwidth to do your tasks.
I was able to pull up to 250Mbps downstream while connected wirelessly to an Eero Pro 6 (conveniently, another item owned by Amazon). Ping timings ranged between 20ms and 25ms. In contrast, the Fire TV Stick 4K from the previous generation had similar pings and a downstream speed of roughly 200Mbps on Wi-Fi 5.
Let me stop anyone who is saying, “Just grab the Ethernet adaptor!” With the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, you’ll probably want to utilize Wi-Fi rather than Amazon’s Ethernet adapter, which isn’t included in the box otherwise.
Because it is a 10/100 device, the wired network connection and power supply provided by that adapter will only run as fast as 100 Mbps. And in my case, that means I’m only receiving about half as much speed as I was on Wi-Fi, much alone coming close to not using my true-Gigabit fiber connection.
In other words, stick with the Stick 4K Max’s Wi-Fi 6. It’s a lot.
The most recent Alexa Voice Remote, which debuted in April 2021 and has been significantly modified with a few new buttons and capabilities, is also included with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
As an Android-based smartphone, the Max also has a little bit more RAM, which is crucial because Android still requires as much RAM as possible. Although it’s only a half-gig more than the Stick 4K, 2 gigabytes isn’t much. But we’ll make do with what we can. Additionally, the processor was upgraded to a quad-core Mediatek MT8696 running at 1.8GHz.
Well done if it is the kind of stuff you care about. You’re probably lying, an engineer, or using the two devices side by side if you think you can tell the difference between the new Fire TV Stick and the older Fire TV Stick 4K. The point is that those upgrades are significant and visible.
In other words, it resembles the Fire TV Sticks of old in both appearance and functionality. A tiny bit better. You’ll rapidly lose track of which Fire TV Stick is whose if you’re like us and have more than one lying around.
Without actively checking, I had no idea which was plugged in as I alternated between the new Max and the 2018 Fire TV Stick 4K. In fact, the only distinguishing feature between the two in person is the addition of the moniker “Fire TV” to the casing. The Amazon Smile is all that’s on the older stick. On-screen, there is essentially no distinction.
Additionally, if you really must have picture-in-picture, it now supports it.
Exactly what remains in the Fire TV Stick 4K Max
If you now own an Amazon Fire TV Stick, you are aware of what to anticipate. Using the new Fire TV OS user interface that debuted earlier in 2021, you have surely been doing so. Some find it objectionable and at least mildly concerning since it is still based on Android 9 rather than anything more recent (Android 12 is now being launched).
We’re a little less concerned, though, because this is Amazon and not some unknown importer who simply throws Android on top of some hardware and calls it a day. However, Amazon must nonetheless reach the double digits as quickly as possible.
The other fundamental specifications mirror those of the previous Fire TV Stick 4K. In addition to Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG for high dynamic range, it continues to offer 4K resolution. Of course, if you plan to use any of that, your TV and sound system will also need to be able to accommodate it.
The Alexa remote will use if you plan to use Alexa with your Fire TV Stick 4K Max. That hasn’t changed because the stick itself doesn’t have a microphone of any kind hidden inside.
On the app side, nothing has changed either. The Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV+ services, to name just a few, are still available to the Amazon Fire TV OS.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the model to purchase if you’re in the market for a new Fire TV Stick. Stop there.
For a few reasons, I’d even suggest it over the Fire TV Cube. The first is that it costs roughly half as much, which by itself should be obvious. You can purchase a Max and an updated Echo Dot and still have money left over to go out to lunch if you simply must have hands-free Alexa (i.e., not needing to hit the voice button on the remote control first). The second is that the Fire TV Cube hasn’t received an update in a few years, thus it has older internals.
In devices like these, that’s not a big concern, but it might become significant in the future. Nearly always, newer is better.
Exist any substitutes?
Sure. An alternative is anything that displays videos and plugs onto a TV. The other Amazon Fire TV Sticks are the Fire TV Stick 4K Max’s major rivals.
It really simply boils down to the ecosystem as to where the Fire TV Stick 4K Max falls into the larger scheme of affordable streaming sticks, that is, in the $50 bracket. You want Fire TV, right? You may prefer Roku. Or how about Google TV and Chromecast? Each is comparable in price and has its advantages.
In general, I’d contend that Roku’s operating system is more straightforward. And user-friendly than Fire TV OS, which is more developed and advanced. Both are extensively promoting their own advertising-based video-on-demand services.
Are littered with advertisements and other opportunities to spend money. Roku offers The Roku Channel, while Amazon has IMDB TV. Choose your poison. Chromecast Google TV is a unique animal.
Remaining Fire TV Stick space
What happens to the remaining Fire TV Stick space is the biggest question I have. Amazon assured us that it had no plans to discontinue selling the classic Stick 4K, which is now $15 cheaper than the 4K Max when not on sale and will probably become even more affordable sooner rather than later.
For the Wi-Fi 6 future-proofing and the updated remote control, which retails for $30 on its own, I’d say the extra $15 is worthwhile. It just makes sense to include the improved processor and memory. You receive more value for your money.
Additionally, it is expected that Amazon would either phase out the older Fire TV Stick 4K or perhaps even reshuffle the entire line. Since it only supports 1080p resolution, the Stick is still available for the same $40 price as the earlier Stick 4K. The Stick Lite is another option, priced at $30. Given the small spread, don’t be surprised if Amazon eventually consolidates the market.
How much time will it take?
It’s a tiny metal and plastic item. However, in general, Sticks have lasted far longer than they should have. Although we don’t advocate torching cash, these items are inexpensive. They are essentially commodities at this time and don’t have any moving parts. And probably aren’t moved around much that much. They are impulsive buys.
Chances are you’ll just buy a new one without giving it much thought in the unlikely event that one fails on you—which is not something you hear of very often. There is also everyone’s go-to article on how to resolve stick issues for anything else.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What makes a 4K fire stick different from a 4K max fire stick?
The 4K Max model supports Wi-Fi 6 routers, in contrast to the ordinary 4K model’s Wi-Fi 5 limitations. When attempting to ensure that nothing interferes with movie night. You’re looking for something that’s newer, faster, and provides a more consistent connection.
What can you do with an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max?
High dynamic range (HDR) content in HDR10 and Dolby Vision is supporting the Amazon Stick 4K Max, allowing for the streaming of 4K video. For audio, it also supports Dolby Atmos. The tick 4K and the Cube both have the same features.
Can I use my Firestick 4K Max with any TV?
No, a TV must have an HDMI port for Firestick to function on it. Your Firestick should automatically downscale to the best available resolution if you have an older TV with a lower resolution.
Can the FireStick 4K Max be jailbroken?
Let me calm your concerns: Yes! As long as you are not streaming any copyrighted content, jailbreaking FireStick is SAFE and legal. It is secure because it doesn’t require altering your Fire TV’s operating system’s system files. It’s not like jailbreaking an iOS device or hacking an Android phone.