Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick Review
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (3rd Generation) is a streaming device that was released in October 2018 (R). This streaming device is a stick that plugs into the back of your television using the HDMI port. This device is one of Amazon’s top streaming products delivering sharp 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 resolutions.
Amazon has been producing its own streaming media players since 2014. Released in 2018, the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick is the third generation of streaming media devices that it is built around Amazon’s FireOS, which is a modified Amazon version of Android. This means it is built around the Amazon ecosystem of content such as Amazon Prime media, Amazon Instant Video, and Amazon Prime Music.
The Fire TV Stick 4K is the least expensive streaming device on the market that offers Dolby Vision. The only other device is the Apple TV 4K which is approximately 3 times more expensive. Combined with the best-in-class voice search this is easily one of the top 4K devices currently available.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Hardware
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a small rectangular shaped device that is slightly larger than your typical USB thumb drive, except it has an HDMI plug on one end. In terms of hardware, the only difference between the regular Fire TV Stick and the 4K version is a faster processor. This device packs a lot of punch in a small package.
The device is designed to plug directly into your TV’s HDMI port but it may be a little wider than a normal HDMI connection. Included is a male-to-female HDMI cable if this is the case for your TV.
On the other end is a micro USB port for powering the device. The device can be powered using the wall charger or by directly plugging in your TV’s USB port. Please note that plugging into the USB port will likely cause a dramatic reduction in the quality and power of the device as is typical with just about every other streaming device on the market.
The 4K Fire TV Stick is powered by an impressive quad-core 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, which is an upgrade from 1.3 GHz CPU on the non-4K stick. The device also boasts 1.5 GB of DDR4 memory providing enough power to stream high-quality 4K TV. The Wi-Fi hardware also helps separate from the competition with dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi supports 2×2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.
Another interesting feature is Amazon included MPEG-2 video support so cord-cutters can connect an HDHomeRun Connect TV tuner and watch over-the-air channels from an antenna to any television in the house. No Roku supports MPEG-2 playback at all.
Also included is the all-new Alexa Voice Remote with TV and device control. The remote connects to the device via Bluetooth so you don’t have to be within line of sight of the device. The remote design is small, matte black, with a directional ring, three Android buttons, volume buttons, play/pause, reverse, and fast-forward buttons, and the voice search button.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Performance
It took until the 3rd generation but the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick has superb performance. There is noticeable both a crisper picture and more vibrant colors on supported televisions. Scrolling through menus and the interface is speedy with content loading almost instantly thanks to the upgraded 1.7 GHz quad-core processor. The device
Like most devices performance can be affected by the proximity to your internet router but thanks to the upgraded dual-band Wi-Fi, the device experiences minimal lag as long as you’re within a reasonable distance from your router. Amazon also offers an Ethernet port adapter to make lag almost disappear entirely. Loading 4K and HDR content are very snappy.
The one area of performance that the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick outshines its competition is voice control. Voice recognition is superb and may just be the best out of any other competitor. Powered by Amazon’s Alexa, the device can understand a plethora of commands and voice types. If you already have Amazon Alexa products this device will integrate seamlessly.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Setup
Getting set up with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is very easy and should take less than 5 minutes. Simply plug in the device, connect the HDMI cable to your TV, and you will see the loading screen. The device may take a few minutes to calibrate the very first time you use it.
You will need to pair your remote to the device, which can be done by holding the “home” button down for 10 seconds. When the remote is paired you can hit the play button to begin the setup process. Select your preferred language and you will be prompted to connect your Wi-Fi.
Once you’ve connected to the Wi-Fi you will need to register the device with an Amazon account. If you order directly from Amazon the device will be pre-registered for you. Once registered you can begin browsing the Amazon ecosystem and watching your favorite streaming video and audio content.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Channels and Applications
The ecosystem of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is robust but primarily designed around Amazon applications; however, it is much easier with the newer version to navigate and find other content. With this device, you get access to 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 content in addition to thousands of titles in regular HD.
Cord-cutters get access to over 2,000 different streaming channels and apps. There are over 190 built-in channels with access to over 500,000 movies and TV episodes. Some of the most popular channels and apps found on Amazon Fire TV include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sling TV, fuboTV, and many more.
Also available are more than 200 games. Users can use the remote control or purchase the Amazon Fire Game Controller. Titles include classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, Crazy Taxi and more. Also, features are newer titles such as Alphadia Genesis, SoulCraft, PBA Bowling, and more.
Notably missing are Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, YouTube TV, and Vudu. Vudu is where the majority of Dolby Vision content currently resides.
Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick Technical Specs
|Size||99 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm (only housing) | 108 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm (including the connector)|
|Weight||1.89 oz (53.6 g)|
|Processor||Quad-core 1.7 GHz|
|Wi-Fi||Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks|
|Audio Support||Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 5.1. Dolby Atmos is not currently supported on Netflix titles|
|Output resolution supported||2160p, 1080p and 720p up to 60 fps|
|Content Formats||Video: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, H.265, H.264, VP9 Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC), Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP|
Fire TV Stick 4K Review Conclusion
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K sports a minimalist design and is of tremendous value. The Amazon ecosystem is great, but the device does not have Vudu, YouTube TV, or the Google Play Store. This is somewhat disappointing because this device is the least expensive device that contains Dolby Vision. The performance on the 4K version is much better than previous versions or the non-4K model. The upgraded remote is great and integrates well with Amazon Alexa voice control technology, although it’s not supported in every app. The streaming stick is a great device for anyone looking for an inexpensive, yet snappy 4K streamer.
Compare Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K To Other Streaming Devices
Wondering how this streaming media player stacks up vs other devices? Compare our Amazon Fire TV Cube review to other popular streaming TV devices reviews. We have reviewed the most popular devices on the market including brands such as Amazon, Apple, Roku, and more. Check out our full list of device reviews here:
- AirTV – Dual network tuner that transmits OTA signals to a device connected television. Rating: 7.0; Price: Discontinued.
- AirTV Player – Unique device that combines streaming television with over-the-air antenna local channels in one platform. Rating: 6.4; Price: Discontinued.
- Amazon Fire TV Cube – Central hub for connecting and controlling all of your home theatre equipment including TV, cable box, and even audio equipment by using the Amazon Alexa voice control technology. Rating: 8.6; Price: $119.99.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick – Amazon’s budget streamer for cord-cutters looking to for 1080p resolution. Rating: 8.4; Price: $39.99.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – Amazon’s 4K streaming stick. Great value. Rating: 9.0; Price: $49.00.
- Apple TV – Original set-top box by Apple. Rating: 8.4; Price: $149.99.
- Apple TV 4K – One of the most powerful set-top boxes on the market. Apple’s 4K version. Rating: 9.2; Price: 32G $179.99 and 64G $199.99.
- Google Chromecast Dongle that allows users to cast from a separate device. Rating: 6.4; Price: $35.00.
- Google Chromecast Ultra – Google’s 4K version of the dongle. Powerful but awkward. Rating: 7.4; Price: $69.00.
- Roku Express – Ultra budget 1080p set-top box. Rating: 7.6; Price: $29.99.
- Roku Express+ Tiny set-top box for older televisions. Rating: 7.8; Price: $35.00.
- Roku Premiere – Inexpensive 4K and HDR10 streaming box. Rating: 8.6; Price: $39.99.
- Roku Premiere+ Upgraded version of the Premiere. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
- Roku Ultra Top-of-line 4K and HDR set-top box. Rating: 9.6; Price: $99.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick Non-4K streaming stick for budget cord-cutters. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick+ Very powerful 4K streaming stick for power cord-cutters. Rating: 9.6; Price: $49.99.