The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is Amazon‘s latest streaming device, released in October 2022. This upgraded model brings some anticipated new features to the popular Fire TV lineup.
In this hands-on review, I‘ll provide a detailed look at the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max based on extensive testing and use. You‘ll learn about the changes compared to previous Fire TV models, get tech specs, see performance results, and more to help decide if it‘s worth upgrading or buying.
New Fire TV Stick 4K Max Overview
The 2022 Fire TV Stick 4K Max is an iterative update over the previous generation 4K Max stick launched in 2021. Here‘s a quick rundown of what‘s new:
- Fire OS 8 – Newer underlying Android OS
- 16GB storage – Double the internal storage space
- WiFi 6E – Faster connectivity with less interference
- New remote – Upgraded Alexa remote now included
- Ambient Mode – Optional screensaver-like display
This model retains the same 4K video support, Dolby Vision/Atmos, and excellent streaming capabilities of its predecessor. But the changes under the hood along with extra storage provide a nice improvement.
Amazon wisely continues bundling the Fire TV Stick 4K Max with their upgraded Alexa remote too. This remote has extra buttons for quickly accessing popular streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video.
Next, let‘s take a deeper look at the specs and notable features of the new Fire Stick 4K Max.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max Features and Specifications
Improved Processor and More Memory
The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max has a faster MediaTek MT8696T quad-core processor running at 2.0 GHz. This gives it a nice boost in performance over the already zippy previous generation.
In my testing, the Snappier interface, quicker app launches, and faster navigation reflect the more powerful internals. Streaming high bitrate 4K content feels effortless now.
The 2GB of RAM also helps compared to the 1.5GB on the 2021 model. There‘s no lag when switching between apps or loading content.
Double the Storage
One of the most welcome upgrades is 16GB of built-in storage, compared to just 8GB before.
This additional storage provides breathing room for more apps and games. Plus it‘s helpful if you sideload unofficial apps not available in Amazon‘s app store.
Heavy users may still want to add external storage via the USB port. But most people will be happy with the extra space.
WiFi 6E Support
The previous generation Fire TV Stick 4K Max introduced WiFi 6 for faster wireless speeds. This new model takes it further by adding support for the newer WiFi 6E standard.
WiFi 6E operates on the newly opened 6GHz band, free from interference from older 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. It produces faster, more reliable wireless connectivity.
Of course your router must also have WiFi 6E to take advantage of this technology. But it helps future-proof the Fire Stick for the next wave of home wireless networks.
A new Ambient Mode turns the Fire TV Stick 4K Max into a smart display like an Amazon Echo Show when not in active use.
It provides an customizable rotating display showing weather, calendars, reminders, photos, and more. This makes it fit better into home decor when not being streamed to.
Ambient Mode helps the Fire Stick pull double duty as both a streamer and a smart display for glanceable information.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max Hands-On Review
Now let‘s dig into my first-hand experiences using the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max day to day:
Setup and Interface
Initial setup is quick and painless as expected from Fire TV devices. Just plug in the HDMI and power cords, connect to WiFi, and log into your Amazon account.
The interface remains largely unchanged from previous versions. It‘s simple and easy to navigate, with rows of personalized recommendations and apps across the top.
My only complaint is the amount of promoted content and ads on the home screen. But that‘s an understandable tradeoff to keep the device affordable.
I tested a wide variety of apps from Amazon‘s app store and sideloaded ones like Kodi and Plex. Everything launched quickly and ran smooth and responsive thanks to the improved internals.
Even big games like Asphalt 9: Legends felt fast and stutter-free. And high bitrate 4K HDR content streamed beautifully without any buffering or choppiness.
The extra memory really makes a difference, keeping everything cached nicely so apps don‘t need to reload. Overall app performance is excellent.
As expected, streaming quality from all the major services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max and more is fantastic.
The Fire TV Stick 4K max handles 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos smoothly without breaking a sweat. Picture quality was crisp and colors really popped on my LG C1 OLED.
If you have a large media library, the improved hardware also helps local streaming. Large high bitrate files streamed from Plex without buffering or lag.
WiFi and Wired Speeds
To test the speeds, I used the free Analytic Speed Test app. Here were the results:
WiFi 6E (connected to Asus RT-AXE86U WiFi 6E router):
- Download: 481 Mbps
- Upload: 298 Mbps
Gigabit Ethernet (using UGreen USB 3.0 adapter)
- Download: 812 Mbps
- Upload: 677 Mbps
As you can see, the wired and wireless speeds are blazing fast, thanks to the modern hardware inside. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max can take full advantage of high speed internet.
I connected a SanDisk 256GB USB 3.0 flash drive to expand storage further. The process to format it was simple.
However, I faced limitations trying to move apps to the drive. Some like Netflix don‘t support this feature. Kodi was movable, showing Amazon still has work to do here.
Still, it‘s great having the external drive for more space to install apps and games from Amazon‘s store. Just don‘t expect full flexibility to move anything you want yet.
The included upgraded Alexa remote continues to be an excellent controller for Fire TV.
It feels better in the hand than the Roku or Apple remote, and has handy dedicated buttons for popular streaming services.
Alexa voice functionality works great for searching content, controlling smart home devices, and asking questions. Power users may still want a wireless keyboard for quicker text entry.
Pros and Cons
Based on my experience, here are the pros and cons of the new Fire Stick 4K Max:
- Excellent 4K/HDR streaming quality
- Faster processor and more RAM improves performance
- 16GB storage gives more room for apps
- WiFi 6E provides fast wireless speeds
- Good wired performance with Ethernet adapter
- Works with Alexa for voice control
- Easy to setup and use
- Home screen still contains ads
- Limitations moving apps to external storage
- No way to remove pre-installed Amazon apps
- Lacks some customization options of Android TV
The pros clearly outweigh the cons for most users. The main limitations relate to the Fire OS platform itself rather than the device hardware.
Should You Upgrade or Buy?
So should you buy the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max, or upgrade if you have an older model?
For owners of the previous Fire TV Stick 4K Max, there‘s probably not a compelling reason to upgrade. The changes, while nice, aren‘t revolutionary.
But for people with older Fire TV, Fire Stick, or competing streamers, the 2022 Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a great choice. It‘s the most powerful and feature-packed Fire TV streamer yet.
If you want best-in-class wireless performance, Dolby Vision/Atmos support, snappy interface, and excellent 4K streaming, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max delivers. The upgraded remote and extra internal storage are icing on the cake.
There are tradeoffs of Amazon‘s walled garden approach compared to pure Android TV. But at just $54.99, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max provides outstanding value and capability. It earns a strong recommendation as one of the top streaming devices available today.
Where to Buy the Fire TV Stick 4K Max
You can purchase the Fire TV Stick 4K Max direct from Amazon through the link below:
Have you tried the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max? I‘d love to hear your thoughts and impressions in the comments!