If you‘re considering the Fire TV Stick 4K for your home streaming needs, you‘ve come to the right place. As an experienced tech reviewer, I‘ll be providing an in-depth look at Amazon‘s latest streaming stick so you can decide if it‘s the right fit.
There‘s a lot to cover, so let‘s dive in!
The Fire TV Stick 4K is Amazon‘s upgraded model of their popular Fire TV Stick. Priced at $49.99, it adds enhancements like:
- Support for 4K Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Faster quad-core processor and more RAM
- Dual-band wireless and new antenna tech for improved WiFi
- Volume/power buttons on Alexa remote to control TV
- Dolby Atmos immersive audio support
For just $10 more than the regular Fire TV Stick, it packs quite the punch. But how does it hold up in real-world use? Let‘s take a detailed look at what this streaming stick can do.
What‘s In the Box
Inside the Fire TV Stick 4K packaging, you‘ll find:
- Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device
- Alexa Voice Remote (2nd generation)
- USB power cable and adapter
- HDMI extender cable
- Two AAA batteries for the remote
- Quick start guide
The included remote is an upgraded model from previous Fire TV products. One of the best additions are the power, volume, and mute buttons for controlling your TV, soundbar, or AV receiver without juggling multiple remotes.
Initial Setup Process
Getting started with the Fire TV Stick 4K takes just a few minutes:
- Plug the device into an open HDMI port on your TV.
- Connect the USB power cable and adapter.
- Turn on your TV and switch to the correct HDMI input.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to connect to your WiFi and sign into your Amazon account.
Once connected, the Fire Stick will automatically check for and install any available software updates. After it reboots, you‘ll be all set to start streaming!
The setup wizard makes the process very straightforward even for those less tech-savvy. Amazon does a great job simplifying initial configuration.
The Fire TV Stick 4K uses the same Fire TV interface as Amazon‘s other streaming products. The home screen displays rows of content recommendations from Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and other streaming apps on your device.
You can scroll through selections with the remote or use Alexa voice commands to quickly launch apps or search for content. All of the settings, Prime Video content, and smart home controls are accessible from the menu.
Compared to the menus on older Fire TV models, everything is snappy and responsive here. The additional horsepower makes navigation smooth and fluid.
Remote Control Setup
One of my favorite upgrades with the new Alexa remote is the addition of volume and power buttons for controlling your TV.
The remote uses IR (infrared) to communicate with your devices. During setup, you select your TV brand and the remote automatically programs itself. Simply point at your TV and press the volume buttons when prompted.
Should you need to manually configure control of a soundbar, cable box, or other equipment, that‘s easy to do through the Fire TV‘s settings under “Equipment Control”.
Once paired, the remote acts as a universal remote so you can turn on/off and adjust volume of devices without unnecessary switching. It‘s extremely convenient compared to juggling multiple remotes!
App Selection and Performance
The Fire TV Stick 4K provides access to all of the major streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and many more. Support for Alexa voice control makes finding content a breeze.
In my testing, apps all performed smoothly and loaded quickly thanks to the improved CPU and extra RAM. Navigation was very snappy, a noticeable upgrade from older Fire TV models.
The Fire Stick 4K can also install third-party apps like Kodi and Plex through the Downloader app or via sideloading. These apps launched and ran flawlessly.
One downside is the 8GB of built-in storage is less than the 16GB on pricier models like the Fire TV Cube. But for most cord-cutters, it should still be sufficient storage space.
4K and HDR Performance
Living up to its name, the Fire TV Stick 4K fully supports 4K Ultra HD resolution up to 2160p at 60 frames per second.
It can display high dynamic range (HDR) video in popular formats like HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision. This allows more vivid colors and expanded contrast compared to standard dynamic range content.
I tested 4K titles on both Netflix and Prime Video – playback was flawlessly smooth with no choppiness or buffering. The Fire Stick 4K clearly has no issue handling high-bitrate 4K streams.
To enjoy 4K and HDR, you will need a compatible UHD television. But even on HD TVs, the Fire Stick 4K provides enough power for smooth streaming up to 1080p resolution.
For home theater buffs, the Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound. This allows for immersive, three-dimensional audio on equipment like soundbars and A/V receivers.
It can also pass through up to 5.1 surround sound via HDMI ARC. So you can still enjoy multi-channel audio with compatible speaker setups.
While Dolby Atmos requires advanced gear to appreciate, it‘s great to see expanded format support on a budget-friendly stick. Audiophiles take note!
Amazon kitted the Fire TV Stick 4K with upgraded wireless capability:
- Dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz WiFi
- Dual antennas for greater stability
- 802.11ac wireless spec for faster speeds
In practice, wireless performance was rock-solid. I streamed hours of high-bitrate 4K video without any buffering or connection issues.
For those seeking maximum stability, you can add an Ethernet adapter. But the built-in WiFi is reliable enough that most users can skip the wired setup. The upgrades are a welcome improvement.
Benchmarks and Hardware
The Fire TV Stick 4K utilizes a MediaTek MT8695 quad-core ARM processor and Imagination GE8300 GPU. This provides a nice performance boost over the Fire TV 3.
It also has 1.5GB of DDR4 RAM – more than the standard Fire Stick but less than the 2GB on the Fire TV Cube. However, benchmark tests show it still outpaces even the pricier Cube in real-world use:
- Fire TV Stick 4K: 642 single-core / 1557 multi-core
- Fire TV Cube: 607 single-core / 1304 multi-core
Here‘s a look at how core hardware specs compare:
|Fire TV Stick 4K||Quad-core 1.7GHz||1.5GB||8GB|
|Fire TV Cube||Quad-core 2.2GHz||2GB||16GB|
|Fire TV Stick 2nd Gen||Quad-core 1.3GHz||1GB||8GB|
The improved firepower combines to deliver a very smooth and snappy experience. Apps open swiftly and menus are responsive thanks to the extra resources. It never feels taxed or sluggish, even with demanding 4K streams.
External Storage Support
Like other Fire TV models, the Fire Stick 4K supports attaching external USB drives through an OTG adapter. This allows you to directly access media files on the drive through various apps.
For example, you can store movies on a USB stick and play them via Kodi or VLC. Or you can load game ROMs onto a drive for emulators like RetroArch.
One limitation is you can‘t expand the internal storage over USB like with the Fire TV Cube. App data and preferences don‘t get stored on external drives yet either. So functionality is still limited compared to more robust media players.
Pros and Cons Summary
Here‘s a quick rundown of the key advantages and disadvantages of the Fire TV Stick 4K:
- Compact and portable
- Affordable $49.99 price tag
- Support for 4K and HDR
- Snappy interface and app performance
- Good wireless connectivity
- Hands-free TV control from remote
- Dolby Atmos audio support
- Less RAM than Fire TV Cube
- No expanding internal storage over USB
- No ethernet port built-in
The Fire TV Stick 4K provides an excellent overall streaming experience in a tiny package at a reasonable price point. It may lack some of the bells and whistles of pricier models, but makes up for it with smoother streaming and better wireless performance.
For existing Fire TV users, it‘s a solid upgrade pick from older devices thanks to the 4K support, speed boost, and improved remote.
In the budget streaming space, it‘s hard to beat the combination of features, quality, and affordability the Fire Stick 4K provides. If you want good 4K streaming without breaking the bank, this little stick is a winner.
I hope this detailed hands-on review gave you all the info needed to decide if the Fire TV Stick 4K is a fit for your streaming needs! Feel free to reach out with any other questions.