Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K is, in many ways, a revolutionary device. It was first introduced in 2018, bringing a set of high-end media streaming features at an affordable price. However, how does it rank today? Is it still worth its price? Should you invest in a different Fire TV device instead? We’ll answer those questions and more. So, welcome to our hands-on Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review!
We’ll begin by introducing you to the Fire TV Stick 4K, presenting its technical specs via the following table and letting you easily compare the 4K Fire TV model to its siblings.
|Product Name||Fire TV Stick 4K|
|Picture Quality||Up to 4K with support for Dolby Vision and HDR|
|Video Output||HDMI 2.2|
|Included Remote||YES (Alexa Voice Remote – 2nd Gen)|
|Warranty||90-day (limited warranty)|
|Where to Buy||Buy via Amazon|
If you’re in a rush, we’ll present our conclusions about the Fire TV Stick 4K before we go any further. So, check the following table.
|Pros||Supports 4K streaming; Supports the latest video technologies; Endless library of apps; Fire OS now comes more polished; Great value overall.|
|Cons||Aggressive ads throughout Fire OS’ interface; Requires you to use a power adapter; Ethernet adapter is sold separately (optional but helpful accessory).|
|Final Verdict||The Fire TV 4K comes as one of the best 4K-ready streaming devices in its pricing category. Aside from a few quirks, we feel that the Fire TV 4K is well worth its price.|
|Our Score||8.9 out of 10!|
And now, it’s time to dive deep into everything the Fire TV Stick 4K has to offer. Join us for our full review, and we promise that we’ll answer all your questions along the way.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Review (2021) – All You’ll Want to Know Before You Buy!
If you “stick” with us until the end of this review, you’ll learn about Fire TV Stick 4K’s design, installation, interface, content, and plenty more. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Hardware & Design
The latest 4K-capable Fire TV is the smallest one yet. It’s quite unobtrusive and compact, designed to be invisible during everyday use. Our Score: 10/10
Size, Weight and More
|Size||99 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm (only housing) | 108 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm (including the connector)|
|Included in the Box||Fire TV Stick 4K, Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen), USB cable and power adapter, HDMI extender cable, 2 AAA batteries, Quick Start Guide.|
In the past, Amazon tried to differentiate its Fire TV streamers by their design. However, that’s no longer the case. In other words, the Fire TV Stick 4K looks identical to its less powerful siblings (the ‘Fire TV Stick’ and ‘Fire TV Stick Lite’ models). Amazon’s most powerful streamer is incredibly small and lightweight, designed to be as inconspicuous as possible.
The media streaming device is designed to plug directly into the HDMI 2.2 port on your TV. As you can already imagine, it’s recommended to have a 4K TV to take full advantage of the Fire TV Stick 4K. With that said, after you set up the device for the first time, it will be placed behind your TV (on its backside). Therefore, your time with the device itself will be very brief, as there’s no need to physically interact with it during everyday use.
Installation & Initial Set Up
Amazon has done plenty to make setting up its Fire TV devices faster than before. However, we’re not talking about a one-step setup, so be prepared to spend some time updating your device and inputting all kinds of information. Our Score: 7.5/10
In general, setting up a dedicated media streaming device should be very simple. That also applies to setting up the Fire TV Stick 4K, at least when it comes to putting together its hardware elements.
All of that begins with plugging in the Fire TV Stick 4K into your TV’s HDMI 2.2 port. Speaking of that, it’s worth mentioning that the stick itself is a bit wider than a standard HDMI cable. That’s why you’ll find an HDMI extender cable in the box, making the device compatible with just about any TV model.
The included HDMI extender cable can be used to improve the device’s Web connectivity and responsiveness. Still, if that’s not enough, you’ll want to check Amazon’s Ethernet Adapter for Fire TV Devices ($14.99).
Also, don’t forget that you need to supply the power to your media streaming device. A micro-USB port on the device itself is in charge of that. In the device’s packaging, you’ll find a power adapter, so make sure to use it. If you decide to buy Amazon’s Ethernet adapter (as mentioned just above), that will add a complication to your setup, but nothing to be concerned about.
And lastly, you’ll need to set up your Fire TV Stick 4K after powering it on for the first time. You’ll be asked to pair your remote first. Then, you’ll need to update Fire OS, log in using your Amazon account, set up profiles, and more. Overall, the initial setup isn’t complicated by any means, but it can take a while since there are plenty of steps required.
The Fire TV 4K is now powered by a brand-new Fire OS version, which follows an all-new direction via its UI and UX. Even though the situation is much better than before, Amazon’s aggressive ads are still crippling the overall experience. Our Score: 8/10
The Fire TV Stick 4K wasn’t the first device to receive an all-new Fire OS experience, released in late 2020. However, since that update is finally here, we have to praise Amazon’s effort of overhauling the way Fire TV devices work. That’s because Fire OS now comes more polished and streamlined than ever before, and that’s especially noticeable on the 4K Fire TV model.
The most significant focus of the latest Fire OS version is its main menu. Now located across the central portion of your TV’s screen, you can use the main menu to access items like ‘Library,’ ‘Home,’ ‘Find,’ and ‘Live.’ On the right side, you’ll get to pick six most-often-used apps, whose content you can access even without opening them.
Plenty of optimizations were done to let you find new content easier, and that really shows. No matter if you enjoy watching on-demand movies and TV shows, or perhaps if you use your Fire TV Stick 4K to watch live TV, you’re never more than a couple of swipes away from your content. So, in terms of its organization and navigation, we do believe that Fire OS has become one of the most polished systems out there.
Finally, we must mention Amazon’s stubborn dedication to using Fire OS to promote its services. Even in the latest Fire OS version, you will still see many ads related to Prime Video and other Amazon-owned streaming services.
There’s no way to hide those, so you’ll have to learn to live with that visual clutter. On the other hand, let’s not forget to mention that the Fire TV 4K is one of the most affordable 4K streamers out there, which means that agreeing to some compromises is unavoidable.
The Fire TV 4K doesn’t come with the latest available ‘Alexa Voice Remote’ controller. However, the one you’ll get is easy to use and should meet your needs quite nicely. Our Score: 9/10
Alexa Voice Remote Specs
|Size||38 x 142 x 16 mm|
|Weight||43.4 g (without batteries)|
|Batteries||2 AAA (included)|
In the past, Amazon struggled to produce a remote controller that could meet the needs of its users. Consequentially, the company has been putting a lot of effort lately towards producing remote controllers that deviate from what we’ve seen before. With that said, know that the Fire TV Stick 4K comes with a second-generation Alexa Voice Remote.
As you can see in the images throughout this Fire TV Stick 4K review, the Alexa Voice Remote is quite simple. However, it resolves a couple of issues that were present in earlier models. More precisely, you now have volume buttons that let you control your TV’s sound. So, there’s no longer a need to use two remotes, which is a very welcome change.
Also, the Alexa Voice Remote comes with plenty of buttons that let you navigate Fire OS’ UI, issue voice commands, and control video/audio playback. Our guess is that you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of different buttons and controls at first. However, the remote is quite intuitive, and everything has its place, so you’ll get used to it in no time.
Keep in mind that Amazon also sells a newer version of the Alexa Voice Remote. The third-generation remote replaces the ‘Microphone’ button with the ‘Alexa’ button, used for issuing voice commands. It also brings additional buttons for muting the volume, opening Fire OS’ Guide functionality, along with dedicated buttons for four media streaming services.
Available Content & Apps
Fire TV streaming devices are hugely popular across the world. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that any reputable streaming service offers a Fire OS app. Your options in terms of streaming will be practically unlimited. Our Score: 10/10
Fire OS Apps / Content
|App Store||YES (Amazon App Store)|
|Sideloading||YES (via apps like Downloader)|
|Live TV Apps||YES (Sling TV, Philo, fuboTV, YouTube TV, and more)|
|On-Demand Video Apps||YES (Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and more)|
|Other Types of Apps||YES (Web browsers, gamers, VPN apps, and more)|
Of course, the primary purpose of the Fire TV Stick 4K is to let you watch any type of content, both live and on-demand. The device comes with marketing messages emphasizing access to over half a million movies and TV show episodes. Considering how many apps are available for Fire OS, we do believe that to be true.
If you manage to look past aggressive marketing messages regarding Prime Video, you’ll see that any popular streaming service offers a Fire OS app. That includes Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Apple TV+, and many “newer” services like Discovery Plus and Paramount Plus.
Then, let’s not forget that Fire TV Stick is a perfect device to “cut the cord.” That means you can finally forget about your cable TV subscription and switch to an online OTT service.
Many options are available, including Sling TV, Philo, fuboTV, YouTube TV, and more. Those are priced from around $25 to $65 a month, bringing up to 150+ live TV channels, depending on your location. Many of them include on-demand content libraries as well.
Don’t forget that the Fire TV Stick 4K supports video technologies like HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision. To take full advantage of those, you’ll need a 4K TV that supports those technologies, as well as media streaming subscriptions with 4K/HDR content, such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV+, and more.
Streaming & Performance
Overall, the Fire TV Stick 4K comes with fluid and fast performance. It doesn’t come with the most modern internal components, but it gets the job done (as long as you have a fast-enough Web connection). Our Score: 9/10
The latest-generation Fire TV Stick 4K comes with a quad-core 1.7Ghz processor, along with the ‘IMG GE8300’ graphics processing unit. Let’s also not forget to mention that you get 8GB of internal storage. Now, what’s strange is that you’ll find those same internals on this device’s less powerful siblings, the ‘standard’ Fire TV, and ‘lite’ Fire TV models.
Of course, what’s unique about the Fire TV Stick 4K is its capability to stream 4K content. With that said, know that the device’s internals are powerful enough for that task. If you have a fast Web connection (a major requirement here), you won’t encounter any buffering or throttling. That applies even to the most complex of setups, with TVs that support the latest 4K and HDR technologies.
And also, keep in mind that the Fire TV Stick is priced at $49.99. So, considering its low price, it’s incredible what this little device can do. We’re sure that putting more RAM, more storage, or upgrading to a more powerful processor would make it hard for Amazon to keep the device’s price under control and as affordable as it’s now.
How Does the Fire TV Stick 4K Compare to Its Siblings? – Fire TV 4K vs. Fire TV vs. Fire TV Lite
People are rightfully confused when it comes to Fire TV devices. They all come with similar names, and they all look the same. Therefore, we’re sure that you wonder what makes the Fire TV Stick 4K unique. So, to learn more, check the following table.
Fire TV 4K vs. Fire TV vs. Fire TV Lite
|Product Name||Fire TV Stick 4K||Fire TV Stick||Fire TV Stick Lite|
|Processor||Quad-Core 1.7Ghz||Quad-Core 1.7Ghz||Quad-Core 1.7Ghz|
|Storage||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB|
|Maximum Resolution||Up to 2160p||Up to 1080p||Up to 1080p|
|Full HD Streaming||YES||YES||YES|
|Included Remote||YES (Alexa Voice)||YES (Alexa Voice)||YES (Alexa Voice Lite)|
|Learn More / Buy||Fire TV Stick 4K||Fire TV Stick||Fire TV Stick Lite|
As you can see above, the unique feature about the Fire TV Stick 4K is its support for 4K resolution. If you take a deeper look, you’ll see that support for Dolby Vision is there, along with the second-generation Alexa Voice Remote (so, not the latest one). What’s surprising is that internal components are identical on all three of the currently available Fire TV streamers.
Therefore, we conclude that the Fire TV Stick 4K is for those who own a 4K TV. Limiting yourself to ‘Full HD’ streaming should be a shame, especially since the 4K Fire TV model is only $10 more than the ‘Full HD’ Fire TV model. On top of that, you’ll find the Fire TV Stick 4K quite often discounted to $39.99 (or lower, at times).
If you’re still unsure about which Fire TV device is right for you, we highly recommend checking our review of the ‘standard’ Fire TV Stick.
Fire TV Stick 4K Pros & Cons – Here’s What You Need to Keep in Mind!
Keep on reading to learn our impressions of the Fire TV Stick 4K after reviewing this media streaming device. Here are its most prominent pros and cons.
Fire TV Stick 4K (2021) – PROS
- Easy to set up and use.
- Lets you stream online media in up to 4K (2160p).
- Supports HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and more.
- Endless library of media streaming apps.
- Fire OS now looks and feels much better than in the past.
- Integrates well with Amazon Echo speakers.
- Integrates well with smart home devices.
- One of the most affordable 4K-ready streamers out there.
Fire TV Stick 4K (2021) – CONS
- Overly aggressive self-promotion by Amazon.
- You’re forced to use the included power adapter.
- Ethernet adapter is priced extra.
Do We Recommend Buying the Fire TV Stick 4K?
Yes, we absolutely recommend buying the Fire TV Stick 4K – if you have a 4K TV and a fast-enough Internet connection. Our recommendation is even stronger if you have a brand-new 4K with supported technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR. With that said, the Fire TV Stick 4K is perhaps the most affordable way to take full advantage of your TV’s capabilities.
If you have a TV limited to ‘Full HD,’ then there’s no reason to buy the 4K Fire TV model. In that case, you can go with the ‘standard’ Fire TV model, whose remote lets you control your TV as well. Or, you can go with the ‘lite’ Fire TV model, where you need two separate remotes (one for the media streamer and one for your TV).
That would be all for our Fire TV Stick 4K review. In case of any questions, make sure to post your comment just below. And finally, thanks for reading!