Craving the most recent and best in 4K streaming? As of late, you’re spoiled for alternative. Roku, Google and Apple all have superb UHD HDR-capable streaming sticks (or bins), and heading into the latter portion of 2021 it appeared as if there was no extra room on the figurative 4K inn. That was till Amazon introduced an improve to its now historical (in tech phrases) Fireplace TV Stick 4K streamer.
The Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max is, Amazon says, its strongest streaming stick ever, promising extremely fluid UHD streaming due to its new Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. At simply £55, it appears like a fairly priced bundle, too. Learn on to seek out out if it’s value your money and time, or if it’s purely the protect of the next-gen Wi-Fi 6 elite.
Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max overview: What it’s essential to know
The Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max is the long-awaited replace to the unique Fireplace TV Stick 4K, which was first launched all the way in which again in 2018. Different Amazon Fireplace TV units have appeared within the time since, together with the brand new Fireplace TV Stick Lite, however the e-commerce large has held off on a revamped UHD mannequin till now. So, what’s totally different in regards to the 4K Max?
Nicely, that is Amazon’s first streamer with Wi-Fi 6 assist, a function that goals to make sure smoother streaming on 4K content material throughout a number of Wi-Fi 6 units. You’ll want a suitable Wi-Fi 6 router to get pleasure from the advantages, after all – and to assist me write this overview, Amazon offered certainly one of its personal Eero 6 dual-band mesh Wi-Fi 6 methods. What’s extra, the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max can now present dwell picture-in-picture digicam feeds, a feat that beforehand might solely be carried out by Amazon’s Fireplace TV Dice, which was twice the value.
As you’d anticipate, the 4K Max packs all the streaming options that made the unique 4K mannequin so good. Full Excessive Dynamic Vary assist (Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG), Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus are all on board as nicely, and the Alexa voice distant is as useful as ever.
Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max overview: Worth and competitors
Coming in at £55, the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max is simply marginally dearer than its predecessor, the £50 Fireplace TV Stick 4K, which remains to be the identical value, regardless of launching in 2018. Out of these two, it makes extra sense to purchase the Max, because it’s extra future-proofed and comes with a greater distant in addition. Not bothered about 4K, however nonetheless need Fireplace TV and Alexa at your command? The usual Fireplace TV Stick is a cut price at £40.
The 4K Max is up in opposition to some powerful non-Amazon competitors, too. First up, there’s the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, which whereas it lacks each Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Wi-Fi 6, stays a improbable UHD streaming stick to one of the intuitive streaming platforms in existence, Roku OS. It’s merely a pleasure to make use of and, fortunately, the value has fallen to only £45 because the time of our overview.
Alternatively, you can decide up the Chromecast with Google TV for £60. It’s 4K-capable, has strong HDR assist (together with Dolby Imaginative and prescient) and – for the primary time on a Chromecast – has its personal distant and UI. It lacked a few essential apps on the time of launch, specifically Apple TV Plus and Now, however the former has since been added to the roster.
Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max overview: Design and setup
Let’s face it: for those who’ve seen one Fireplace TV Stick, you’ve seen all of them. The dongle itself is yet one more piece of black rectangular plastic, descended from a protracted line of items of rectangular plastic. The HDMI ARC output is at one finish, and Amazon recommends that you just join that to certainly one of your TV’s HDMI inputs through the bundled HDMI extender so as to enhance Wi-Fi and distant efficiency. To energy it, it’s a must to join the equipped USB cable, positioned between the mains energy adapter and the dongle’s micro-USB port.
The distant is fairly customary Fireplace TV fare however it’s nonetheless a small enchancment on the unique Stick 4K’s controls. This time round, the black microphone button has been changed by a fairly blue Alexa key, and beneath the UI and TV controls you’ll discover shortcut buttons for Prime Video, Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Music.
Organising the system in your TV is straightforward sufficient, offered you have already got an Amazon account – and who doesn’t lately? You merely be a part of your Wi-Fi community (as talked about, it helps as much as 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6), sign up to your Amazon account both manually or by way of your telephone after which, after a couple of minutes of software program updates, you’re in.
From the house web page, you may launch proper into content material or begin including apps and adjusting settings as you please. For the needs of this overview, I additionally took the extra step of putting in the Eero 6 Wi-Fi 6 router so as to increase my house’s community.
Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max overview: Fireplace TV interface
The Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max has a slick, user-friendly interface that can really feel very acquainted to anybody who has used a Fireplace TV stick beforehand. At present working on Fireplace OS 18.104.22.168, the interface is straightforward to navigate and fast to reply. It’s a pleasure to make use of, whether or not you’re looking menus, looking for a selected present or putting in an app. The display’s high row has three principal sections to leap between – Residence, Discover, and Dwell – plus a collection of your go-to apps and entry to the settings.
The Residence web page is cut up up into rows that function really helpful reveals, movies and apps within the type of tiles. It’s an analogous strategy to Android TV, although I feel I barely want Android’s system, primarily resulting from Fireplace TV’s extreme promotion of all issues Amazon. Certainly, Amazon-made content material is so closely featured on the house web page that you just generally neglect you’re not within the precise Prime Video app however relatively in the primary menu. Nevertheless, among the many glut of Amazon reveals, it does supply up a couple of rows of third-party content material.
The subsequent part, Discover, is your portal to the app retailer in addition to your private library of saved content material. From right here, you too can choose content material classes so as to search in a extra focused manner, versus listlessly looking the infinite rows on the house web page. However, for those who already know what you need, utilizing the Alexa voice search button is by far probably the most environment friendly solution to discover it. Lastly, the Dwell menu reveals you the place to look at content material that’s being broadcast proper now.
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Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max overview: Content material and efficiency
The Fireplace TV’s menu of apps is as diversified as you’ll discover on every other streaming OS. From the primary menu, you may bounce into any in style paid service of your selecting, from Netflix and Now to Disney Plus and Apple TV. When it comes to free content material, you get all the standard UK catch-up apps plus the likes of YouTube and IMDb TV.
Watching the most recent 4K HDR content material by way of the Max was as gratifying as I anticipated it to be. Dolby Imaginative and prescient movie The Inexperienced Knight seemed phenomenally gritty, stuffed with foreboding shadow however by no means so darkish as to obscure the embroidered finery and weatherbeaten faces of Aruthurian legend. In the meantime, choose scenes from the HDR10+ present Good Omens supplied explosions of sunshine and color, with particulars as crisp as may be.
However then once more, these reveals seemed no higher or worse than they did when considered by way of the Prime Video app put in on my LG CX TV. As at all times, in the case of streaming sticks, the standard of the playback largely depends upon the calibre of the TV and broadband. To get probably the most from the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max, you’ll need a first rate 4K TV that helps HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Imaginative and prescient.
I ought to level out that I watched the identical 4K HDR content material twice on the Stick 4K Max, each with the Eero Professional 6 enabled and with it disconnected. There have been no variations so far as I might discern, however then once more my Vodafone Wi-Fi hub is in the identical room as my TV, so connectivity has by no means been a problem for me when streaming in 4K HDR. In case your system is additional away, or you will have plenty of units streaming content material concurrently throughout the family, you would possibly stand to profit extra from the Wi-Fi 6 increase.
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Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max overview: Verdict
Until you have already got a Fireplace TV Stick 4K, the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max is the logical buy for those who’re after a future-proofed 4K HDR streamer. It’s solely a fiver greater than its predecessor but packs in plenty of new options, probably the most important being the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 assist.
And because it provides Dolby Atmos, has the total vary of HDR codecs, and doesn’t lack any of the key streaming companies, it’s probably the most full 4K streaming stick you should buy for £60 or much less. As a matter of reality, it’s arguably one of the best streamer you should buy in need of shelling out for an Amazon Fireplace TV Dice or an Apple TV 4K, each of which value over £100.
|Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max specs|
|Supported decision||As much as 3840 x 2160 (4K) at 60fps|
|HDR||Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG|
|Audio assist||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos|
|Apps||Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney Plus, Now, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, IMDb TV, Eurosport and so on.|
|Connectivity||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (Wi-Fi 6)|
|Ports||HDMI ARC output, micro-USB (energy solely)|
|Voice assistants||Amazon Alexa|
|OS||Fireplace OS 22.214.171.124|