Do you have a high-quality television, but not smart enough for your standards? Fire TV Stick 4K Max di Amazon it could be the solution to your problems: we tested it to write this review and we were impressed by the speed and quality of images and audio. And the new ambient mode we liked it a lot, also for the possibility of quickly monitoring the smart home via Alexa. But, at the same time, theFire TV’s interface isn’t for everyone and there are some details that may not convince everyone.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max is an interesting product, especially at this time when Amazon has put it on offer for Black Friday at 56.99 euros instead of 79.99 euros: in this review we help you understand if it’s for you.
Our review of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max
The second generation of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max changes several technical features regarding this product, which makes TVs smarter in a rather immediate way. Has more 16GB memory, uses WiFi 6E connectivity. Although perhaps, among all the new features, you will especially notice the new one ambient modewhich shows landscapes and works of art (as well as various information in dedicated and customizable widgets) when the device goes into standby.
However, in all its main features this device improves, without revolutionizing, the Amazon recipe. It is the best Fire TV Stick on the market, and especially in sales periods like Black Friday, it could be the right one to choose for those who want Alexa on their TV.
Design and accessories
In the package you will find the HDMI stick in the format we now know, large enough to process 4K streaming but capable of easily hiding behind your TV. It measures 99 x 30 x 14 mm and weighs 43.5 grams: in the door compartment of our TV it fits flat, but in the package you also find a HDMI male to female adapter sand you need a different angle.
Inside the package, in addition to the remote control and its batteries (which we will talk about shortly), you will also find the micro-USB cable and the power supply. We tried using one of our TV’s USB ports to power Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max and it worked: However, could represent a risk to the longevity of the product, which could turn off during an update or freeze due to lack of power. Better to connect it to the socket, then.
We would have preferred to see the upgrade to a USB-C port, but also with the microUSB We think Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max is simple and convenient to place on your TV. Please note that 4K content will require HDMI ports that supportHDCP 2.2 (so HDMI 2.0 or later), as well as a good connection.
Simple installation and video and audio quality
The dongle set-up process is very simple: just enter your Amazon account and quickly calibrate the remote control, then you’re ready to go. Once done, you can turn on the TV directly with the Fire TV remote control (although many will have to go into their TV settings to disable menus and homepages that open every time you turn it on).
The processor quad-core da 1,8Ghz e la GPU da 750Hz they give enough power to the Amazon device to enable HDR streaming, with all the main standards: HDR10+, Dolby Vision e HLG. Especially older or less expensive TVs may not support all standards (especially Dolby ones), but for its part Fire TV Stick 4K Max supports practically everything.
The quality when watching 4K content (we saw the endings of Loki and Goosebumps on Disney+, The Killer on Netflix and the new specials by Fabio De Luigi and Maccio Capatonda on Prime Video) really impressed us. Well-managed colors, excellent details even in scenes with a lot of movement. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max also handled lower resolution content well (we watched Charade on Pluto TV).
From an audio point of view, Fire TV Stick supports the Dolby Atmos and also 7.1 surround, if you have a home theater system. Something particularly useful, given that it supports practically all video streaming services and also Tidal, Spotify, Deezer e TuneIn for music. It seems give a lot of emphasis to the louder sounds, losing a bit of detail in less bombastic scenes and in musical reproduction. It’s not bad, but if you don’t like it much, you can balance everything with your TV or home theater software.
The operating system improves, but the interface is not impressive
As we said, do the setup takes very little time (unless you have forgotten passwords and poor connections). And using the stick is simple and immediate: the apps all open quickly, loading times are on average lower than those of our TV. Compared to the competition, you will only notice the difference in a direct comparison: it works exactly as it should.
But the interface didn’t exactly blow our minds. We have enjoyed the main menu, which allows you to easily manage your account, do searches, view your home or live TV channels – more simply than many of its competitors. You can also easily see your favorites and use the apps pinned on top, which you can customize.
How he proposes the contents
But compared to other operating systems (especially Google TV)we like the way it shows TV series and films that might interest us less. In the foreground we almost always find Prime Video products, if not advertisements, which we also see when scrolling along the home page.
In the first line we do not see our series to continue, but the recent views (or those missing the final two minutes of the credits). Sometimes we have to swipe a couple of times to find recent apps, every now and then there are categories that might be of interest but with contents that are not always coherent. And then we didn’t find it intuitive that, by opening Gen V among the highlighted contents instead of “Continue watching”, we found ourselves watching the first episode of the Prime Video series, instead of the recently released finale.
FireOS seems much faster and smarter than the average smart TV operating system. But compared to its big rival, ChromeCast with Google TV, it doesn’t integrate the contents as well streaming. And then there is no Chromecast function, making duplicating the display of smartphones and tablets more complex (although still possible).
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max review: the convenience of Alexa and the remote control
The remote control is somewhere in between compared to the many buttons of classic TVs and the minimalism of some competitors. Find all the main features to navigate the interface and the contents you are watching. There are also dedicated keys for Prime Video, Netflix, Amazon Music, and the App Library. We would have preferred fewer buttons or a larger remote control, but it is still very functional. Especially if you use it a lot Alexa.
The dedicated button activates the microphone and allows you to search with your voice. Amazon showed off interactions with generative AI, which should be coming soon. But even without, iThe microphone captures our words perfectly. The results are not always perfect: for example, when asking to see Spielberg films, the first result was a documentary about the director. But it’s very comfortable, especially if you don’t know what to watch and ask “films similar to…” or “films of/with…”.
Convenient is the fact that Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max separate the results included in subscriptions and those that are paid for, to save us time. And then, if you ask to play a particular piece of content, it will immediately start the film or episode of the series. Unless you have multiple profiles on that streaming app, in which case you’ll need to select yours.
The new ambient mode
The most obvious innovation concerns the environmental mode, which shows photography and art content or your images from Amazon Photo when the stick goes to sleep. The images are well chosen (and you can find information to search for them online directly from the interface), they fill the entire TV while leaving space to show times, weather and even some widgets. You can have your calendar, notes, control Alexa devices.
It seems well made and, although not essential, a welcome addition to this streaming stick.
Review Verdict: Is Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max Worth Buying?
At the full price of 79,99 euro, Fire TV Stick 4K Max exceeds the base price of Chromecast 4K by 10 euros (while remaining far from that of the Apple TV 4K). But we think that, more than the pricethe difference is made by the ecosystem you have at home. Those who already have Echo products and other devices that use Alexa as a voice assistant will find it more convenient to purchase the Fire TV Stick. But those who use Google Home or need Chromecast functionality will focus on Mountain View’s proposal – which in our opinion recovers with software what it loses from a hardware point of view.
If you always talk to Alexa when you get home, you can buy the Fire TV Stick discounted at 56.99 euros for Black Friday. Even if the Fire TV Stick 4K (not Max) model offers at a lower price practically all the main features, essentially giving up the Ambient mode and technical specifications (less memory, only WiFi 6…