The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max takes the existing Ultra HD Fire Stick and gives it more power for smoother video. Plus, it's got a new perk for smart homes that will give it more connectivity.
Resolution: Up to 3840x2160
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6
Video: Dolby Vision, HDR
Audio: Dolby Atmos
The big story here is about performance and power, which explains the "Max" in the Stick's name. Also, the remote is changed, in ways that some will like and some may roll their eyes at.
Right now, there is no Fire TV Stick on our best streaming devices list, just the Fire TV Cube. We're curious if this device can change that. But how much of an upgrade is it from the existing Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K? We'll break down what's new and improved, and how much more expensive it is versus the current Fire TV Sticks.
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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max price and release date
That's $5 more than the normal MSRP for the Fire TV Stick 4K (normally $49.99, currently discounted to $34.99). So, what is that $5 to $20 extra getting you?
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max features
The biggest new feature of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is that Amazon's improved performance by 40%, with its new quad-core 1.8GHz CPU and 750MHz GPU representing a decent upgrade over the 1.7GHz / 650MHz set up in existing Fire TV Sticks.
And having tested plenty of Amazon Fire TV sticks, I can say that this is something they needed; on previous models, both app loading times and navigation speeds could be sluggish.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max also adds Wi-Fi 6 support, which Amazon says will improve 4K performance, making for "more fluid streaming and gaming."
Then you have the new Live View Picture-in-Picture feed, where you'll be able to add a live video feed direct from smart home cameras around your house.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max remote
The Fire TV 4K Stick Max has the new Alexa voice remote (3rd gen) revealed this past March. It looks a lot like the normal Fire TV remote, but with a blue Alexa button plus dedicated app shortcuts for Prime Video, Netflix, Disney Plus and Hulu.
That's probably helpful for the millions of people who use those apps, but let's be honest: this is more helpful to Amazon, which is probably making a lot of money from selling those spaces to those companies.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max outlook
We're excited to get the Fire TV 4K Stick Max into the lab to test out its performance and find out if it measures up to the fastest Chromecast, Roku and Apple streaming boxes. Amazon's Fire devices have never been the quickest in the past, and it would be great if they could find a way to break through.
Currently, the Chromecast with Google TV, Roku Ultra and Roku Streaming Stick Plus are some of our favorite devices, so Amazon faces tough competition to get into that pack. The only thing working against it is its love of pushing Amazon content at you. If we could get a new Fire TV OS home screen, then we'd really be cooking with gas.
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