7NEWS reviews Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Amazon provided us with a loan device for testing purposes, however, this hasn’t affected our views on the product.
Our reviews always remain independent of the manufacturer and the first time they will see the review is at the same time you’re reading it.
Keep reading to find out what we think.
How do I get it and what will it cost?
The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is available directly from Amazon for $99.
There’s currently a bundle offer too where you can save some cash when buying two Fire Stick TV devices. Just use the code FIRETV30 when you checkout.
Who is it good for?
There are two very strong streaming media players in Australia right now. Google’s latest Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon’s range of Fire TV sticks.
Therefore your choice is probably already made by whatever other devices you have in your home, and if you already have Amazon smart speakers or devices – or Google’s range of Nest products.
You can’t go wrong with either and if you’re in need of something that can easily plug into your TV to start streaming from your favourite platforms, Fire TV Stick 4K Max is an excellent choice.
Furthermore, Fire TV Stick 4K Max is more future-proof than Google’s offering with the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard supported. If you already have a modem or router that supports Wi-Fi 6 or are looking to upgrade, then you should probably go for what Amazon offers.
How does it work?
Setup couldn’t be any easier. Plug the Fire TV Stick into a spare HDMI port at the back of your TV and follow the on-screen instructions. Amazon also includes some additional hardware that Google doesn’t offer such as an HDMI adapter – in case your TV doesn’t play nice with where you need to plug in Fire TV Stick.
While comparing these two devices, I also found that Amazon’s remote felt a bit nicer to use – a more solid build quality to it. There’s also a small LED to display when an input has been detected on the remote. It’s these small touches that push Fire TV Stick to the front of the line ahead of Chromecast with Google TV.
Most of your favourite apps are here too. Fire TV Stick runs on Android, the same as what Google provides, however it’s Amazon’s heavily skinned version of Android so there are a few differences.
The main dashboard is a little bit easier to navigate and your downloaded apps row is displayed at the very top. However, recommendations on this screen are also very Amazon-heavy with suggestions of things to watch from Amazon Prime or listen to Amazon Music. It’s a lot, especially if you’re not signed up for either service.
As mentioned, most of the apps you’d expect are available to download such as Netflix, Disney+, 7plus (operated by the owner of this publication), Stan, and the newest streaming service, Paramount+ – but Foxtel’s Binge is absent and cannot be downloaded. This may be a dealbreaker for you.
Outside of the available streaming services, Fire TV Stick 4K Max comes with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support. If you already have a soundbar or home entertainment system, it’ll make very good use of your setup.
Finally, being an Amazon device you get full Alexa integration – allowing for greater controls over other smart devices in your home. Fire TV Stick 4K Max has ‘live view picture-in-picture’ support where you can check any security cameras in your home without interrupting what you’re watching.
Another benefit is hands-free control. Using other Alexa-voice-enabled devices in your home, you can simply tell Fire TV Stick to play something on Netflix or even pause and rewind.
What we think
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick range is strong, and the 4K Max model builds on this – creating a compelling option when looking into a streaming media player.
There’s not a lot to dislike – however, if you’re subscribed to Binge or already have a few Google smart devices in your home, you might need to look at Chromecast with Google TV instead.
But if that doesn’t worry you, or your home is full of Echo devices and other Alexa-compatible gadgets – you can’t go wrong with Fire TV Stick 4K Max.