Updated May 2021
Let’s cut straight to the point. The Amazon Fire Stick 4K is the best Android TV Stick currently on the market. Why? It is probably the only Android TV device for under $100 that will let you watch Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 4K.
The Fire Stick 4K comes with a lot of features, such as voice control and smart home integration, you usually only get with premium boxes, but it is available for a fraction of the price. Yes, you have to deal with the annoying Fire TV interface, but that seems like a small annoyance considering what you get.
But let’s dive into the details and see exactly why the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is such a good deal.
Overall Rating Of The Amazon Fire Stick 4K
Overall, we give the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K 4.5/5 stars. It loses a couple of points because the Amazon Fire software does make downloading some apps a little challenging (but not impossible), and it prioritizes Amazon products when you are searching.
But the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K might be the only Android streaming device under $100 that lets you watch Netflix and Prime Video in full 4K.
It also comes with the Alexa Voice Remote included, which usually costs $30 on its own, and gives you good quality voice command and let’s you integrate your TV stick with your Alexa smart home system (if you have one).
- 4K streaming of Netflix and Prime Video
- Voice command
- Alexa Voice Remote included
- Biased towards Amazon products
- Need to work around to download some applications
We think that the Amazon Fire Stick 4K, even though it was released in 2018, still has the edge over the Amazon Fire Stick 2020, which is nice, but it is a “lite” device and doesn’t offer 4K or full voice command.
Amazon Fire Stick 4K Review
While the Amazon Fire Stick 4K is small, about the same size as an old fashioned USB stick, it is very powerful under the hood.
We are talking about a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB of storage, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip, and an optional ethernet connection (sold separately) if you want the fastest possible internet speeds.
It is all this power that allows the little Fire Stick 4K to deliver 4K picture quality at 60 fps, with Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos.
So, as long as the content you want to stream is available in 4K, and you have a 4K TV, of course, you can expect maximum picture quality. It won’t be the Fire Stick 4K that is letting you down when it comes to delivering pristine 4K picture and sound.
The Stick comes with Amazon Alexa voice assistant built-in. Unlike the Fire TV Cube, the Fire Stick does not act as a fully-fledged Alexa speaker, but it will integrate with an Alexa speaker if you have one. If not, use the voice control button on the Amazon remote that comes included.
If you buy today, you will get the new version of the Amazon remote, which includes volume up and down buttons and power buttons that are absent from older versions of the remote. This is good news, as switching to your TV remote to adjust the volume was a bit of a pain.
If you are looking to stream content from major streaming services like Netflix or Prime Video, the Fire TV Stick 4K is probably the only streaming device for under $100 that will let you do that.
Hold on a minute. Don’t most of the TV streaming devices you see on the market today tell you that they do 4K streaming? True, and some even do 6K or 8K. But that doesn’t mean you can stream Netflix in 4K with these devices.
The problem is, while all these devices have all the hardware and software they need to stream in 4K, they aren’t authorized to access 4K content on some of the major streaming services, in particular, Netflix and Prime Video.
This is because these premium services only let authorized devices access their 4K content. This is part of ensuring the integrity of the content. They don’t want someone trying to stream in 4K with a poor quality device and then telling all of their friends that 4K on Netflix isn’t any good.
But this means that the streaming companies have to check and authorize each individual streaming device as they are released. While they will do that very quickly for big name devices that sell in high volume, such as hardware from Samsung,Sony, AppleTV, and the NVIDIA Shield, it is not really a priority for them to do this for companies producing relatively small runs of Android TV devices. So, pretty much all those 4K Android TV boxes that you see for less than $100 won’t be authorized to access these services in 4K.
You can read more about how exactly this authorization process works here.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, produced by Amazon, is naturally authorized to access Prime Video in 4K, and it is also authorized on Netflix. So, if you are looking for something affordable for this kind of 4K streaming, it is your best choice.
The Stick is incredibly easy to set up. It is just a matter of plugging it directly into your TV via the HDMI 2.2 port and into a power socket via the micro-USB. You will then want to sign it into your network, either via Wi-Fi or with an ethernet connection, which is sold separately.
There is an easy step-by-step set-up wizard that takes you through every step of the process. You will need an Amazon account to complete your set up. But you don’t need an Amazon Prime subscription, though it will certainly improve your experience.
When it comes to streaming, the Amazon Fire Stick 4K does not come with any content. You need to set yourself up with the content you want via streaming apps. It is simple to download the majority of what you want.
Amazon Prime Video will come pre-installed, and all you need to do is activate an Amazon Prime Membership to get it working. All the most popular apps, such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Sling TV are easily downloaded from the Amazon Store, where native apps that should work seamlessly with your stick are available.
You don’t get as much flexibility with the Amazon Fire Stick as you do with a “pure” Android TV Stick in that not all of the apps available in the Google Play Store are available in the Amazon Store.
For example, you can’t download the full TikTok app to your Fire Stick; you only get a more limited “view only” version that has been designed specifically for Amazon. But if you are desperate to download any of these apps onto the stick, you can work around this by sideloading, but it is not as clean as a direct download.
If you want to watch broadcast TV, that is simple to do by plugging an antenna into your TV, and you can then access the live TV via an app that is built into the Fire TV. While the Fire TV Stick (and Cube) don’t offer DVR for live TV, you can now buy this separately in the form of the Amazon Fire TV Recast.
Depending on which model you choose, you can get either 75 or 150 hours of DVR space with this machine that works seamlessly with the Fire Stick 4K and other Fire devices.
You can read more about the Amazon Fire TV Recast here.
The Amazon Fire Stick 4K has great response times, and you won’t notice loading assuming your internet is good. The interface is also highly intuitive to use in terms of navigating between your apps and searching for content.
That is not to say it is perfect. There are a few little niggles that could be fixed.
First, while the search function is great, and you can search by actor as well as title and filter via 4K content, it does push Amazon content to the top of the list, which not all users will appreciate.
Second, voice command does not work with all the apps. That’s fine, but if the voice command fails, you get kicked out of where you are and you will need to enter again. This can be a bit frustrating, so it is worth remembering which apps don’t play well with voice command.
One thing we do like is the new picture in picture option, which means you can have two apps open at the same time. While this might not seem like the most useful thing for a TV stick, if you have Alexa sending you answers, it will only take up part of the screen while you continue watching whatever you were interested in.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is available exclusively from Amazon. It usually costs $49.99 with the Amazon remote included. This is only $10 more than the non-4K Amazon sticks. Plus, there are often big discounts available, such as on Amazon Prime Day.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K’s biggest competition tends to be the Amazon Fire Cube, which currently costs around $120. It offers very similar functionality, but it has an ethernet connection in-built and can act as a fully fledged Alexa speaker. So, those who want both TV streaming and an Alexa speaker tend to go for the cube.
If it is the speed offered by the ethernet connection that is your main concern, you can get the Fire Stick 4K in a bundle with the external ethernet adapter for about $70.
If you are looking at the Fire Stick 4K because of the price point, you might be comparing it with other Android TV boxes around the $50 mark. But while these affordable boxes can deliver 4K, they aren’t authorized to access Netflix and Prime Video in 4K. They also don’t tend to include voice command or smart home integration. So, if those three things are important to you, you should go with the Fire Stick.
The only other TV stick, rather than a box, that we’ve seen on the market authorized to deliver Netflix in 4K is the NVIDIA Shield mini streaming device, which currently costs around $150.
What Is The Difference Between The Fire Stick And The Fire Stick 4K?
As the name suggests, you can get 4K resolution with the Fire Stick 4K, while you only get 1080pp HD quality with a standard Fire Stick.
What Channels Do You Get With The Fire Stick 4K?
Like most streaming tech, unless they are “fully loaded,” the Fire Stick 4K does not come with channels included. You need to download apps, invest in an antenna, or otherwise source the content you would like to stream. Even Prime Video requires an Amazon Prime subscription, which costs $12.99 per month after a free trial period.
Can You Watch Normal TV On The Amazon Fire Stick?
You can watch normal TV on the Amazon Fire TV stick, but you will require an antenna or other live TV streaming app, such as Sling TV. If you want DVR service, you will need an extra piece of kit, the Amazon Fire TV Recast, which offers either 75 or 150 hours of DVR storage depending on the model that you choose.
Does The Amazon Fire Stick 4K Work On Any TV?
An Amazon Fire Stick 4K will work on any TV as long as it has a HDMI input. However, if you want to take advantage of the 4K picture quality, you do also require a 4K TV.
If you are looking for an affordable Android TV device that won’t just stream your own content in 4K but will also let you want major streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video in 4K, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is by far the best choice.
As well as being authorized to access this popular content in 4K, you get the Alexa Voice Remote included, which means voice commands and smart home integration. You probably won’t see any of these features on another TV streaming device that costs less than $100.
Don’t get confused by the fact that the Amazon Fire Stick 2020 is newer than the Amazon Fire Stick 4K. If you want 4K streaming in a stick, this is the only Fire Stick that will deliver that.
Do you have experience using the Amazon Fire Stick 4K? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments action below.