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Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) review: The middle child

The Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) is Amazon’s middle child in its lineup of streaming devices. It may not be the best or the most affordable option, but it does offer 4K HDR video support at a budget-friendly price of $50. This makes it a suitable choice for those who enjoy Amazon’s streaming features and don’t mind sacrificing some extra features and storage. However, for just $10 more, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max provides a better overall experience with additional storage and remote control features, as well as no annoying screensaver ads. So, while the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) has its merits, it’s worth considering the trade-offs before making a decision.

Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) review: The middle child

Design & Specs

The second-generation Fire TV Stick 4K has a rounded design that sets it apart from Amazon’s previous streaming dongles. It is designed to be plugged into the HDMI port of any modern TV, either as a replacement for a smart TV’s built-in software or to add smart features to a non-smart TV. The device is compact and sleek, making it easy to install and use.

In terms of performance, Amazon claims that the new Fire TV Stick 4K is 30 percent faster than its predecessor. While it may not be as powerful as the Fire TV Stick 4K Max or the Fire TV Cube, it boasts the same 2GB of RAM and delivers smooth performance for most tasks. Occasionally, there may be a slight delay when loading menus, but overall, the device feels fast and responsive.

The Fire TV Stick 4K offers 8GB of storage, with approximately 5GB of usable space. While this may be sufficient for most users, those who install a lot of apps may find that they quickly run out of storage. Amazon has introduced an “Auto Offload” feature to automatically clear up space as needed, but this feature may not be available on all devices yet.

Wireless capabilities include support for Wi-Fi 6, which provides a better connection with Wi-Fi 6 routers. However, it’s important to note that streaming services do not require the top theoretical speeds provided by Wi-Fi 6. The device also supports HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision HDR for enhanced video quality, as well as Dolby Atmos for immersive audio. Bluetooth audio is available for pairing wireless headphones or earbuds.

A mid-sized remote

The Fire TV Stick 4K comes with a mid-sized remote that features basic navigation and playback buttons, as well as TV volume and power controls. There is also an Alexa button for voice control, a live TV button for quick access to the Fire TV grid guide, and four non-programmable shortcuts for popular apps like Prime Video, Netflix, DirecTV, and Peacock.

Amazon has done a commendable job with TV and audio control on the remote. During setup, users are prompted to enter their TV manufacturer, and the remote can then be programmed to control the TV’s volume and power. The remote can also control external soundbars and A/V receivers, either over HDMI-CEC or IR. This provides a convenient and consolidated control experience for your entire home entertainment system.

While the Fire TV Stick 4K remote does not have as many buttons as the remotes that come with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max or the Fire TV Cube, it offers a comfortable and ergonomic design. Amazon also offers a Voice Remote Pro with additional features such as backlit keys, a remote finder function, and customizable buttons.

Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) review: The middle child

The software experience

Amazon’s Fire TV software offers a mix of useful content discovery features and sponsored/self-promotional material. The home screen displays shortcuts to your favorite apps at the top, along with recommendations for movies and shows from various streaming services. There are also rows for “Continue Watching,” “Next Up for You,” and live streaming channels.

The universal guide concept is present in the software, allowing users to access a range of content from different sources. However, the user experience can feel like being constantly upsold, as there are banner ads and sponsored content throughout the interface. Unfortunately, the rows on the home screen cannot be customized or reordered, which limits the personalization options for users.

Amazon does offer some helpful features in its interface, such as a customizable grid guide for live TV and an aggregator of ad-supported content. The search menu also provides genre-based recommendations. Voice search is a standout feature, allowing users to find specific movies or shows, launch apps, and tune to live channels. The device presents options from multiple streaming services, making it easy to choose the preferred streaming platform.

Pros and Cons

Pros of the Fire TV Stick 4K include mostly smooth performance, helpful content discovery features, and a compact remote. The device delivers on its promise of 4K HDR video support at an affordable price point, making it an attractive option for users who want a budget-friendly streaming device with decent performance.

However, there are some cons to consider. The limited storage capacity of only 8GB, with less than 5GB available for use, may be insufficient for users who install many apps or download large files. The menu system can be chaotic, and the presence of screensaver ads can be annoying for some users.

Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) review: The middle child

Price and Availability

The Fire TV Stick 4K is priced at $49.99, making it the most affordable option for 4K streaming in Amazon’s lineup. It is widely available for purchase from various retailers.

Comparison with other streaming devices

When compared to other streaming devices, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers competitive features and performance.

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a direct competitor to the Fire TV Stick 4K. It offers a similar set of features and performance, but the user experience and interface differ. Roku devices are known for their user-friendly interface and unbiased search capabilities, making them a popular choice for users who prioritize simplicity and ease of use.

Another popular streaming device is the Chromecast with Google TV. It combines the features of a streaming device and a media player, offering seamless integration with Google services and smart home features. The Chromecast also emphasizes personalized content recommendations based on user preferences.

Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) review: The middle child

User reviews

Positive user reviews of the Fire TV Stick 4K highlight its affordable price, smooth performance, and helpful content discovery features. Users appreciate the convenience of the remote, especially the TV volume and power controls. The device is praised for its ability to deliver 4K HDR video at such an affordable price point.

Negative user reviews mention the limited storage capacity and the chaotic menu system. Some users find the screensaver ads to be intrusive and detracting from the overall user experience.

Conclusion

Overall, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers a solid streaming experience with 4K HDR video support at an affordable price. While it may not be the top-of-the-line option in Amazon’s streaming device lineup, it provides good value for users who prioritize performance and affordability. The device’s content discovery features, voice search capabilities, and compact remote make it a competitive choice for those seeking a budget-friendly streaming device.

Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) review: The middle child

Additional features

In addition to the core features mentioned above, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers some additional features that enhance the user experience.

Users can control the TV volume and power through the remote, eliminating the need for multiple remotes. Bluetooth audio support allows for wireless pairing with headphones or earbuds, providing a private listening experience. The Fire TV Stick 4K is also compatible with external accessories such as storage drives, ethernet adapters, and wired game controllers, offering additional flexibility and expandability.

Comparison with Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is an upgraded version of the Fire TV Stick 4K, offering additional features and performance improvements. Some of the additional features of the 4K Max include more storage capacity, extra remote control features (such as dedicated buttons for settings, channel-flipping, and recent apps), and the absence of screensaver ads.

Whether it is worth upgrading to the Fire TV Stick 4K Max depends on individual preferences and needs. If storage capacity and additional remote control features are important to you, upgrading to the 4K Max may be worthwhile. However, if these features are not significant factors, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers a more budget-friendly option with similar performance capabilities.

Source: https://www.techhive.com/article/2122301/fire-tv-stick-4k-2023-review.html