Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Review: A Reliable Choice

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Amazon introduced its first Fire TV Stick in India in 2017. Back then, smart TVs were expensive, fewer brands were manufacturing them, and the proliferation of over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms was relatively low. In such a market, a streaming device that can be plugged into any television with an HDMI port to access not only streaming apps but also games was a lucrative proposition.

Things, however, have changed significantly in 2024. On the one hand, OTT platforms have massively grown in number and offer a wide range of exclusive content. On the other hand, smart TVs have become relatively cheaper, and many new brands have entered the market, making them more accessible to the masses. As per a report by the Internet in India Report 2023, conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Kantar, a massive 707 million users in India engage with OTT platforms. The total number of streaming platforms has also grown to 57, according to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

In conditions like these, where it would appear that the usefulness of a third-party streaming device might be reduced, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K made its debut. Priced at Rs. 5,999, the device supports 4K resolution content (2160p) along with HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and more. It also offers the entire Amazon Appstore library with more than 12,000 apps.

For the last fortnight, I have been using the streaming device to find out whether what it offers is enough to make it relevant at a time when it faces competition not only from other streaming devices but also from the growing number of smart TVs that offer the same experience integrated within the television. So, let’s get down to the brass tacks.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Design and Remote

The basic design from the first generation of the Fire TV Stick has yet to see many upgrades over the years, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K continues the tradition. You get the same matte black rectangular device (which now gets curved edges) with the Fire TV logo on the top and an HDMI port at the front. If the HDMI port doesn’t easily plug in, an HDMI extender gives you that extra bit of flexibility.

fire tv stick1 4k Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K remote

On the side, there is a Micro-USB port for power. Some TVs might be able to power the device using the USB port if it provides enough power. Mine could not, so the charger in the box came in handy, and I was able to power it by plugging it into a power source.

The remote has also seen minor improvements compared to the previous Fire Stick 4K that came out in 2019. It now features dedicated app buttons for Prime Video, Netflix, and Amazon Music. A fourth button directly takes you to the installed apps. A live TV button and a dedicated Alexa button replace the older voice control button. The functionality remains the same; however, I found Alexa much more capable.

In the previous review, Gadgets 360 found that if the searched content was not from Prime Video, the virtual assistant would only pop up the app at best. However, now, it can bring up the title card from Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Jio Cinema, and YouTube (these were the apps I frequently used). Apart from that, the rest of the remote is pretty standard.

In terms of installation and usage, Fire TV is very easy to use. The installation process, including all the OS-based updates, took me about 15 minutes. All you have to do is plug it into your TV, connect the power source, and follow the instructions on the screen. It is a device that is meant to be plugged in and forgotten.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Interface

Running on the Fire OS, the user interface is not drastically different from the standard Android TV experience. You get the same tile-based layout and horizontal scrolling interface showcasing shows, movies, and apps. There are Home, Find, and Live TV sections and an easy-to-access app library. The Settings icon is also placed conveniently on top, and since the remote does not have a Settings button, its placement helps switch around stuff.

fire tv stick2 4k Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K interface

Amazon also has a good recommendation algorithm that suggests content from different OTT platforms, even if you have not installed them. You will see recently watched shows, recommendations from Netflix, free movies and TV programmes, and genre-wise categories. However, being an Amazon product, there is a bias for its content. For example, only the Prime Video content is labelled 4K on the home screen. For everything else, you will have to click on the content’s tile and check the details.

You can also directly jump to Prime Video content from the recommendation section on the home screen, but for any other app, you’ll encounter a description screen first. Also, Prime Video dominates the top half of the page where featured content is shown.

However, I did not find any of it an inconvenience since I watch a fair bit of shows and movies on Prime Video. The integration helped me discover newer content to watch and allowed me to play it quickly. Those who are not fans of the Prime Video library might be better served by Mi TV Stick or the default Android TV/Google TV.

Overall, the interface is snappy, responsive, and quite reliable over extended usage. I rarely encountered any glitches or issues.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Performance

Now, let’s get to the performance. On paper, this is the most powerful streaming device by Amazon available in India. It supports up to Wi-Fi 6 (both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands) and Bluetooth 5.0. It also gets up to HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos audio support to pair with the 4K Ultra-HD video quality support. The device offers an inbuilt storage of 8GB.

fire tv stick3 4k Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

IPL 2024 finale using Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

I have been using this device for more than two weeks on my Redmi Fire TV and have been pleased with its consistent performance. Whether I was catching up on episodes of Shogun, enjoying the comedy-drama Laapataa Ladies, or binge-watching Spy x Family anime, the video quality was crisp and bright, and the lighter and darker areas could be distinguished very easily. Even the darker scenes were well-lit and made for delightful viewing. Surprisingly, the OS performance of the Fire TV Stick 4K was snappier than my inbuilt Fire OS.

However, note that 4K video support will require faster internet connectivity, and the video stream may struggle if the connection is not stable or slow. Further, the overall video quality depends on the TV you’re using. It goes without saying that a premium TV with 4K support will present better visuals than a TV without it.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Verdict

As stated above, my goal with this review was to understand if the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K really offers enough to make the device a relevant and necessary purchase. After using it extensively, my answer is a resounding yes.

Even in a world where smart TVs can be found for less than Rs. 15,000, they are not all built equally. Some have poor memory, while others are affected by sub-par OS experience. With many people still using TVs with old-smarts and no-smarts, Amazon’s streaming device fills the gap of needing to replace reliable television hardware for software deficiencies.

The Fire TV Stick 4K offers solid performance with its OS interface, performance, and picture quality. But even more than that, what it truly offers is reliability. While I have experienced glitches with my Redmi smart TV and even my parents’ Sony Bravia, I never faced even a small issue with it. From navigating across different apps to watching shows and movies, the experience was seamless. A good streaming device, in my opinion, should be unnoticeable when watching the TV, and the Fire TV Stick 4K did exactly that.

If you do not own a smart TV or are struggling with a few-year-old smart TV that has started slowing down, the Fire TV Stick could be a good way to extend the TV’s life without compromising the viewing experience.


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