Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k and 4k Max Review

Amazon recently updated their Fire TV Stick 4k and 4k Max streaming devices (affiliate link). The original 4k stick first came out in 2018 making this new one a pretty big upgrade. The Max, however, made its debut only a year ago so this new one is more of an incremental update. You can see my full review here.

While I delved deep into the Max version in the video, I also touched upon the non-Max version, especially since there isn’t a significant performance difference between the two anymore. Both have the same processor with the Max’s CPU clocked slightly faster. But that uptick in performance will likely go unnoticed by most consumers.

The Max offers more storage, 16 gigabytes compared to the 8 GB on the regular 4K stick. This might be beneficial for those who download a lot of apps, especially games. Another difference is the Wi-Fi support. While both devices support the newer Wi-Fi 6 standard, the Max also supports the 6 gigahertz band, part of the Wi-Fi 6E standard. However, in my speed tests, I didn’t notice a significant difference between the two bands.

The Max also comes with a fancier remote with more buttons, allowing for more device control options. The Max has a new “ambient experience” that pops up with widgets and changing backdrops when the device is sitting idle. This feature is not on the regular 4k stick.

Both sticks support various HDR modes including Dolby Vision and HLG along with Dolby Atmos audio. They also support the new Dolby AC4 standard, which is part of the new ATSC3 broadcast standard.

For gaming enthusiasts, both Fire TV sticks should suffice for game streaming. I tried out Amazon Luna, Amazon’s streaming app, and found the performance to be adequate even over WiFi. The Fire TV ecosystem also offers native games, but the library is quite thin.

In conclusion, for the casual user, the regular 4K Fire TV Stick should be more than adequate. However, if you’re looking for specific features like ambient mode, the enhanced remote or more storage, the Max might be worth the extra cost.

Amazon’s Fire Max 11 is Their Best Tablet Ever

In my latest video I take a look at Amazon’s newest tablet, the Fire Max 11, which is a significant improvement over previous models in terms of performance and quality. You can find it here (compensated affiliate link).

The tablet is priced at $229 for the entry-level model with 64GB of storage, subsidized by advertising on its lock screen. A version without ads costs about $20 more. It features an 11-inch IPS display with a 2000 by 1200 resolution. The display is bright and colors are vibrant.

The Fire Max 11 is powered by a MediaTek MT8188J processor and comes with 4GB of RAM. It has a metal backing, giving it a more premium feel over the plastic backs on prior models. The tablet is equipped with a USB-C port for charging and data transfer, although it doesn’t support high-speed power delivery and is limited to USB 2.0 speeds for data. The Max 11 also has a fingerprint reader integrated into the power switch for quick unlocking.

It supports an SD card for up to 1TB of additional storage. The battery life is around 12-14 hours for basic tasks, but it takes a long time to charge due to the lack of high-speed charging support.

The Fire Max 11 has a Wifi 6 radio on board but I found its bandwidth constrained to about 400 megabits per second. But I found it was good enough to maintain a 1080p game streaming session just fine.

The tablet has two 8-megapixel cameras, one on the front and one on the back. The picture quality isn’t spectacular but passable. Both cameras can shoot video at 1080p at 30 frames per second but the camera system lacks a stabilizer. But the high resolution video should look great on conferencing apps like Zoom.

The tablet also supports USI 2.0 compatible pens for note-taking and drawing, although there’s noticeable latency compared to more expensive tablets. Amazon’s recommended pen is very affordable and will work with other devices that support the USI 2.0 standard too.

The Max 11 can also function as an Echo device, with an always-on display in Show Mode or voice commands in regular tablet mode even when locked.

Performance is much improved over prior versions, putting this tablet on par with other mid-range Android tablets. I was even able to get some playable frame rates out of the Dolphin Gamecube emulator – something that wasn’t possible on prior Fire tablets.

The Fire Max 11 runs on Amazon’s version of Android, which doesn’t support the Google Play Store. There are ways to shoehorn Google Play and other Google apps onto the tablet but it’s not supported by Google or Amazon. However, it does support split-screen mode and has a decent selection of apps available from Amazon’s own app store.

Overall, the Fire Max 11 is a great value tablet with improved performance and quality, making it a good choice for basic consumption and some gaming. However, the lack of Google apps might be a drawback for some users.