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.