Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max review: Top dog for streaming
The Amazon Fire TV Stick range seems to be spawning new models all the time. That’s apparent from the name of this top-end 2021 model: the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
This isn’t just any old Fire TV, nor is it just a 4K version – because that was already released in 2020 – rather it’s the maxxed out version of them all.
But what does the ‘Max’ part of the name actually mean and how does this top dog of Amazon’s streaming sticks fair.
Whichever you choose out of the bunch, the Amazon Fire TV Stick offers one of the best ways to stream content. It’s easy to use, there’s access to loads of streaming services, and integration with Alexa’s Skills means it does a little more than some.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is top of the pile. It’s faster to navigate around the user interface and better future-proofed thanks to quicker Wi-Fi connectivity – but even if you don’t have that Wi-Fi 6 router yet then it’s ready for you went you do.
If you want the best from the Fire TV Stick, then the 4K Max is the model you want
Amazon has done a lot to dominate the streaming stick market. Providing a simple solution to adding smart services to your television, the affordable sticks plug straight into an HDMI port on your TV and then you just have to connect to the power source using the supplied plug and cable.
It’s a USB power supply, but the USB on the rear of your TV is unlikely to have the power necessary to run it, so you’ll have to plug it into the wall socket.
There’s an HDMI extender cable provided, so if the HDMI is sticking straight out the back of your TV and you don’t have enough space behind then you can use the cable to bend it around the corner and out of the way. We attached it to an AV receiver (AVR) in this case, using the extender because there wasn’t enough space without the Stick 4K Max hitting the wall.
In terms of installation, that’s about all there is to do. Plug it in, turn on your TV, and off you go.
To get connected it will want to firstly connect to your Wi-Fi network, then to your Amazon account. The Wi-Fi support is one of the changes here over the older sticks – with the 4K Max offering Wi-Fi 6 support. You’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 router to take advantage of that, like the eero Pro 6.
Offering Wi-Fi 6 means faster Wi-Fi, more connected devices, and greater range. That also means less lag in starting a stream and it will be quick to step up to higher quality, rather than sitting in lower quality at the beginning of a stream.
Much of the setup can be done on your phone to save using on-screen keyboards, but as you get into more detail you’ll find yourself using that on-screen keyboard more and more.
On-screen navigation is slick and fast, with the keyboard one of the easiest we’ve used because it’s responsive, thanks to the precision of the remote and the fact that this is the most powerful Fire TV Stick yet.
During setup, the 4K Max will automatically detect what it’s connected to, choose the right settings, then offer up a range of services you might want to use so they can be downloaded and installed.