Review Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k MAX A Performance Bump with Better Wi-Fi

hey everybody it’s la inside and we’re taking a look today at the new amazon fire tv stick 4k max this is a little faster than the prior 4k stick we looked at a couple of years ago and we’re going to dive into this product and what you can do with it in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that i paid for this with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this new stick is all about now the price point on this is about 55 at the time i’m recording this video just know that these fire tv sticks go on sale all the time so keep an eye on some of those big shopping events and you might get yourself a good deal on it now at the time i’m recording this video the original fire tv 4k stick is still for sale and if you’re not seeing much of a price difference i would go with the new one just to be safe they tend to support these for two or three years and then switch to the new hardware for future updates so my advice would be go with this one it’s running the more up-to-date fire os seven and it is a little bit faster as you’ll see as we work our way through the review the hardware is really simple you’ve got an hdmi connector here that you use to plug into your television if your tv happens to be pressed up against the wall they do have a little extension cable here that will allow you to angle it away from the wall so you can actually fit it back there and then you also have a micro usb connector here this is not a usb type-c connector that i was hoping to see on this device this is a port that is used for power but you can also plug in what’s called an otg usb hub that will allow you to connect other usb devices so if you are technically inclined and are interested in going down the rabbit hole here you can plug in ethernet you can also plug in external storage to give it a little bit more

room to store apps and other media files and i’ll talk a little bit more about the storage on this when we get to the technical details this remote is new for this version of the fire stick i believe they’re working this remote into some of the other fire sticks as well you’ve got your voice button here for activating the amazon a word you do have to hold it down to speak it’s not going to allow you to shout the wake word into the air so you will have to push the button down to get access to all of the amazon functions but this does give you a bulk of what you can do with an amazon echo device for example they have now added some rental properties here at the bottom of the remote so all of these services paid for a shortcut button you also have a live tv button here to get to some of the live tv services that are available on the fire tv now so the remote is slightly updated but still pretty much functions the same as the other ones it does work over bluetooth but you do have infrared here for controlling your tv power and volume and whatnot now a lot of people ask me what do i need one of these things for if i already have a smart television and the answer is if you are satisfied with the apps on your smart tv and you can get all of the services that you’re subscribed to delivered through that smart tv then you don’t need a

streaming stick or any other kind of streaming device but if you’ve got a computer monitor like i do here or an older television that is no longer supported by its manufacturer getting a streaming stick will make that dumb tv smart and that is what we’re going to do today as we are demoing the streaming stick here will give you all of the smart tv functionality on a tv that may not have any smarts inside of it now inside this does have a faster processor than the previous stick it’s a mediatek mt8696 amazon says it’s 40 faster than the old fire tv stick and in playing around with it i would say it’s close to that depending on what you’re measuring it’s got two gigabytes of ram on board that is up from 1.5 gigabytes before so we’ll do multitasking a little bit better it has though only eight gigabytes of onboard storage so if you do plan to download a bunch of android games for this uh you will be limited in what you can store on the device itself you can plug in external storage to give you a little bit more room but at that point you’re going to have all this crazy stuff hanging off of this thing and you might just want to go with the more expensive and more powerful fire tv cube or an nvidia shield or something like that so you can install a couple of casual games on here but not much more than that one differentiator between the fire tv and the roku is that there are games and other apps available for this device which you will not find on the roku which mainly only runs streaming

apps now this device does have the latest fire os version 7 installed but it only supports 32-bit applications and that’s important if you are side loading android apps onto the device my advice is that if you are an advanced user and really want to dig into what you can do with one of these things beyond the basics i think the nvidia shield might be a better choice for you given its flexibility and its performance levels but i think for general consumers this one is certainly more than adequate it does support widevine l1 and l3 for drm it supports most of the current hdr formats including hdr10 hdr10 plus hlg and dolby vision it also supports dolby atmos audio for apps that support that and of course it will deliver a 4k resolution at up to 60 frames per second all right let’s dive in now and see this thing in action and the first thing that i noticed out of the gate with this is that it is faster than the prior edition it is definitely zippier at loading apps up as you can see i’m going to jump between netflix and prime video and youtube and you can see these apps are just springing up a little bit quicker than they might have before we’ll go over to youtube now and see how fast that loads up and then maybe we’ll jump back to netflix here and overall it just feels like a more up-to-date device and comparable perhaps to some of the other ones that it’s competing with in the market and for a stick this

is performing quite well so i’ve been fairly impressed with the added boost in speed at least in so far as how it feels when you’re navigating things i also found that when you start streaming something it does spin up a little bit quicker as well and i think that’s due to the processor upgrade and i’ve been playing back some 4k 60 frames per second video on youtube and it’s been able to keep up with that just fine as you can see here we’ve got no drop frames everything is playing back perfectly from the stick here so 4k content appears to be running very nicely and of course everything just operates a bit quicker so that’s been nice to see here now the wi-fi has been improved on this but to get the most out of that improvement you will need a wi-fi 6 access point or router it’ll work on older wireless access points but the benefits of wi-fi 6 require that you connect to a wi-fi 6 router or access point and we’ll run a quick speed test here just to get a feel for how well this performs here this is a side loaded app and i’ve got a keyboard and trackpad paired up via bluetooth to use it here and as you can see as we start the test we’re able to pull down well over 300 megabits per second from the internet to the stick over wi-fi six almost 400 here and we’ll see about the same performance on the upstream as well so this can really deliver a good amount of data for a small device in fact it is faster on

wifi than it is on ethernet given how slow its usb port is but you will not see any speed improvements on this new one versus the old one if you’re not getting a good signal to your device so right now my access point is right over there in the ceiling a lot of times people are putting these things behind a tv and they’re getting blocked by all sorts of obstructions so if your signal is not so great now this is not going to improve it you’re going to want to move your router or access point into a spot where the device can get a better signal because more often than not that’s the issue most people run into however if you do have a very active household wi-fi 6 will actually provide some improvement there because it can better manage a more congested environment now they have made some improvements to the fire tv interface and these improvements are not limited to the max device either so you’ll see this across the line one thing that i like is that you can have now profiles set up so everybody in the household gets a different look and a different personalization to the home page you have six apps here that are front and center and you can change that by going into your app menu here and then moving up the apps that you want into that top panel so you can see i’ve got a bunch more things installed than i have here at the top but if i hold down the button here i can move hd home run for

example over to that number six position there and then when i go back out to the main menu it will replace it there so you can just more quickly get to the apps you want to load up but you can also just make a voice command so i could say load netflix and that of course will give us a direct line to netflix here it’ll just boot it right up for you so you do have some flexibility as to how you want to handle this now one neat thing about fire tv devices is that they are a very good universal remote control and let me show you what i mean by that we’re going to go over to the settings here and what we’re going to do is go down to equipment control and this takes a little bit of time to set up but you can add all the things that are plugged into your television like your stereo or home theater receiver your satellite box your game console your xbox your dvd player whatever you can think of is on the list here and what you can do is just issue a voice command and say hey load up the xbox and what it will do is power on your home theater receiver it’ll switch that thing to the right input for the xbox and the xbox comes up without having to fuss around with a bunch of buttons you just issue the voice command and it all works for you again takes a little bit of time to get set up but if you’re struggling with family members that can’t figure out how to get the blu-ray player working for example the voice command here after you set up the equipment control can be really useful another thing they

have integrated here is a bunch of free live stuff and if you push this live button on your remote it will pull up those live streaming stations for you and these can come in from multiple providers so right now this set is coming in from plex and there are some ways that you can configure what live services appear in that live menu now they do have to support this amazon live feature so not every app is going to work here so for me right now it is just plex and their free tv channels this does not include the plex dvr that we’ve talked about in other videos unfortunately it’s just the free streaming stuff i also have imdb tv here and then the fire tv news stuff but i think youtube live or sling one of those services also integrates in here so you can even get your subscription tv services integrated i did install the new xfinity app unfortunately that is not currently integrated you have to load the app up separately but there is some option for browsing live television and if you’re looking for specific content you can search for it so for example i can ask show me star trek the next generation and what it will do here is go out and search for star trek the next generation the results are always heavily in favor of amazon so if i hit the resume button here it’s going to play from amazon prime but there is a button here for finding more ways to watch and that will dig into some of the other services that have this

show on it it’s not quite a universal search because i do believe the providers have to pay or agree with amazon to include their results here but if you’re looking to see if something is freely watchable you can start here although it’s not a fully inclusive search one neat thing that they’ve added to the max here is the ability to watch your security cameras picture in picture while you’re consuming other content so right now we’re watching a youtube video and i can ask it to show me the garage camera and what it’s going to do here is take a break it’s going to go out to my wise camera that’s on the front of the garage and it’ll take it a second to spin up and this was something you could do on the other fire devices just asked to see your security cameras provided they were supported by amazon and once it connects here it does take a second unfortunately it’ll give us a live view of the outside of my home and then on this new max device we have an option to minimize to picture in picture and so what’s happening now is i’m able to go back and watch my content that i was watching but still have the security camera playing so if you’re waiting for somebody to show up or something you can watch both things at the same time i could not find any way to do netflix in a window in something else so it looks like it’s kind of limited to your security cameras but this is kind of a neat feature now if you own a ring doorbell when somebody pushes the button that picture-in-picture window will come up automatically and show you who is at the door now you can play games on these devices this is shovel knight which is available for the fire tv platform so it’s running natively on the fire stick here and it seems to be doing just fine from a frame rate and gameplay

perspective there’s a bunch of casual games available the device of course supports game controllers that you pair up via bluetooth so i’ve got an 8bitdo controller i reviewed a while back here hooked up via bluetooth to the fire stick and it seems to work pretty well you can run game emulators on here but even though this is a more powerful fire stick it’s still nowhere near what you would need for higher end emulations so for people that are really looking to do a lot of game playing with android apps i would look to the nvidia shield for that and on the 3dmark slingshot gaming benchmark test we got a score of 708 that does put this above the fire tv stick 4k and the recently released google chromecast with google tv but this is still lagging behind the fire tv cube which is amazon’s most powerful device at the moment by the way the nvidia shield got a score of 5132 on that test now you can also stream games either in your home using apps like moonlight or rainway or from a streaming service provider now amazon of course is launching their luna service and you can get on it right now with one of these fire sticks it is a subscription service but it is running at 60 frames per second here it’s pushing down 1080p gameplay here and we’re doing about 20 megabits per second or so as we are running around here in this game called control so it seems like a pretty good experience here one thing that will happen on the mac stick here is that when the luna app is loaded it puts itself into a low latency mode and it feels like it does help a

little bit one thing to note though is that when you’re connecting controllers via bluetooth to one of these streaming sticks there is some lag just in the bluetooth connection so you might want to look at the luna controller which is designed to cut down on the latency a little bit more but overall it feels pretty good to me from a game streaming perspective it’s you know dealing with 20 megabits per second of video data coming down here and it’s seeming to be pretty responsive to my button pushes and whatnot so i think this will be a fairly good experience if you’re looking to stream games either from a service or from a gaming computer in your house i know a lot of you follow me for my coverage of the plex personal media server and in full disclosure they are a sponsor here on the channel and we did play around with a bunch of 4k blu-ray movies running on plex to see if we could play them back over wifi on this and surprisingly they did play back quite well without any interruptions even at full bit rate so that was good it did shift the tv into the proper hdr mode and frame rate which was also good but unfortunately it doesn’t support lossless audio pass through so the higher end atmos and dts hd formats unfortunately did not work on the fire tv stick with plex but everything else did so it is decent enough for playing back some of your personal media but not the high-end stuff so overall this is a

nice update over the original fire tv stick 4k it’s been able to handle all of the 4k content i have thrown at it from netflix and prime video and youtube dolby vision and atmos and all the other stuff seems to be working just fine here you’ve got almost universal compatibility with all the major streaming apps on this thing and it offers a nice bump in performance over the prior edition 4k stick and you notice that the most when you’re browsing the interface everything just feels snappier less laggy and over time these apps that we run have gotten more complex so we’re getting trailers tossed at us as we’re browsing the netflix interface for example and all of that stuff has really slowed down some of our older devices and this one gets you back up to a point where you can more efficiently find something to watch on one of the many streaming services we’re all subscribed to that is going to do it for now until next time this is london thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by supporters including gold level supporters hot sauce and video games brian parker chris allegretta tom albrecht thomas anfang jim tannis and handheld obsession if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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