REVIEW: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa remote

Fire TV Stick 4K is the new Amazon TV-Stick that we present today in its review, a model that integrates the interesting Mediatek MT8695 SoC, a product that represents an important leap with respect to the previous generations of Mediatek as we have seen in a special article. This model, which replaces the previous Fire TV Basic edition in some regions, continues with its design oriented 100% to streaming, as always we have the Amazon FireOS system, we also have 1.5GB of DDR4 RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. It has 2×2 ac dual band MIMO Wifi, Bluetooth 5.0 LE and a single microUSB connector. We will see in our review how this device behaves and that it offers us at all levels.
  • Fire TV Stick 4K can be purchased in Amazon for only $34,99 (49,99€)
  • Buy the best add-ons like, USB HUB, USB memory to expand storage or others.

fire tv stick 4k review n04 min

PRODUCT DETAILS

Fire TV Stick 4K
SoC: Mediatek MT8695 Quad Core (64bit) / GPU PowerVR GE8300 MP4 / 4x ARM-A53 @ 1.69GHz
System: FireOS 6.2 based in Android 7.1.2 (32bit)
RAM and Storage: 1,5 GB DDR4 / 8GB eMMC
Network: Wifi AC Dual band 2×2 MIMO/ Bluetooth 5.0 LE
Ports: HDMI 2.0b 4K@60fps / MicroUSB 2.0 OTG
Extras: HDMI extender / Manual / DC 5,25V 1A Adapter / Alexa remote with AAA batteries

Description

The TV-Stick Fire TV Stick 4K follows the line of classic design of this range and has a really compact size. On the front we only have the HDMI 2.0b male connector that allows 40@60fps video output with last generation HDR information and on one of its sides the only microUSB 2.0 OTG port.

  • Materials and measures: Plastic / 99 x 30 x 14 mm / 53.6 gr
  • Package contents: HDMI extender / Manual / DC 5,25V 1A Adapter / Alexa remote with AAA batteries included.
  • Interfaces: HDMI 2.0b 4K@60fps / microUSB OTG 2.0
  • Leds and panel: No.

The standard serial control has been renewed and includes a microphone to use the Alexa assistant, it should be noted that this feature is geographically restricted and we will not be able to use Alexa in countries where this device is not sold. As we see the command is very simple with the basic options of multimedia control, microphone button and off button that only works if we have configured the CEC system with our TV. To connect peripherals we must use a microUSB 2.0 OTG cable with power input to power the TV-Stick that you can get it in our list of add-ons.

  • Remote control: BT remote control with integrated microphone for Alexa and CEC system.
  • Alternative remote control: We can connect a flymouse, mouse or keyboard, although the mouse is not seen in the FireOS desktop only when entering apps like Kodi or ES Explorer.

ANDROID SYSTEM

Environment and user experience

We connect the Fire TV Stick 4K to the power outlet, the hardware starts up automatically and the Fire TV logo appears on the screen. After an input animation we get to the FireOS launcher based on rows of rectangles where we have very little customization and in the top row is where we have our most used apps. We have few apps installed by default, basically a few streaming services. In this TV-Stick the system moves very smoothly and fast between the apps, there are no hardware performance problems thanks to the Mediatek MT8695 SoC with Corte-A53 cores, thanks alto to the increase in RAM and the excellent internal storage that is one of the fastest we have seen.

  • Launcher: FireOS Launcher / We CAN’T change launcher / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking not available / NO lower access bar, notification area in settings menu.
  • Installed apps: Prime Video and Alexa restricted in countries that shell it officially, other streaming apps.
  • Languages: Most of the international Android classics languages.
  • On/Off Controls: It can not be turned off, the remote control button is only for controlling our TV using CEC.

System, support and store apps

The Fire TV Stick 4K has installed by default the FireOS 6.2 OS, a system designed by Amazon that does not have the services of Google Play, with which they have an intense struggle. The system runs on Android 7.1.2 version and has a fairly modern kernel with which we have stability at all times.

  • System version: FireOS 6.2.3.2 based in Android 7.1.2 (32bit) / Kernel 4.4.120 (07-11-2018).
  • App store: Amazon app store, Google Play can not be installed..
  • Brand support: Mandatory OTA updates by Amazon.
  • Root: The system IS NOT root.
  • Scene: No custom firmwares for this TV-Stick / NOT compatible with LibreELEC.

HARDWARE TESTS

Storage and RAM Memory

We perform our usual memory tests and internal storage in the Fire TV Stick 4K using the SD bench app. As we see in the tests, the internal storage speed is excellent, which makes the system move smoothly. As external storage we can connect units by USB 2.0 or a limited USB Ethernet adapter at those speeds.

  • Storage: Total 8GB – Free 4GB. / NOT expandable with a USB memory stick
  • RAM: Total 1.5GB – Free 540MB / DDR4.
  • Compatible formats: NTFS  NOT compatible / exFAT NOT compatible

Fire TV Stick 4K test eng disk 01 min

WIFI and Bluetooth

In Wi-Fi connections, the Fire TV Stick 4K TV-Stick has a Wifi ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4/5GHz without Bluetooth 5.0 LE with which we connect to an ASUS RT-AC1200G+ Router, a mid-range device. We perform tests on the use of streaming using the iPerf measurement tool to see the maximum performance of each network adapter.

  • Wifi speed results: Correct speed for this wifi adapter, quite stable.
  • Wifi range: At a distance of 5 meters with a wall we have a signal of 51 dBm, very good value.
  • Ethernet: Good Ethernet speed with limitations of the microUSB 2.0 OTG port, see addons section.
  • Bluetooth: We can connect compatible devices without problems.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.

Fire TV Stick 4K test eng streaming 01 min

Power consumption, temperature and noise

A nivel de consumo el Fire TV Stick 4K utilizando el SoC Mediatek MT8695 has very good results in terms of efficiency. This new SoC is manufactured in 12nm and has a maximum consumption of only 3.9W. If we have a 5V 1A USB port on our TV we can use it to power this TV-Stick.

Fire TV Stick 4K test eng power 01 min

We check the performance of the TV-Stick in scenarios of maximum sustained performance and in its usual use, we use a stress app for fifteen minutes and thermal camera to detect hot areas. As we have seen the Fire TV Stick 4K has no ventilation slots but the heat sink system works perfectly and the consumption reach only 3.9W even with demanding apps.

  • Loss of performance: The system maintains a maximum constant performance, minimum loss of performance.
  • Temperature: The upper part heats up a little but does not affect the general use of the TV-Stick.
  • Noise: Fanless system, 0db.

PERFORMANCE TEST

SOC

At power level the Fire TV Stick 4K has very good results, the new Mediatek MT8695 Quad Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 processors and the PowerVR GE8300 MP4 GPU are a very good hardware combination. Observing the results we can see how it is almost on par with the recent Amlogic S905X2 SoC, in general is below of powerful SoC’s as the Rockchip RK3399 that already has ARM Cortex-A73 cores, this new SoC leaves far behind the Previous generation of Mediatek.

Benchmarks

Games and gamepads

In the gaming aspect the Fire TV Stick 4K have the Mediatek MT8695 SoC that integrates a Mali-450MP5 GPU, this model allows us to correctly move most Android titles without performance problems and good compatibility. The titles with a lot of 3D load also move quite well and this GPU allows us to play them correctly in low or medium settings.

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video and audio connections

In terms of multimedia playback the Fire TV Stick 4K behaves perfectly using the new Mediatek MT8695 SoC, which has video output support for HDMI 2.0b that allows maximum resolution up to 4K@60fps with HDR information. The system has an automatic framerate sync menu but it is only for compatible apps, so far we know it only works with Amazon Prime Video, KODI or PLEX, so it is not useful at general use level with MX player or even Netflix.

Video playback test

We passed our video playback tests on the Fire TV Stick 4K, a device that integrates the Mediatek MT8695 SoC and a VPU compatible with most video formats and with which we can use players like MX Player or install KODI using the apk files. We have well-defined colors and a fairly good image quality, at the codec level we have good HVEC and VP9 compatibility up to P2, supports HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision modes.. This model is NOT compatible with LibreELEC.

Video and audio results

Video Formats Result
h.264 / 1080i / 8bit OK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bit OK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) Frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bit OK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bit OK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR OK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bit OK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR OK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDR Frameskip (SW)
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bit Frameskip (SW)
Max. Bitrate 100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have have some frameskip in very heavy files.
Audio Formats Result
Dolby 5.1 / Plus / True HD/ Atmos = OK
DTS 5.1 / MA / HR / X = PCM
  • PCM – Stereo only doing downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby or DTS base system / More info

Streaming services

We pass the classic tests on streaming services to see how the most popular services work. In this model does not have certificates for these services. The Fire TV Stick 4K has all the necessary certificates to be able to see contents with the most popular apps, we must bear in mind that YouTube is only accessible from the Silk or Firefox browser because Google does not allow using its app to Amazon.

  • DRM: Google Widevine L1 / Microsoft Playready.
  • Certification: It has certificates for Netflix and Prime Video 4K.
Streaming service Calidad / Audio
Youtube 4K (2160p) / 5.1
Google Play Movies No compatible
Netflix 4K (2160p) / 5.1 / Netflix Guide
HBO FullHD (1080p) / Stereo / HBO Guide
Disney+ 4K (2160p) / 5.1 / Disney+ Guide
Apple TV+ 4K (2160p) / 5.1 / Apple TV+ Guide
Prime Video 4K (2160p) / 7.1 / Prime Video Guide
DAZN HD (720p) / Stereo
IPTV FullHD (1080i) / Stereo

CONCLUSIONS

Score

Opinion

As we have seen in our review the Fire TV Stick 4K has a very interesting hardware governed by the new Mediatek MT8695 SoC, a product that improves substantially in performance and efficiency thanks to the jump to 12nm compared to the previous generation of Mediatek that we had seen on the 2nd generation Fire TV Stick (Basic edition). This model also integrates a much more powerful GPU and its VPU now supports decoding of the most modern HVEC and VP9 codecs up to P2, we also have compatibility of the most important HDR formats and audio support up to Dolby Atmos.

The new Fire TV Stick 4K has a design very similar to the previous one but the cooling system and the new much cooler SoC do not heat the device so we do not have loss of performance. The internal storage performance is really spectacular and it shows in how fluid the system moves, in the section of Wifi ac 2×2 MIMO and Bluetooth we also have a good performance. As always the limitations come from FireOS and the Amazon restrictions policy geographically which prevents us from using the functions of the Alexa command outside the official sales regions. As we see a very interesting device and a big improvement from the previous 2nd generation.

WHERE TO BUY AND ADD-ONS

  • Fire TV Stick 4K can be purchased in Amazon for only $34,99 (49,99€)
  • You can compare this product with our recommended models to know alternatives.

Add-ons

fire tv stick 4k review n02 min

Fire TV Stick 4K _

0.00
7.5

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

6.5/10

HARDWARE

8.5/10

SOFTWARE

6.5/10

SUPPORT

7.5/10

PRICE/QUALITY

8.5/10

Pros

  • Compact
  • SoC with good performance
  • Fast internal storage
  • Efficient wifi
  • Good image quality, HDR, auto frame rate

Cons

  • FireOS
  • Limited by region
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meesterP

What did you use to play back th emedia files? Asking because on my “Fire TV Stick 4k” 1080p h264 10bit files do not play back without frameskipping in Kodi.

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