REVIEW: Fire TV Stick 4K Max, the most powerful TV-Stick for streaming


Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the new Amazon TV-Stick that we present today its analysis or review. A small format device that does not offer compatibility with all current streaming services in 4K HDR quality.

The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is identical to the Fire TV Stick 4K externally but inside we have more computing power and graphics, a device that for now is crowned as the most powerful Stick available. This new Stick also has support for AV1 codec that will be gradually integrated into all current streaming services to offer higher quality with maximum compression, we also have Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support. Let’s see in our review how this device performs and how it fares against its rivals.

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max is available on Amazon from $54.99 (64.99€) with free shipping.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Fire TV Stick 4K Max
SoC: Mediatek MT8696 Quad Core A55 @ 1.8 GHz (64bit) / GPU PowerVR GE9215 750 MHz / 12 nm?
System: Fire OS 7.2 (32bit) / Android 9
Memory: 2 GB RAM DDR4 / 8 eMMC
Network: Wifi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0 LE (MT7921LS)
Ports: HDMI 2.0 / microUSB OTG
Extras: HDMI Extender / Manual / DC Adapter 5.25V 1A / USB Cable / Alexa BT Remote / AAA Batteries.
Materials and dimensions: Plastic / 99 x 30 x 30 x 14 mm / 48,4 gr

Unboxing

The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max comes in a cardboard box with the product image and generic information about its main functions. Inside we find the TV-Stick, BT+IR remote control, HDMI cable, charger, micro SD cable, AAA batteries and a small manual of first steps.

Description

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max maintains the identical design to the 4K version, it has a really compact and simple size. On the side we only have the HDMI 2.0 male connector. On one of its sides the only micro USB 2.0 OTG port that allows us to connect some peripherals with a microUSB OTG cable.

This version of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max has a remote with buttons to control our TV thanks to an IR emitter that has on the front, we also have integrated microphone for Alexa and direct access buttons to different streaming services. When starting the device for the first time we have a configuration wizard that will simplify us to find our TV model or compatible soundbar.

  • Remote control: BT + IR Alexa remote control with TV controls / NO Flymouse / YES microphone.

As the only port we have a micro USB OTG connector that allows us to connect extra peripherals thanks to a special micro USB cable. On the motherboard we can see the Wifi 6 + BT 5.0 LE chip and an internal antenna to get coverage. If our TV has a USB with 5V 1A power we can try connecting the TV-Stick without the power adapter, but if the system reboots or shuts down in the middle of use we will have to use the official power supply.

  • Alternative control: We can connect a flymouse, mouse, gamepad or bluetooth or adapter keyboard using an OTG cable. The mouse pointer is not visible on the Fire OS desktop only when entering apps like Kodi or a browser.

SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE

Environment and Android system

We start the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, it starts automatically and the system tells us how to configure it. After configuring it we get to the FireOS launcher based on rectangles with very few customization options and in the top row is where we have our most used apps. We have few apps installed, basically a few streaming services. We found that the performance of Fire OS 7.2 is good if we do not demand speed in changing apps but for normal use we can say that it is sufficient.

  • Launcher: We can NOT change the launcher / Android UI rendering at 4K.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking NOT available / No Android navigation bars.
  • Languages and Google Play: All the international languajes / Amazon Appstore installed.

System

We check the system data and the options included in terms of root, we also observe that power systems allows us this device. If we find any firmware we will publish it on our website, usually only updated by OTA.

  • Power on/off: Only sleep mode / Off mode NOT configurable in settings.
  • Version and root: Fire OS 7 based on Android 9 (32 bit) / NO root / Model kara.
  • Support: Official Amazon support / Firmware upgradeable only by OTA.

Network, storage, RAM and ports

The small TV-Stick Fire TV Stick 4K Max has a RAM memory of 2 GB DDR4 RAM and for its internal storage we have 8 GB eMMC. It has a single micro USB 2.0 OTG port. In the network section it has a Wi-Fi 6 MiMo + BT 5.0 LE wireless adapter, we can connect an Ethernet adapter via USB up to Gigabit (max. 300Mbps). As we see in the test results give good figures, the wifi reaches good speed and has an acceptable range for using an internal antenna.

  • Network: Internal Wifi antenna / Range 42 dBm / Link 5G 1066 Mbps / Ethernet Gibait USB max. 300Mbps / Bluetooth OK.

We found that the performance of the internal storage is fast and moves the system without problems, on the other hand the RAM memory offers speeds in the line of these devices. The USB 2.0 OTG port behaves normally, we can expand the internal storage using a USB drive connected as FAT32 or exFAT.

  • Storage: Total 8GB  – Avaliable 4.2 of 53.4GB / NOT expandable with a USB or SD external memory.
  • RAM: Total 2GB – Free 1GB / DDR4.
  • Read/Write Ports: USB 2.0 OTG / On external USB drives it allows writing if supported by the app.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.

Power and performance

In terms of performance the mini TV-Stick Fire TV Stick 4K Max has the SoC Mediatek MT8696 Quad Core with ARM Cortex-A55 processors at 1.8 GHz and in the graphics section a PowerVR GE9215 GPU which is in the mid-range. This SoC is possibly manufactured in 12 nm, as we have checked the cooling system is adequate and temperatures are low, the chip correctly scales speeds and maintains performance correctly. In general we have enough power for usual streaming apps or KODI, to set a TV-Stick as we see surpasses the S905X4 box.

  • CPU performance: Min 500 MHz / Working  1.0 GHz / Max 1.8 GHz

We test the games running in medium/low quality. In the emulators section we can get at most run some Wii titles, but we will not have problems with 2D games from classic consoles with emulators like Retroarch or from KODI, the EmuELEC system can not be run, as it is not yet compatible.

  • Games and emulators:  IS possible to play titles such as PUBG / Emulators up to Wii / YES Vulkan support.
  • Controls: Compatible with Gamepads BT or cable.

The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is possibly manufactured on 12nm, has a very low power consumption, the cooling system works well and temperatures are low in basic use. The SoC manages speeds well so as not to overheat.

  • Thermals: Maintains performance up to 88% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db
  • Consumption: Off 0.5W / Min 5.5W / Working 8W / Max. 9.5W

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video playback test

Regarding video playback the Fire TV Stick 4K Max thanks to its VPU is compatible with modern video formats such as h.265 or VP9 up to a native resolution 4K@60fps HDR, if it is compatible with the recent AV1 codec that we can use directly on Youtube. We have few video quality settings and also with automatic refresh rate change. We have HDR and Dolby Vision support to get better image to some content.

We can use players like KODI or PLEX without the slightest problem installing the app or using the apk. As for audio we can play DD and DTS up to 7.1 through its HDMI port.

Video and audio results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bitOK
Max. Bitrate100 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.
SupportFormat
NativeDolby 5.1 – Plus – HD – Atmos / DTS 5.1 – Master Audio
CoreDTS HR – X
PCMAll
  • Native – Supports the format directly in our AV receiver or similar / More info.
  • Core – Only the 5.1 core of the format is played so we go to the Dolby or DTS base system / More info.
  • PCM – Only stereo downmixing from DD or DTS.

Streaming services

We ran several tests on streaming services to check how the most popular services work. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max offers us maximum compatibility with all current steaming services, supports 4K quality and Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos modes without problems.

Streaming serviceCalidad / Audio*
Youtube4K (2060p) / 5.1
Google Play Movies4K (2060p) / 5.1
Netflix4K (2060p) / 5.1 / Netflix Guide
HBOFullHD (1080p) / Stereo / HBO Guide
Disney+4K (2060p) / 5.1 / Disney+ Guide
Amazon Prime Video4K (2060p) / 7.1 / Prime Video Guide
Apple TV+4K (2060p) / 5.1 / Apple TV+ Guide
DAZNHD (720p) / Stereo
IPTVFullHD (1080i) / Stereo
  • Multichannel audio only available via HDMI connection in streaming services, via SPDIF stereo only.

CONCLUSIONS AND BUY LINKS

Score

Fire TV Stick 4K Max

0.00
7.3

Design

6.5/10

Hardware

9.0/10

Conectivity

7.0/10

Software

7.5/10

Price

6.5/10

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Compact
  • Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
  • Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
  • All streaming services

Cons

  • Little expensive
  • Fire OS limited vs Android TV

Opinion

After testing the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max we can say that we are facing a new Stick with a very high power. This small device has enough hardware to play 4K HDR multimedia, use players like KODI, PLEX or for IPTV streaming. The system is Fire OS moves properly and as we already know this system has many limitations compared to Android TV, a point that we will have to take into account if we want more or less freedom. This new Stick also now has Wifi 6 which offers a very good network performance.

In terms of raw power the Fire TV Stick 4K Max can run any apps or game on Fire OS without performance problems, certainly this SoC exceeds even the popular S905X4 or even Chromecast Google TV. The new Bluetooth remote with Alexa included is simple but functional, plus we can connect it with our TV or sound bar. This TV-Stick keeps temperatures very controlled, a positive point that gives security and reliability in the long term.

In short, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a powerful product and ideal for 4K HDR streaming. If we are looking for a device with long term support, fluid and video quality is an option, pity the limited Fire OS.

Where to buy

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max is available on Amazon from $54.99 (64.99€) with free shipping.

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Cazz

Thanks for the WIFI 5G link speed information!