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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max review: Adding some zing to mediocre screens

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max's top-notch performance, rich app library, excellent connectivity, and easy-to-use remote control breathe life in screens that otherwise disappoint due to modest hardware

Topics
Amazon India | streaming services | Amazon Fire TV Stick

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

I own a smart TV which I bought in 2019. It was rich in specifications and features back then, but it now seems to have aged prematurely. Not that it has bad picture or audio quality, but it lags behind newer smart televisions in performance, connectivity, and user experience. Thankfully, there are streaming devices like the 4K Max which bring to speed these otherwise mediocre televisions with their faster internet connectivity, sleek performance, and support for tons of new and updated apps. How? Let’s find out:

What is 4K Max?

The 4K Max is a streaming device with HDMI interface that turns any screen with HDMI input into a smart screen connected to the internet for online streaming of content available on supported apps like YouTube, Prime Video, Apple TV, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, etc. It boots Android operating system-based Amazon’s Fire OS with Amazon services like Prime Video and Amazon Music built-in, and an app store for users to download and install other supported apps, including games.

The flagship model in Amazon’s streaming devices portfolio, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max boasts sleek performance, top-notch connectivity, support for most high dynamic range (HDR) formats, Dolby Atmos audio, and Alexa voice assistant for hands-free operations and smart home set-up.

What’s inside the box?

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
  • Remote control with dedicated Alexa button, and hotkeys for Prime Video, Netflix, and Amazon Music
  • HDMI Extender cable
  • USB-A to microUSB cable
  • Power adaptor
  • 2 x AAA batteries

How to set up the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

You need Wi-Fi and an Amazon account to set up the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Plug in the stick into the HDMI port (ARC, if available) of the compatible screen – TV, monitor, projector, etc; power it up using the supplied adaptor and cable; change the screen input to HDMI; and follow the on-screen instructions – connect the stick with the wireless internet network and input your Amazon account details. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max supports HDMI CEC. Therefore, you can use the Fire TV remote to control the TV and other supported peripherals without needing separate remote for each connected device. However, the controls are limited to basic functions, and you may still need the remote for screen and other peripherals to manage and control things like screen native display and audio settings.

How does Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max add zing to mediocre screens?

Performance, apps ecosystem, and connectivity are the three things about the Fire TV 4K Max that elevate the user experience, even if you use it with mediocre screens. According to Amazon, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is about 40 per cent more powerful than the standard version. The company’s claims are on point; the performance is top-notch, with sleek user interface navigation and quick app launch. There is no visible lag in the user interface and the apps load quickly, even when launched for the first time.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max supports an output of up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. It is, however, the wide HDR format support – Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG – that makes it one of the best buys. As for the audio, there is support for AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, and Dolby Atmos. Unfortunately, the stick supports ARC and not eARC. Therefore, the Dolby Atmos experience is limited to compressed and not lossless format.

Important to note that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max’s UHD resolution and HDR capabilities are screen-dependent. Therefore, the stick automatically adjusts the resolution and HDR based on the connected screen capability.

Coming on to the apps, there is a whole suite available through the built-in Amazon app store. Moreover, some of the most used apps like Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube come pre-installed. Rounding up the package is the top-notch connectivity – Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is best experienced when connected with Wi-Fi 6 network, but it is also backward compatible and supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless networks. As for Bluetooth, the signal strength is strong, and the connection does not face interference from electric equipment. However, it is strongly advised not to place any electric equipment in close proximity to the streaming device.

Verdict

Priced at Rs 6,499, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is one of the best streaming devices available. Its top-notch performance, rich app library, excellent connectivity, and easy-to-use remote control add zing to mediocre screens which otherwise disappoint due to their modest hardware. That said, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is an inexpensive streaming device that helps you save on the cost of upgrading to a newer television model.

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First Published: Wed, November 24 2021. 09:58 IST
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