Fire Powerhouse with HDR
Although it's a little more expensive, the Fire TV Stick 4K has great specs and brings with it the ability to stream in 4K with HDR. This revision includes TV controls on the Alexa remote so you can get everything done from a single remote.
- 4K video playback
- Slightly more RAM
- Comes with Alexa Voice Remote
- More expensive
1080p still looks great
Movies still look great in 1080p so unless you've got a high-end 4K HDR TV, the Fire TV Stick is an excellent choice. This cheaper Fire TV Stick is perfect for upgrading an older TV with a responsive and up-to-date streaming experience.
- Same storage and processor as 4K version
- Less expensive
- Comes with Alexa Voice Remote
- No 4K video playback
- No support for HDR
In the battle for claiming the role of the best streaming device for your home, the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K are pretty similar. Both devices can stream video from the same wide range of apps, but the Fire TV Stick 4K, unsurprisingly, can do so at 4K with HDR. If you've got a TV that supports it, 4K and HDR video on the Fire TV Stick 4K looks sharper with more vibrant colors. If you've got an older 1080p or 720p TV set, however, you can save some cash by going with the cheaper Fire TV Stick.
However, whether you want 4K playback or Dolby Vision support will sway you. Amazon also debuted the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max in 2021 with a faster processor and support for Wi-Fi 6.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs. 3rd Gen: What's similar?
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When looking at these two streaming sticks head-to-head, it can be extremely tough to tell them apart outside of the packaging. Dimensionally, the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) and Fire TV Stick 4K are similar, with the latter being just a bit longer. What you find in the box is the same, with the Micro-USB charging cable, Amazon wall wart, HDMI extender, and additional paperwork, along with the Stick itself.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K||Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen)|
|Dimensions||99 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm||86 x 30 x 13 mm|
|Processor||Quad Core 1.7GHz||Quad Core 1.7GHz|
|Picture Quality||Up to 4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision||Up to 1080p Full HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG|
|Remote||Alexa Voice Remote with TV controls||Alexa Voice Remote with TV controls|
Both of these include Amazon's updated Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen), which can be used to control your whole TV in addition to the Fire TV, as well as includes shortcuts to several of your favorite streaming apps. You'll also find 8GB of storage in both, which can't be expanded upon with microSD or USB storage.
With the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen), the processor has been updated from previous iterations, bringing along with it the same Quad-Core CPU clocked at 1.7Ghz. Now both have the same processor as well!
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs. 3rd Gen: It comes down to 4K
We've already highlighted the similarities between the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K. Sure, the 4K version is slightly larger and has just a little bit more RAM packed in, but that's really not much to write home about.
When trying to decide whether you should upgrade to one of the best streaming devices for your home, it's actually a few pretty simple questions. Do you need or want 4K video playback? Or are you okay with just having 1080p video? Is 4K worth an extra $10 or so?
Sales from retailers notwithstanding, there's typically a $5-$10 difference between the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) and Fire TV Stick 4K. That's really not a lot, especially considering that an extra few dollars unlock 4K playback, Dolby Vision support, and a bit more RAM. So we would say that the extra cost is worth it unless your existing television is just a spare or doesn't even have 4K playback available.
Those who just want to turn a dumb TV into a smart one will be better off keeping Amazon's third-generation Fire TV Stick. You still get an Alexa Voice Remote, which can double as your television's remote, along with access to all of the same applications and services when compared to the Fire TV Stick 4K. The latest version of the Alexa Voice Remote also includes shortcut buttons to your favorite streaming services.
Meanwhile, if you're somebody who wants to enjoy videos in the best quality possible, the Fire TV Stick 4K is the way to go. There is more RAM under the hood, which will provide slightly better speeds when trying to load apps and videos. Plus, there's also support for various HDR certifications to go along with Dolby Vision and Dolby Audio. Truth be told, both of these are great, but there's a reason why the Fire TV Stick 4K is the best Fire TV Stick on the market.
This is the one to get
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the way to go if you want the best that Amazon has to offer. You get 4K playback, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Audio, all without paying a lot extra out of your pocket.
Get this if you don't want 4K
The Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) is great for just about everyone, as it can act as an entryway for you to get into the world of Alexa. You get TV controls so you don't need to wrestle with multiple remotes to watch TV.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.