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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs. 3rd Gen

In the battle for claiming the role of best streaming device for your home, the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen 2021) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K (2021) are pretty similar. Both serve their roles, depending on what you are trying to achieve with your video playback and streaming needs. 

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 (3rd Gen 2021) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K (2021): What's similar?

Amazon Fire Tv Stick 2021

(Image credit: Source: Amazon)

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 (2021) 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.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2021)Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen 2021)
Dimensions99 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm86 x 30 x 13 mm
ProcessorQuad Core 1.7GHzQuad Core 1.7GHz
RAM1.5GB1GB
Picture QualityUp to 4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby VisionUp to 1080p Full HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG
Storage8GB8GB
RemoteAlexa Voice RemoteAlexa 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 2021), 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 (3rd Gen 2021) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K (2021): It comes down to 4K

Amazon Fire TV Stick sponsored content channels

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

We've already highlighted the similarities between the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen 2021) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K (2021). 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 2021) and Fire TV Stick 4K (2021). 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 their videos in the best quality possible, the Fire TV Stick 4K (2021) 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 (2021) is the best Fire TV Stick (opens in new tab) on the market.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

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.