Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max vs. Fire TV Stick 4K: Should you upgrade?
Is 4K enough, or you need to Max it even further?
Amazon's latest and greatest Fire TV Stick 4K Max has just about everything you could want from a streaming dongle, and then some.
- Live View picture-in-picture
- Faster processor
- Alexa Voice Remote included
- HDR10 and HDR10+ certified
- Wi-Fi 6 support
- More expensive
- Not too many extra features
Paved the way
Although it's not on top of the mountain anymore, Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K is a full-featured streaming dongle that's perfect for most users.
- 4K HDR and HDR10+ playback
- Alexa Voice Remote included
- Offers most of the same features at a lower price
- Same great design
- No Wi-Fi 6 support
- Unable to use Live View picture-in-picture
Many prospective buyers often get curious as to how Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K Max vs. Fire TV Stick 4K stack up against each other, and rightfully so. As the two highest-specced streaming media dongles in Amazon's line-up, they seem equally well-suited for the title of the best Fire TV Stick (opens in new tab) available out there. But is the Max variant really a worthy upgrade? Or you should stick (pun intended) with the tried-and-tested Fire TV Stick 4K? We are here to sort all the confusion.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max vs. Fire TV Stick 4K: Is the Max more than enough?
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On the surface, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max (opens in new tab) vs. Fire TV Stick 4K. Both dongles have the same convenient design that allows them to be plugged right into an HDMI port of your TV. But it's only when you start diving a little deeper, that the differences become more evident.
Amazon has built in a slightly more powerful 1.8GHz processor (along with a 750MHz GPU) in the 4K Max model, in comparison to the 1.7GHz processor (in addition to the 650MHz GPU) that the regular 4K model comes with. Not only that, but the Fire TV Stick 4K Max also comes with 2GB of RAM, which is 0.5GB more than the 1.5GB that you get with the Fire TV Stick 4K. Another key difference is that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, as opposed to the Fire TV Stick 4K, which only has Wi-Fi 5 support. This should give the Max model better wireless speeds and reliability.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max||Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K|
|Dimensions||99 x 30 x 14mm||99 x 30 x 14mm|
|Processor||MediaTek MT8696||MediaTek MT8695|
|Picture Quality||Up to 4K UHD (3840x2160)||Up to 4K UHD (3840x2160)|
|HDR||HDR10 / HDR10+ / HLG||HDR10 / HDR10+ / HLG|
|Remote||3rd-Gen Alexa Voice Remote||3rd-Gen Alexa Voice Remote|
|Live View Picture-in-Picture||Yes||No|
Going back to the remote for a moment, both streaming sticks come bundled with Amazon's excellent Alexa Voice Remote. It includes handy shortcut buttons for most popular streaming services like Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. You also get a blue-colored Alexa button at the top, along with a Live TV button.
As for that Live TV button, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max reaches its maximum potential when used with one of the best Alexa-compatible security cameras (opens in new tab). The 'Live View Picture-in-Picture' feature makes it possible to see who's at the door, that without interrupting your favorite movie or show. You also have the ability to wirelessly hook up some of the best Alexa speakers (opens in new tab) with the Fire TV 4K Max, thus making for a truly immersive Amazon Alexa experience.
We aren't sure what the potential limitations could be for Amazon not bringing some of these features to the Fire TV 4K. But as it currently stands, these features will not be arriving for the last-generation Fire TV Stick. It's a shame, too, because these are some pretty great additional features to have, provided you are using a smart home security camera.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max vs. Fire TV Stick 4K: Making a choice
The biggest advantage that the Fire TV Stick 4K has in its favor is its price. Outside of the holiday season, Amazon's the 4K streaming stick is much less expensive than its Max counterpart. But given how aggressive Amazon is with dropping the prices for its devices, it's a tough call. However, if you don't have any Alexa-compatible security cameras and don't plan to get any, the Fire TV Stick 4K can easily handle everything you need.
That said, if you want the best Fire TV Stick and one of the best streaming devices (opens in new tab) in the market, then the obvious choice is the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It offers a tad faster performance, more RAM, useful extra features, and some more. Not to mention the ability to wirelessly pair your Echo speakers to the streaming stick (opens in new tab) for a better audio experience.
The most powerful Fire TV Stick
Amazon's latest Fire TV Stick is also the company's most impressive offering to date. With 4K UHD streaming, Live View Picture-in-Picture, and the updated Alexa Voice Remote, this is the complete package.
Perfect if you don't have security cameras
If you haven't jumped into the world of smart home security cameras and don't have any plans to, the Fire TV Stick 4K is still a great choice. It offers many of the same features as the Max at a more palatable price.
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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.