Fire TV Stick 4K Max vs 4K vs Fire TV Stick vs Fire TV Stick Lite

The Amazon Fire TV Stick range enables you to access and stream a variety of content, including Amazon’s own, but also through apps such as Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and Now. Amazon now has four HDMI streaming sticks and they all look similar.


Each stick plugs directly into your TV via HDMI and comes with a power adapter, HDMI extender (but not an HDMI cable), and AAA batteries for the remote.

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So what’s the difference? That’s why you’re here and that’s what we’ll tell you.

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    Amazon

    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

    Best overall

    The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the most powerful of the Amazon models, so is faster and the most satisfying to use. It offers Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and 4K streaming.

    Pros

    • The slickest experience
    • Wide streaming service support
    • 4K, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos

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    Amazon 

    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

    4K HDR for less

    Offering 4K movies, with HDR and supporting the latest standards, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers a great experience, but it’s not the fastest.

    Pros

    • Good value for money
    • Loads of streaming services
    • Supports the latest standards
    Cons

    • Not as fast as the 4K Max

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    Amazon

    Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

    Best on a budget

    The entry-point for the Fire TV Stick family offers great value for money and gives you the bare essentials – including the Alexa remote. But you do miss out on TV controls and it’s only 1080p streaming.

    Pros

    • Alexa remote
    • Plenty of streaming services
    • Great value for money

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is our top streaming stick from Amazon, offering the best experience from the whole collection. It’s also the most expensive of the collection. Here’s how all the different models compare in more detail, so you can check which is the right option for you.


Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Fire TV Stick 4K vs Fire TV Stick (2020) vs Fire TV Stick Lite: Which Amazon streaming stick is best for you? photo 9
Amazon

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Best overall

With excellent picture quality and an intuitive interface, this is an excellent streaming device to consider.

Amazon’s top TV stick is the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, taking the functions of the existing 4K model and boosting the power by 40 per cent, adding Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. That means it’s faster, while the new also enables picture-in-picture video, so your Ring Video Doorbell can be shown while you’re watching TV.

You get the same 4K HDR support, with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio as the Fire TV Stick 4K model that’s a step down, but everything on this model is faster.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

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Amazon

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

A cheaper route to 4K

It offers top quality streaming, but it’s not a fast as the 4K Max – better on a budget, but not the best experience.

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K represents great value for money – especially when compared to devices like the Apple TV 4K. It can output video up to 4K Exaltado HD resolution at 60 frames per second. It also has high dynamic range (HDR) support including Dolby Vision. Dolby Atmos support is available, which goes alongside the común 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby surround audio output plus HDMI Audio pass-through. Basically, it will play the best format possible, depending on the AV receiver, home cinema system, soundbar or TV you plug it into.

An Alexa Voice Remote is included in the box. As with the main Fire TV Stick below, there are power and volume controls too, so you can control audio gear like a soundbar. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is more powerful, but for many, this 4K model will fit the bill.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Fire TV Stick 4K vs Fire TV Stick (2020) vs Fire TV Stick Lite: Which Amazon streaming stick is best for you? photo 9
Amazon

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Best for Full HD

If you don’t need 4K, look no further than Amazon’s standard stick.

An updated quad-core processor in the 2021 version of the Fire TV Stick offers a smooth experience on this streamer that supports 1080p quality – while it also includes support for Dolby Atmos audio alongside 5.1 and 7.1 surround audio output and HDMI audio pass-through. A full Alexa Voice Remote is included in the box and there are power and volume controls too, so you can control audio gear like a soundbar and your TV. The remote also has shortcut buttons for the main streaming services.

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

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Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

Best on a budget

It’s the cheapest of the lot and sacrifices some features, but for a smaller or second TV, it will get you connected.

Amazon’s entry-level streaming stick, the Fire TV Stick Lite, sits below the main Fire TV Stick and supports Full HD, however, there is no onboard Dolby Atmos decoding. But the key difference is the less powerful remote control – called the Alexa Voice Remote Lite. There are no volume or mute buttons, so you can’t use it to control the sound of your TV and/or soundbar. There’s also no power button. It does, however, include Alexa voice control to help you find content.

How to choose a Fire TV Stick

All of Amazon’s Fire TV work in the same way, connecting to your TV via HDMI, so it’s simply a case of plugging the stick in and then connecting to the power. Thanks to the Alexa Remote that comes with all the models above, you can easily find content by searching with your voice – or you can control your Fire TV Stick with an Echo device in the same room.

So the experience is very much the same – the UI is the same and the services supported are the same, so the question really comes down to what you’re connecting it to. If you have a 4K HDR TV then you’ll want that functionality from your Fire TV Stick, otherwise it’s not going to look its best – which is really important if your TV is 50-inches or larger, where you can really see the difference between 1080p and 4K. If you have a smaller TV, of course, saving money on one of the lower-positioned devices makes perfect sense – the 4K Max on a 1080p TV is just a waste.

The argument for the 4K Max model is just that it’s faster in all areas, making for a slicker experience, with less time spent navigating the UI and with faster connections.

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