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My Job Is Reviewing Tech, Here Is My Honest Opinion on the Fire TV Stick 4K

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My Job Is Reviewing Tech, Here Is My Honest Opinion on the Fire TV Stick 4K

Key Points

  • The Fire TV Stick 4K is priced at $49 retail, but frequently goes on sale for up to 50% off, making it an affordable option.
  • Amazon includes access to a wide range of streaming options, including popular services like Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu.
  • The compact design of the Fire TV Stick 4K allows it to easily plug into a free HDMI port and stay out of sight behind the television.
  • Compared to its competitors like Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers a great overall experience at an affordable price.

When it comes to smart operating systems, Amazon’s Fire OS is undoubtedly near the top of the pack. With a heavy emphasis on Prime Video, but also with millions of movies and TV episodes available, it’s a great option for many people. As someone who has long been a fan of both Roku and Apple TV, jumping into the Fire TV Stick world is a definite change of pace. 

With everything from the updated operating system to Alexa voice commands, there are plenty of niceties to talk about. Even though the Fire TV Stick 4K isn’t perfect, there is enough here to please just about any fan of smart TV operating systems. 

With all this in mind, let’s dive deeper into my thoughts on the Fire TV Stick 4K. I’ll do my best to try and answer the question of whether it’s really the best smart stick around.

Best for Streaming
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
$29.99
  • Supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and Wi-Fi 6
  • Compatible with Alexa and smart home devices
  • Stream your favorite apps and services from one device
  • 6-month MGM+ subscription included
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 08:54 pm GMT

What’s Special About the Fire TV Stick 4K?

Pricing

One of the things that immediately impressed me about the Fire TV Stick 4K is the price. Sure, Amazon sells it for $49 retail, but this is Amazon we’re talking about, so expect frequent discounts. There will be multiple times a year when you can pick the Fire TV Stick 4K up to 50% off. At this price, it’s an absolute steal and regularly one of the cheapest 4K streaming stick solutions. Amazon even offers a 10% discount with a trade-in of another Fire TV product, which further emphasizes its price advantage. 

Streaming Options

Something that I really love about the Fire TV Stick 4K is that even with Amazon unsurprisingly promoting its own services, every other streaming channel is available. You can quickly download Disney+, Netflix, MAX, Hulu, Paramount Plus, and thousands of other streaming options. All totaled, Amazon says you can get up to 1.5 million movies and TV episodes across the various streaming service apps you can download. 

This means I should never have an issue finding anything to watch. It also likely means that I’ll spend more time trying to find something to watch instead of actually watching something. Realistically, this is a problem I’m okay with having. The more options I have, the more likely I am to recommend this product to others. 

Design

As someone who loathes multiple cables around a television, the Fire TV Stick design is a big bonus in my eyes. Plugging directly into a free HDMI port, there is only one cable required. Used as a power supply, it’s the only cable you need for the Fire TV Stick 4K. While it’s still an additional cable, that it’s only one cable is okay with me. 

Cable aside, the compact size of the Fire TV Stick’s hardware is exceptional. It’s easily out of the way when plugged into an HDMI port and aside from the cable, you’d be hard-pressed to remember it’s there. I love that it disappears behind a television and nobody is the wiser that it’s plugged in all the time. Your family, neighbors, or friends will never stop to think about how you are running this interface. Out of sight is really out of mind here and I love that for this Amazon purchase. 

Amazon-Fire-TV-Stick-4K
With a great-looking interface, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is a great streaming stick choice.

Amazon Alexa

For far too long, I completely admit to shrugging my shoulders at the idea of voice commands with Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV products. At least until I tried a Fire TV Stick 4K and started to use Amazon Alexa for voice commands. Not only is it surprisingly responsive, but accurate as well. My biggest hesitation was that I would spend more time barking commands when I could just manually do them. The good news is this “nightmare” situation of mine never appeared. 

Does the Fire TV Stick 4K Actually Work? 

This was definitely one of the biggest questions I had before spending any time with the Fire TV Stick 4K. The short answer is: yes, it works great. Navigating the Fire interface is smooth and responsive and you never sit around waiting for any of your actions to catch up. There have been far too many instances of smart operating systems that need more power to keep up with you buzzing around a screen looking for something to watch. I’m really impressed by how well the Fire TV Stick 4K works in this regard. 

Everything from signing into your favorite streaming apps to logging into Amazon services is also really easy. Sure, Amazon services are front and center, but you can quickly move past its options and into the larger app world. 

One of the things I appreciate most about Fire TV OS is how well the menu is organized. The main menu is a large row of apps, which is a mix of apps you have put there and those suggested by Amazon. Unsurprisingly, many of these suggested apps are Amazon-owned, but that’s something I expect with an Amazon product. 

How the Fire TV Stick 4K Compares to Its Competitors 

Apple TV

Enjoy the Latest Shows in 4K
2021 Apple TV 4K with 64GB Storage (2nd Gen)
$199.95
  • Supports Dolby Atmos sound
  • A12 Bionic chip
  • 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision
  • Siri remote
  • Watch Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more
  • Compatible with AirPlay
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 04:59 pm GMT

Streaming stick options are undoubtedly a competitive field. Between Amazon, Roku, Google, and a variety of other competitors, there is no shortage of options. This is an interesting conversation as every option here is good. Personally, I think Apple TV’s interface is the best among all streaming options. You definitely pay a premium to get into the Apple ecosystem, but it’s the best-looking and most responsive streaming option to date. 

The good news is that with the Fire TV Stick 4K, you still get a lot of the same options, without a hefty price tag. What the Amazon product lacks is Apple’s huge library of games that are compatible with the Apple TV. As someone who does use his Apple TV for gaming infrequently, it’s very much a nice-to-have feature. However, if you can move past the Apple TV’s interface, you’re not going to be upset with a different product. 

Google Chromecast

Best for Google TV
Google Chromecast with Google TV 4K
$49.98
  • Streaming in up to 4K HDR quality
  • Dedicated Google Assistant button on the included remote
  • Stream over 700,000 TV shows and films
  • Supports Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Google TV, and YouTube
  • Compatible with most TVs with an HDMI port
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 09:54 pm GMT

If Apple has the best overall interface as far as speed, it’s Google TV with the Google Chromecast that has the best layout. In fact, it’s actually not at all that different from the Fire TV Stick 4K with a primary row of apps that are Google’s “top picks” for you. There is just something about the Google TV interface that feels cleaner overall. Perhaps it’s the lack of in-your-face Amazon options, but I find the Google interface to be just a tad bit better. 

However, I do have a concern when comparing these two products and that is price. These two products just so happen to be really close in price. While Amazon often gives its products a bigger discount when on sale, they are still really close when they are not discounted. Both products retail for $49.99, which brings that level of parity. If I had to choose between the two, I’d go with Google Chromecast first, but only because I consider the interface slightly better looking. 

Roku

Excellent Value
Roku Express 4K+
$29.00
  • Stream content in 4K with HDR to any TV in your home
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures a steady connection
  • Access to more than 20,000 downloadable apps
  • Voice remote control
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 02:24 am GMT

There is no way around saying so I’ll come right out and say it, the Roku interface is boring. There is nothing wrong with being boring, but when compared to the Fire TV Stick 4K, it’s just boring. Everything about the Amazon interface feels bright and you often see pictures of shows in the background. The Roku interface is just app icons. There really isn’t anything exciting about it. 

Here’s my challenge for streaming operating system fans out there. If you don’t buy a TV with a Roku interface already enabled, it’s hard to recommend over the Fire TV Stick 4K. Should you buy a TV that is Roku-ready, it’s absolutely fine and does the job well. If you have the option to pick your own OS, I would go with the Fire TV Stick 4K every day of the week. 

Streaming Store page on Roku interface.
The Roku interface is heavily focused on apps and not on suggested shows or services.

Is the Fire TV Stick 4K Worth It? 

In my humble tech reviewer opinion, the Fire TV Stick 4K is absolutely worth picking up. Aside from its impulse purchase price tag, everything about the stick is great. The only real downside I can think of is that you just don’t want to be entrenched in Amazon’s ecosystem. This is pretty much the only reason I can think of for most people that would have them looking elsewhere. With the Fire TV Stick 4K, my take here is that you get the most value for your money. 

You get access to thousands of apps and over a million shows and movies. As a bonus, you also get over 300,000 free programs from the likes of Amazon Freevee, Tubi, and Pluto TV. Better yet, the Fire TV Stick 4K comes equipped with Wi-Fi 6, which tells me buffering should be a thing of the past. Add in the Alexa voice remote and I’m hard-pressed to tell you not to buy the Fire TV Stick 4K. Oh yeah, you also get Dolby Atmos audio included when available on select streaming services. Almost forgot to mention this big inclusion! 

There is no such thing as a perfect device, at any price point. However, there are products that are difficult not to recommend because their faults are so minimal. My take on the Fire TV Stick 4K is that this is one such product. Each time I have the opportunity to use one, I’m pleasantly surprised by how good it is overall.

  1. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
    $29.99
    • Supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and Wi-Fi 6
    • Compatible with Alexa and smart home devices
    • Stream your favorite apps and services from one device
    • 6-month MGM+ subscription included
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/02/2024 08:54 pm GMT
  2. 2021 Apple TV 4K with 64GB Storage (2nd Gen)
    $199.95
    • Supports Dolby Atmos sound
    • A12 Bionic chip
    • 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision
    • Siri remote
    • Watch Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more
    • Compatible with AirPlay
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/02/2024 04:59 pm GMT
  3. Google Chromecast with Google TV 4K
    $49.98
    • Streaming in up to 4K HDR quality
    • Dedicated Google Assistant button on the included remote
    • Stream over 700,000 TV shows and films
    • Supports Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Google TV, and YouTube
    • Compatible with most TVs with an HDMI port
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/02/2024 09:54 pm GMT
  4. Roku Express 4K+
    $29.00
    • Stream content in 4K with HDR to any TV in your home
    • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures a steady connection
    • Access to more than 20,000 downloadable apps
    • Voice remote control
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/02/2024 02:24 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one reason to pick up the Fire TV Stick 4K?

Between the frequently discounted price and a huge number of apps, you have two big reasons to pick one up. 

How often does the Fire TV Stick 4K go on sale?

As an Amazon product, you can expect discounts on the Fire TV Stick 4K regularly. 

Does the Fire TV Stick 4K come with Dolby Atmos?

Yes, Dolby Atmos is included and supported across any streaming service that offers Dolby Atmos programming. 

How many apps are available with the Fire TV Stick 4K?

Amazon doesn’t provide specific numbers, but the belief is around 20,000 available apps. 

Can you add the Fire TV Stick 4K to any television?

As long as there is a free HDMI port, the Fire TV Stick 4K can be added to any television. 

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