I’ve been a pretty big advocate for the devices that put the smart in smart TVs for a while now. The OS’s in TV’s go out of support pretty quickly, whereas a separate device is likely to provide you many more years of usefulness. Having used a Chromecast for a few years now, I wanted to see what else was available on the market. Bring on the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
So what does the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max offer?
Plug this bad boy into your HDMI port, set it up super easily, and you have access to all the apps you could ask for. Get your TVNZ On Demand on or check out the latest Marvel shows on Disney+. I mean, there is also Amazon Prime, so you can check out the Lord of the Rings show, of course.
Once it is plugged in and turned on, for the most part, most of these devices are much the same. I will say, though,that this is a good thing. If you have been using a Chromecast or anything like that, then the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max will be familiar and easy to use.
One thing it puts front and center is Freevee, which is a free-to-watch streaming service owned by Amazon. You can get this on other devices, but it’s front and center on this device. With some ads, you can enjoy plenty of movies and TV shows. It’s pretty sweet.
For the first time it has an ambient mode as well. It flicks through images with info like the date and time, and local weather on it. I’m not sure what’s more surprising, the fact that it’s really good, or that it’s a new feature. Either way, it’s here, and it’s cool.
But how do you control it?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max comes out of the box with a remote, so there is that. Within a couple of minutes of setup, my TV remote was controlling it as well. Then there is the remote app you can install on your phone. This doesn’t just provide a virtual remote, but you can also select the apps you want to launch directly from the Fire TV app.
And of course, you can always just cast straight from an app like YouTube so your kids don’t see Blippi as you scroll through videos and have to watch him standing on an ice cream truck for the 400th time.
So why upgrade?
Having used a Chromecast with Google TV for a while, the first thing I noticed was the speed. There is a little bit of power under the hood here, and it’s more than enough to get the apps loading faster than I have been used to.
With 16GB of storage, there is more than enough space for all the streaming apps. Partnered with Wi-Fi 6E,the stick was blasting TV faster than I was expecting. Seriously, this little beasty absolutely flies.
I mean, there has to be something, right? Well, since I am damn happy with it I need to nitpick a bit. The first is that it uses Micro USB, which in 2024 is pretty odd. It’s not exactly a major problem because it has a long enough cable, but most of us will have so many USB-C cables in our house that it would be handy to stick to the current standard.
The only other thing is it doesn’t support Sky Go. Or more specifically, Sky Go doesn’t support it. This is an incredibly tiny edge case, but I for instance take my Chromecast with me when I travel so I can watch the Phoenix or the Warriors no matter where I go. At this stage they only support Chromecast which is mildly annoying. This isn’t a deal breaker, as the bulk of the time it is plugged into the back of my TV at home.
Should you get one?
If you are looking to upgrade, then you can’t go wrong with an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It’s fast and easy with heaps of support including Dolby Vision to use making it a perfect addition to your home setup. If you’re an Alexa user then it’s a no brainer. If you’re not then it’s still a damn fine choice.