Amazon Fire TV 4K Max: Still offers more than Android TV streaming stick rivals

Across the board, the attraction remains the same. Simple plug and play - connect this with the HDMI port on your TV, and even if yours is a smart TV, it becomes smarter still
The Amazon Fire TV 4K Max gets Wi-Fi 6 standard support, more RAM and the new Live View Picture-in-Picture mode. (Amazon)
The Amazon Fire TV 4K Max gets Wi-Fi 6 standard support, more RAM and the new Live View Picture-in-Picture mode. (Amazon)
Published on Nov 12, 2021 04:40 PM IST
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This is now the widest Amazon Fire TV line-up that has ever been on sale in India. It’s great news for movie buffs, video streaming enthusiasts, and couch potatoes.

Across the board, the attraction remains the same. Simple plug and play - connect this with the HDMI port on your TV, and even if yours is a smart TV, it becomes smarter still.

The Fire TV Stick - priced at around 1,799 - is the entry point to the six-device-strong range. The Amazon Fire TV 4K Max is the newest addition. The price tag of 6,499 means it sits a notch lower than the versatile Fire TV Cube that costs around 8,999.

The Amazon Fire TV 4K Max gets Wi-Fi 6 standard support, more RAM and the new Live View Picture-in-Picture mode.

In many ways, the Amazon Fire TV 4K Max is the logical successor to the Amazon Fire TV 4K, though the latter is still very much on sale. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max gets a MediaTek MT8696 quad core processor clocking at 1.8GHz.

Also Read: Apple Watch Series 7: Incremental upgrades or much more than that?

There’s 2GB RAM as well. In comparison, the Fire TV Stick 4K is powered by a 1.7GHz processor and has 1.5GB RAM. What does not change is the form factor or the size, and it continues to plug in directly into your TV’s HDMI port and hides effortlessly behind the TV.

With the Amazon Fire TV 4K Max, expect snappier interface switches, faster streaming app load times and more resources as well as grunt to process 4K content, in particular fast-moving visuals.

The internal storage space, which is 8GB, remains the same as before. So is the support for HDR including Dolby Vision across OTT streaming apps including Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar as well as the ability to handle Dolby Atmos audio.

All the boxes were ticked off by the Amazon Fire TV 4K before, but the Amazon Fire TV 4K Max comes along and does everything with a bit more swagger.

The Fire OS, the software that the Fire TV streaming devices run, is visible taking full advantage of the slightly more RAM that’s available. The transitions are smoother, the streaming apps load just that much quicker and everything feels snappier when you press a button on the remote.

The Amazon Fire TV 4K was no slouch, the Amazon Fire TV 4K Max is faster still. The fact that you can now add on subscriptions for other streaming services within the Amazon bucket (Lionsgate Play, Discovery+ and DocuBay to name a few), adds a layer of convenience.

Our observations suggest that the quality of the Full HD and 4K content playback on the same TV is at par between the Amazon Fire TV 4K Max and the Amazon Fire TV 4K, but some Dolby Vision HDR content on Netflix most certainly envelops a richer take when the playback is with the newer Amazon Fire TV 4K Max.

In fact, it gets quite close to the larger Amazon Fire TV Cube in terms of colour and dynamic range, and that is indicative of the more power that’s available for the visuals processing. This is where the valiant fight put up by streaming sticks running Google’s Android TV or the newer Google TV platforms falls behind. They just don’t have this sort of under-the-hood grunt.

The other big addition for the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the support for Wi-Fi 6 networks. You probably better know this as Wi-Fi AX. The Wi-Fi 6 standard touches a theoretical network top speed of 9.6Gbps, up from the ceiling of 3.5Gbps on Wi-Fi 5, or Wi-Fi AC.

Yet, you’ll likely be limited by how fast your home broadband line is, for video streaming on apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. If you’ve purchased a high-end router sometime in the last six months, you may have picked one with Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi AX supported - but anything older, it’s likely your home is still not in the Wi-Fi 6 bracket.

The addition of the Live View Picture-in-Picture option is Amazon’s genuine attempt at widening the scope of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max as a smart home hub. Calling out to Alexa on the streaming device will still let you control lights, fans, smart plugs, air purifiers and other smart home devices. This new Live View option gets you access to a live feed from your smart security cameras on to your TV, as an overlay over whatever it is that you are already watching - great if the doorbell has just sounded and you want to see who is at the door, without having to pause the movie streaming.

There is little doubt that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max offers the most convenience and the very best platform to access video streaming apps. The Alexa Voice Remote includes controls for TV as well as shortcut keys for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which makes things more convenient.

There is definitely a premium attached to it, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another 4K streamer as capable as this one, in a stick form factor that plugs in directly to the TVs HDMI port.

The Android TV and Google TV options are getting better, particularly in the hands of Xiaomi and Realme, but still not close enough.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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