The Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd Gen) is the latest streaming player to be released by Amazon. While it isn’t designed to be Amazon’s best streaming player to date, it is designed to offer a good balance of performance and price.
Amazon’s new Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd Gen) costs $49.99 a month. At the same time as announcing the new Fire TV Stick 4K, Amazon also announced a new Max model for 2023. The main differences with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the additional storage space and the inclusion of an Alexa Voice Remote Enhanced.
Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) $49.99
Streaming Better's verdict
The Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) is best for those heavily invested in Amazon’s ecosystem and especially those routinely using Prime Video. If this isn’t you, there are better options available for the same price, including the Chromecast with Google TV 4K.
Good for Prime Video
Better options available
Overall, the Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd Gen) is worth buying, and especially for those already invested in Amazon’s ecosystem. However, if you already have a Fire TV Stick 4K, we’re not sure there are enough improvements to warrant an upgrade. Most of the improvements are on the inside, and aren’t immediately noticeable.
Fire TV Stick 4K – 2nd Gen (2023) full review
If you’re still undecided on whether the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) is the right streaming player for you, here is our full review.
- Fire TV Stick 4K Specs
- Fire TV Stick 4K Design
- Fire TV Stick 4K Remote
- Fire TV Stick 4K Software
- Fire TV Stick 4K Performance
- Is Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) worth buying?
How we reviewed this device: We purchased the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) from Amazon for $49.99 and solely for the purpose of this review. The player was tested over a period of roughly two weeks prior to publication.
Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) specs
Below is an overview of the main specifications for the 2023 Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd Gen).
|OS||Fire OS 8|
|Size||99 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm|
|Processor||MediaTek MT8696D Quad-core 1.7GHz|
|WiFi||Wi-Fi 6 dual-band: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz and 5GHz)|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.2 + BLE|
|Ports||HDMI 2.1 output with ARC input support, micro USB|
|Video||Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, H.265, H.264, VP9, AV1|
|Audio||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, Dolby AC4, Dolby MAT, Dolby TrueHD pass-through, MPEG-H pass-through, DTS passthrough, DTS-HD passthrough.|
|In the box||Fire TV Stick 4K, Alexa Voice Remote, power cable, power adapter, HDMI extender cable, 2 AAA batteries, Quick Start Guide|
Fire TV Stick 4K Design — a curvier stick
One of the immediately noticeable difference with the newer Fire TV Stick 4K is the more rounded design. While the first generation model features the same box design that’s been in effect for year’s now. The newer model is curvier, resulting in more of a modern design and look.
Other than the greater curves, there isn’t a whole lot that’s different in terms of the design. For those used to the original Fire TV Stick, or just stick-based streaming players in general, the new model is very much in keeping with those devices.
On one side there’s a HDMI plug which connects directly to the TV. The other side houses a USB port. A USB cable is included in the package and is used to connect the stick to the wall plug.
One of the disappointing aspects of the design is the use of a micro-USB port. Considering much of the industry now uses USB-C, it is a shame that Amazon’s 2023 dongle still uses the older and more unpopular port.
Fire TV Stick 4K remote — improved but not enhanced
Similar to the design in general, there also isn’t too much to note about the included remote. Amazon has bundled the Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen) in with the 2023 model, and this is the same remote that’s been sold with the first generation version for some time now. It is also the same remote that comes bundled with the Fire TV Cube.
In fact, the remote is one of the main differences between the 2nd Gen Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) and the 2nd Gen Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023), as the Max model comes equipped with Amazon’s upgraded Alexa Voice Remote Enhanced.
While the remote itself is the same as the one recently sold with the first-generation model, the shortcut buttons have changed. These days, Disney Plus and Hulu are out, while DirecTV and Peacock are in.
Whether this change is of benefit will depend on which of these streaming services you are subscribed to, if any. Amazon does also note that these shortcuts can vary, so you may end up with different ones.
Fire TV Stick 4K Software – busy, busy, busy
The Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) comes running on Fire OS 8. This is the latest version of the software and based on Android 10 and Android 11. Along with the equally-new Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023), the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) is one of the first devices to come running on Fire OS 8.
From the user perspective, the experience is similar to what Fire TV users are already used to. The device launches into a Home screen where users can browse Amazon’s recommendations, continue watching a show or movie, and access their most frequently used apps.
In addition to Home, the other top-level tabs include Find (search), Free, Live, and My Stuff.
My Stuff is where users will find the content that’s most relevant to them, including anything they’ve added to their Watchlist, along with any purchases or rentals they’ve made through Amazon (or supported Movies Anywhere purchases made through other digital stores).
One of the recent additions to Fire TV is the availability of Fire TV Channels. Similar to free streaming services like Pluto TV and Tubi, Fire TV Channels provides access to a selection of free live channels that can be accessed through the Live section.
Amazon also offers the option to add additional subscriptions through its Prime Video Channels service, and any channels with a linear feed that are added through Amazon will also show up in this section under Prime Video Channels.
For those with an existing DirecTV, Philo, Sling TV or YouTube live TV subscription, it is also possible to connect the TV account as a Live TV Source. Doing this ensures channels from the paid live TV plan also show up in the Guide, along with all of the free and premium channels.
Personally, I’ve always found the Fire TV user interface to be a little too busy. Amazon tries to cram a lot of content and recommendations, including sponsored ads, into the design and this can often result in an unnecessarily confusing interface.
For example, while Amazon pads the Home section with a ton of free content from its Freevee service, Fire TV also has a separate Free section filled with the same content.
While the Free section is definitely useful when wanting to narrow the results to just free content, there’s no need for so much similar content to be shown in the Home section as well.
Due to Amazon’s cramming approach, I tend to avoid using the Home section in favor of using the Free, Live, Apps, and My Stuff sections instead.
For those that opt to go with the new Max model, they can also expect access to Amazon’s Ambient Experience, making it possible to get additional information on the screen when not streaming. This additional information includes time and weather, calendar entries, reminders, and smart home controls.
As this is something that’s not currently available on the non-Max model, the Ambient Experience wasn’t something we were able to test.
Fire TV Stick 4K Performance — fractionally faster
While the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) doesn’t perform to the level of Amazon’s Fire TV Cube, there were no major issues with the performance in general. Fire TV is a reliable operating system and is designed to work as well as possible on Amazon’s hardware products, including the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023).
On a technical level, many of the main differences with the 2nd Gen Fire TV Stick 4K relate to performance. According to Amazon, the included 1.7 GHz processor results in a device that’s 25% more powerful than the first generation model.
The newer version also comes loaded with 2GB memory (RAM). Again, this is an upgrade compared to the 1.5GB memory included with the first generation model, and helps to provide a more reliable app experience.
Wi-Fi 6 support is also included and should prove useful in terms of improved connectivity and a smoother streaming experience in general. That said, the Wi-Fi benefits are only beneficial if you also happen to be using a Wi-Fi 6 router. As I’m not using a Wi-Fi 6 router, this wasn’t a massive selling point for me.
In reality, these are all somewhat minor upgrades and weren’t necessarily something we noticed during testing. In addition, and even though we didn’t notice any major issues with the performance, it is worth keeping in mind that the new Fire TV Stick is designed to be a compact device, and that decision impacts on areas like performance.
If you want the very best Fire TV performance possible, you might be better off opting for the more powerful Fire TV Cube. If you want the best Fire TV Stick performance possible, then you might want to consider the 4K Max model.
Basically, while this model does offer improvements in performance, we don’t think those improvements are reasons alone to purchase the Fire TV Stick 4K (2nd Gen).
Price — is the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) worth buying?
At $49.99, the new Fire TV Stick 4K is not the cheapest device around. However, it is priced exactly where we would expect, and exactly the same as the original Fire TV Stick 4K was at launch – back in 2018.
In this sense, buyers are getting a pretty good deal. In spite of the price not increasing in five years, buyers still benefit from the various under-the-hood improvements.
Amazon’s own devices aside, the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) is competitively priced when compared to similar products. For example, the new Fire TV Stick 4K competes with the likes of the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and the Chromecast with Google TV 4K, both of which are also priced at $49.99.
|Fire TV Stick 4K (2023)||$49.99||Amazon|
|Roku Streaming Stick 4K||$49.99||Roku|
|Chromecast with Google TV 4K||$49.99||Google Store|
Overall, the Fire TV Stick 4K is worth buying, and especially if you are already familiar with Fire TV. Likewise, if you are a heavy Prime Video user and/or already invested in Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem, then the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) is going to a good option for you.
Personally, I prefer the style and design of Google TV and consider the Chromecast with Google TV to be a better option for the same price.