When it comes to 4K streaming devices, there are quite a few to choose from. You could go with a Roku Streaming Stick Plus or Google Chromecast Ultra. Then there’s another option, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.
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Design & Hardware
The Fire TV Stick has a basic rectangle design with the signature Amazon smile logo on it. The device uses a 1.7Ghz quad-core processor, and dual-band Wi-Fi (MIMO). With all that beefy processing power, it can easily handle video in the 4K resolution. Amazon also offers an Ethernet Adapter for their Fire TV devices, in case you don’t want to rely on Wi-Fi for your Fire TV Stick.
The Fire TV Stick is compatible with Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+ plus Dolby Atmos sound. The actual device is fairly long, so much so that you may not be able to plug it into the back of your TV. If your TV’s HDMI ports are facing to the sides like they are on the TCL 6-Series Roku TV, you may need to use an HDMI extender or an HDMI hub (capable of 4K video output). Thankfully, Amazon does include an HDMI extender included in the box to help circumvent issues with plugging it into your TV’s HDMI ports.
The Fire TV Stick also comes with the Alexa Voice Remote, which can control not only your Fire TV Stick but also your TV and soundbar by being able to use on/off, volume, and mute buttons. The remote, on the other hand, has a power button and a mic button to talk to Alexa. It is also equipped with a directional pad, home, back, menu, play/pause, fast-forward/rewind, volume up/down, and mute buttons.
The Fire TV Stick is available on Amazon.ca and BestBuy.ca for CAD$69.99. That puts it below other 4K streaming devices such as the Roku Ultra (CAD$129.99), Google Chromecast Ultra (CAD$93.60), Apple TV 4K (CAD$199), and Nvidia Shield (CAD$330).
As mentioned earlier, the Ethernet Adapter for the Fire TV Stick 4K costs $19.99 from Amazon.ca.
The Fire TV Stick is running Amazon’s Fire OS 6, which is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. Navigating through Fire OS is quick and straightforward, thanks to the device’s quad-core processor.
The interface is divided into a few sections, Home, your videos, movies, TV Shows, apps, and settings. Home is fairly straightforward, with it being the main home screen. Your videos show you all the videos on your Prime Video Watchlist and some of the Prime Original Series available in 4K UHD. This section will also show your recommended content from services like Netflix and Max. The movies and TV Shows sections will show you all the movies and TV series available to stream on Prime Video. The Apps section is the app store for the device, where you can download apps like MLB—TV, Plex, and also some games like Crossy Road. And finally, Settings is pretty self-explanatory, it’s where you can change settings for your Fire TV Stick 4K.
In terms of content, you have access to apps such as Prime Video, Netflix, Crave, and more. And you can watch 4K Ultra HD video from Netflix and Prime Video on the Fire TV Stick 4K. One thing to note is that because of ongoing tensions between Google and Amazon, there is no official YouTube app for the Fire TV Stick, there are third-party ones available for the device.
Since the Fire TV Stick has Alexa, you can control your smart home devices such as Philips Hue, Ring, SmartThings, and more. You can also ask Alexa questions and search for content to watch. Essentially, you can use the Fire TV Stick 4K as an Echo Show. The Alexa Voice Remote can also be used to control your TV, by asking things like switching to HDMI 1 or 2 and volume controls. In addition, you can control your Fire TV Stick using the Fire TV app. You quickly open apps on the Fire TV Stick 4K and also use the app for keyboard input and even talk to Alexa via the app.
Overall, the Fire TV Stick is a great device, especially if you’re already in the Amazon system with Amazon Echos in your home.
This review originally appeared on the Canadian Techie.