Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Fire TV Stick 4K review: A clear upgrade

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After I bought a OnePlus TV over a year ago, my dependence on devices like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick to power the television has come down. However, the fact remains that not all apps perform well on all smart TVs — for instance, Amazon Prime which has a tendency to get stuck on Android TVs. Also, if you are not on an Android TV you might not have access to all the apps you need. This is why a product like the Amazon Fire TV Stick is still relevant for some users, especially with the new 4K version.

The new Fire TV Stick 4K looks exactly like the older versions and can be plugged into the HDMI of your TV directly, though it will need a power source to work. I tried powering it from the USB port of the TV and got the alert that the source did not have enough power. This is when I used the wall charger in the box.

Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick The new Fire TV Stick supports Dolby Vision playback (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The moment the screen powers up after you have set up your account — now a much easier process thanks to the Fire TV app — you see the difference in the picture. The new Fire TV Stick 4K is powered by Dolby Vision Atmos and has an HDR quality that makes even the simple listing pages of the OTT apps look more inviting. The colours are crisp and have a cinema-like effect, which you experience even while watching regular YouTube videos.

Watching Godzilla X Kong, I noticed two improvements compared to watching Amazon Prime on my OnePlus TV. Yes, the colours and contrast were much better, even without me making any adjustments. Also, the audio, which is usually a problem with the Prime app was clear and did not have to be turned up all the way to make the dialogues. The audio is as good as the visuals and you can listen to songs streamed from Amazon Music or Spotify with the TV as your primary speaker.

Godzilla X Kong playing on Fire TV 4K Godzilla X Kong playing on Fire TV 4K (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

The Fire TV Stick 4K comes preloaded with all top OTT apps as well as access to live TV via some of these apps. Since this is not an Android TV set-up, you have access to a limited number of apps via the Amazon store, but you will not miss much as all top apps have been covered over the years.

Festive offer

The Fire TV Stick is also compatible with gaming and you can connect controllers too. In fact, a lot of the games can be played using the remote, while for more sophisticated games you will need a controller. The good thing is that the Quad-core 1.7 GHz processor is capable of handling the heavy graphics of most games and does not stutter or stall. However, there were some top-end games that could not load even though they showed as compatible while downloading.

Then there is Alexa at your beck and call for everything from searching an old classic to downloading a new app or getting an update on the weather. Another upgrade is Wi-Fi 6 which offers a better connection for those who have upgraded to this new standard in their homes.

Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K now supports Wi-Fi 6 network (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/The Indian Express)

On the flip side, you have to live with the ads that stream on the Home Screen as soon as you switch on. Thankfully, these are only trailers at the moment and hopefully, Amazon won’t think of monetising this space more.

At Rs 5,999, the new Fire TV Stick 4K is a good option for those stuck with older 4K screens that are not really that smart. I find this a viable option also for those who have invested in a projector for the home or office and need a stable streaming agent.


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