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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review: Quick setup & reliable streaming make it a good purchase

The new 4K Stick is larger than before due to the increased hardware requirements.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 29, 2018, 01.28 PM IST
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Price: Rs 5,999
Rating: ****

Specifications: 1.7Ghz quad core processor, 8GB storage, dual band WiFi antenna, Bluetooth 5.0 + LE, Alexa Voice remote, 1 year warranty, supports 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR, HDR-10, HLG, and HDR-10+.

Pros: Reliable 4K streaming, works across providers, excellent new IR + Bluetooth voice remote.

Cons: Drops the screen mirroring, can’t be powered from TV’s built in USB port.

You may have noticed that 4K TV prices have crashed in the past year, mostly thanks to a handful of TV brands that have stolen the thunder from the far big names. We have 4K content too, from providers like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and YouTube. Plus, DTH 4K boxes will be common in 2019, so it’s only natural that Amazon stepped up their streaming game — enter the Fire TV Stick 4K.

The new 4K Stick is larger than before — no doubt due to the increased hardware requirements of 4K. That being said, it is still one of the smallest 4K streaming dongles around. The box includes the Stick itself, an HDMI extension (which most people have to use), power adapter, USB cable, new voice remote and AAA batteries. Setup is super simple: it just takes a few minutes for the entire process, including entering your WiFi password and Amazon account details.

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The new remote is interesting too because it automatically identifies and starts controlling the volume and power of your TV (this part of the remote is infrared). In our case, the sound is from a Denon AV Receiver so the new Fire Stick remote controls the power on/off + volume of the AV receiver and power on/off of the TV. If you’re interested, this new remote can be purchased separately for Rs 1,999 and paired with a standard Fire TV Stick too.

The interface is very familiar, as intuitive as ever and a tad bit smoother than before (the standard HD Fire Stick was so smooth anyway). You can use your voice to search for content, start playback and control the TV. If you have an Echo smart speaker, you can also pair it with the Fire Stick for hands-free control. In terms of content, you’ll find some 4K and HDR content on Prime Video and Netflix.

For Netflix, you need the Rs 800/month plan to access 4K content. But with the right conditions (4K HDR TV, fast internet, correct plan), the 4K experience is sublime. It also supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and Dolby Atmos. For all other apps, the Stick functions in 1080p mode. In terms of downsides, this 4K Fire TV Stick drops the Android screen mirroring function from the previous version. We’re not sure at this point if it will be enabled with a software update.

Voice control on third party apps is iffy and there’s no native YouTube app (but you can access YouTube using a web browser, sans 4K content). We’ve always maintained that the Fire TV Stick is one of the best ways to make any TV smarter — and this 4K version just raises the bar. If you have a 4K TV, you’ll be doing it a disservice by not giving it 4K content.
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