Amazon now has four HDMI streaming sticks and they all look similar.
Each stick plugs directly into your TV via HDMI and comes with a power adapter, HDMI extender (but not an HDMI cable), and AAA batteries for the remote.
So what’s the difference? That’s why you’re here and that’s what we’ll tell you.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Amazon’s latest TV stick is the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, taking the functions of the existing 4K model and boosting the power by 40 per cent, adding Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
That means it’s faster, while the new power also enables picture-in-picture video, so your Ring Video Doorbell can be shown while you’re watching TV.
You get the same 4K HDR support, with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio as the model a step down, but everything on the new model is faster.
Why buy? This is Amazon’s flagship Fire TV stick, offering the best experience with the most power. It’s the most expensive too and if you don’t have a Wi-Fi 6 router, you won’t benefit from those speed boosts – but the interface is still faster than other Fire TV devices.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon’s 4K streaming stick represents great value for money – especially when compared to devices like the Apple TV 4K. It can output video up to 4K Ultra HD resolution at 60 frames per second. It also has high dynamic range (HDR) support including Dolby Vision.
Dolby Atmos support is available, which goes alongside the general 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby surround audio output plus HDMI Audio pass-through. Basically, it will play the best format possible, depending on the AV receiver, home cinema system, soundbar or TV you plug it into.
An Alexa Voice Remote is included in the box. As with the main Fire TV Stick below, there are power and volume controls too, so you can control audio gear like a soundbar. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is more powerful, but for many, this 4K model will fit the bill.
Why buy? This is Amazon’s normal 4K device, while not as capable as the 4K Max, it offers plenty of 4K HDR content from Amazon and Netflix – also well represented here. If you have a compatible TV, this is the only option you should really consider, especially for the amazing price in comparison with similarly specified rivals.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
In the 2021 version of the Fire TV Stick, performance has been improved over the 2019 generation by as much as 50 per cent thanks to upgraded hardware including a quad-core processor, while it also includes support for Dolby Atmos audio like the 4K stick alongside 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby surround audio output and HDMI audio pass-through.
A full Alexa Voice Remote is included in the box and there are power and volume controls too, so you can control audio gear like a soundbar and your TV. The remote also has shortcut buttons for the main streaming services.
However, unlike the 4K Stick, it’ll still only support Full HD 1080p resolution rather than 4K. This stick is essenitally the same as the 2020 version, the only difference being the updated remote.
Why buy? For those without a 4K TV the standard Fire TV Stick is an inexpensive way to access a wide variety of content, perfect for second or bedroom TVs.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite
Amazon’s entry-level streaming stick was new in 2020 and sits below the main Fire TV Stick. Like the main Fire TV Stick, it supports Full HD, however, there is no Dolby Atmos support.
The key difference is the less powerful remote control – called Alexa Voice Remote Lite. There are no volume or mute buttons, so you can’t use it to control the sound of your TV and/or soundbar. There’s also no power button. It does, however, include Alexa voice control as you’d expect as well as a Guide button.
Why buy? The cheapest way to get Alexa working through a TV and if you don’t have 4K, there’s not much reason not to choose this over the standard Fire TV Stick provided you don’t mind using another remote for volume.