Amazon’s favourite streaming stick just got a 4K HDR boost.
Cramming its mini streaming box skills and then some into a stick, Amazon’s latest Fire TV Stick is a whole different animal. This time around, it’s got 4K, Dolby Vision and even HDR10+ support neatly tucked into its slim dimensions.
The goodies don’t end there. The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K packs a faster processor than its predecessor, and now includes an Alexa Voice Remote that’s available separately for ₹1999 as well. Enough reason to get excited then? Let’s stream on...
DESIGN: THE BIG STICK
As with all streamers fated to dwell behind screens, the Fire TV Stick doesn’t have any big shoes to fill as far as design goes. It sticks to tried and tested aesthetics, but may stick out the side if that’s where your ports reside, owing to its KitKat Chunky sized exteriors. The bundled HDMI extender can always make life easier during installation.
The second-gen Alexa Voice Remote is also upgraded with volume controls, a mute button and a power button so you can put it off duty on demand. It feeds off 2xAAAs that sit inside a redesigned battery slot. Fiddly, but fine considering the occasional swapping of batteries.
SETUP: IDIOT PROOF
Plug the main unit into your telly’s HDMI port and power it up via the bundled wall charger for the required energy it needs to perform its duties. Simple TV instructions guide you through the process that’s fairly straightforward.
With your Amazon account linked to the device and any new software updates downloaded, you’re ready to go. Takes about five minutes in total, but for a one time process, there’s isn’t much room for complaints.
FEATURES: 4K GOOD, VOICE CONTROL OK
Rocking credentials that put it at the forefront of telly-based streaming, the Fire TV Stick 4K zips around on a new 1.7GHz quad-core processor to get the job done. The on-screen interface feels nice and fluid as a result as do responses to voice commands you chuck at it.
If you prefer clacking over clicking, there’s good news for you as well. This latest version of Alexa Voice Remote that the Stick comes with combines Bluetooth and IR tech with far-field voice recognition to control your telly, Alexa style. Of course, this works best with Amazon’s own Prime video app, so other apps will feel stunted in comparison.
APPS: ONE STICK TO RULE THEM ALL
Prime Video sits front and centre of your Fire TV Stick 4K experience for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, you obviously get access to all the usual suspects be it Netflix, TuneIn and the like. That’s all well and good till you try launching its rival: YouTube.
Google’s been abandoned in the app list which means the YouTube app will reroute you to Amazon’s Silk Browser / Firefox to watch videos. It’s a big stumbling block in the whole experience, but one you can live with if YouTube isn’t your go-to content collection.
PICTURE AND SOUND: SOLID ALL-ROUNDER
Here’s where the Fire TV Stick 4K truly shines. 4K HDR content on the device looks crisp, rich in contrast and colours truly pop. Content at the moment is limited, with most of it sourced through either Netflix or Prime Video but that’s fuel aplenty for now.
The streaming party doesn’t end there. The stick also brings with it Dolby Atmos support so when you hook it up to a compatible system, it’ll pull off some pretty impressive results. It’ll cope with standard stereo and 5.1 just well if you ask nicely.
Amazon’s raised the bar for streamers of the future. It’s a well-equipped device that teams up with a Prime Video membership to showcase streaming heaven with its skills. Of course, it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies if your streaming comprises of mostly YouTube.
But there’s plenty of reasons to upgrade for every previous Fire TV Stick user. Be it the HDR support or the added 4K and Alexa Voice Remote benefits, there’s enough treats packed into Amazon’s latest stick to warrant the leap to the future.