Amazon’s Fire TV range, renowned globally, now boasts four distinct streaming sticks, each with unique specifications and capabilities. With such a variety, making the right choice can seem daunting.
Those two have joined the 3rd generation Amazon Fire TV Stick (see our review) and the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite.
What are the differences between these four? This is what we’re here to take a closer look at.
Amazon Fire TV Sticks: The Big Four
The Amazon Fire TV streaming devices have been quite popular in the UK, dating back to the launch of the first Fire TV box, back in 2014 – and for good reason.
With most of the major UK streaming apps available for the Fire TV, and a friendly interface, it’s an improved replacement to the often slow-and-limited “Smart TV” interfaces. (The Fire TV’s main competition at this point are the Roku streaming devices – see my reviews here).
Along with the Cube, there are now five Amazon Fire TV devices being officially sold in the UK: The Amazon Fire TV 4K Max (2nd Gen), the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick (2nd Gen), the Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen), The Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite (Full HD), and the Amazon Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen,) which is a pricier product that combines the Fire TV with an Echo device (see my review of it here).
The four sticks are all quite capable, affordable, and – somewhat surprisingly – quite similar in their specs – except for the 4K Max, which is a bit higher end.
In fact, the 3rd gen Full HD stick is practically identical to the “Lite” stick, with the only notable difference being the remote that comes with either stick – the Lite remote doesn’t have TV volume buttons, and instead adds a “Live TV” button. That’s it. Oh – and there’s a £10 difference as well…
To help you decide – here’s a full comparison of the specs (because the Cube costs considerably more, we only compare the Fire TV Sticks here) –
(If you’re on a phone, you can scroll the table left and right)
|Fire TV 4K Max|
|Fire TV 4K 2nd Gen||Fire TV Stick||Fire TV Stick Lite|
|Video||4K / 60fps||4K / 60fps||1080p / 60fps||1080p / 60fps|
|HDR||HDR10/+ Dolby Vision, HLG||HDR10/+ Dolby Vision, HLG||HDR10/+, HLG||HDR10/+, HLG|
|Audio||Stereo, PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos||Stereo, PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos||Stereo, PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos||Stereo, PCM|
MT8696T, 2.0GHz quad-core
MT8696D, 1.7GHz quad-core
|MediaTek MT8695D, 1.7GHz quad-core||MediaTek MT8695D, 1.7GHz quad-core|
GE9215, 850 MHz
GE9215, 650 MHz
|RAM||2GB LPDDR4||2GB LPDDR4||1GB DDR4||1GB DDR4|
|WiFi||Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax||WiFi 6 Dual-band: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax||802.11 b/g/n/ac|
2×2 MIMO (WiFi 5)
2×2 MIMO (WiFi 5)
|Bluetooth||BT 5.2||BT 5.2||BT 5||BT 5|
|Ethernet||Optional Adapter||Optional Adapter||Optional Adapter||Optional Adapter|
|Remote||Alexa Enhanced Voice Remote||Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen)||Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen)||Alexa Voice Remote Lite (without volume buttons)|
|OS||Fire OS 8 (Android 9)||Fire OS 8 (Android 7.1)||Fire OS 7 (Android 9)||Fire OS 7 (Android 9)|
|BUY HERE||BUY HERE||BUY HERE||BUY HERE|
|Fire TV 4K Max||Fire TV 4K Stick||Fire TV Stick||Fire TV Stick Lite|
As you can see, the new 2nd Gen Fire TV 4K stick is still not all that different from the HD ones, with a slightly upgraded CPU, 2GB RAM (instead of 1GB), and of course – support for Ultra HD 4K streaming (and Dolby Vision HDR).
But the newer Fire TV 4K Max – especially the 2nd Gen 2023 version – has a bumped-up spec list, and double the storage (16GB instead of 8GB), so you get room for more apps and games.
The new Max and 4K sticks come with the latest version of Amazon’s operating system – Fire OS 8, while the HD and Lite sticks have been left behind for now with Fire OS 7.
All the sticks, however (and the Cube) come with the Fire TV’s newer user interface.
As for the remote, most of the Firesticks now come with the 3rd gen Alexa Voice Remote, which includes shortcut buttons – but the Max gets the “Enhanced” Alexa Voice Remote, which includes a few extra buttons – a new “Recent” button that lets you go easily to the last app/channel you were watching, and a “Settings” shortcut button.
The “Lite” stick is the only one that comes with the older remote – for now, at least – though you may find older editions of the other sticks, depending on where you buy, that still come with the older remote.
However, the Pro remote doesn’t come bundled with any of the Fire TV devices – and you can only buy it separately.
Which Amazon Fire TV Stick Is Best?
So, which Fire TV Stick should you buy? If this is going to be your main streaming device, for a 4K TV, then I suggest you go for either the Fire TV 4K Max or the Fire TV 4K – both of which offer superior video quality AND a faster interface, thanks to the improved CPU and RAM.
The difference between the Max and the regular 4K stick isn’t all that big – for an extra tenner, I would go for the top one – but if you can find the 4K stick (2nd Gen) with an extra discount – then it becomes the king of value-for-money.
If you already have the older version of the 4K Stick or the First Gen 4K Max stick, I won’t bother to upgrade to any of the 2nd Gen sticks – but if you’re buying a totally new one, then you might as well go for the 4K Max if you’re looking for the best Firestick.
Then again, if you’re looking to buy a second stick (for your bedroom, for example), or if you’re going to use it on an older non-4K TV, then I would go straight for the Lite version, which has a more tempting price point.
You won’t be able to control the volume of your TV with the Lite Remote – but consider whether that’s worth the £10 difference over the 3rd Gen HD Stick.