The Fire TV Stick 4K is my favorite streaming device of 2022

I am a fan of everything “smart home.” It’s obvious to anyone who’s ever set foot in my apartment – ​​the whole place is wired up via Alexa, from the lights to the TV. With that in mind, I don’t like any unnecessary devices in my bedroom, but I don’t like shouting loud enough for the Echo Show in my kitchen to hear me trying to turn off the lights from my bedroom . Enter the Fire TV Stick 4K. With this handy little device, I can ask Alexa to do my bidding through the remote control, rather than raising my voice. It also has the added benefit of no built-in speaker, so the remote won’t wake me up with announcements or package deliveries, like an Echo Dot might.

Amazon

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

$30$50Save $20

Access over 1 million movies and TV shows with this intuitive and easy-to-use device. That simplicity starts with a no-nonsense installation and setup. It’s no surprise that the Fire TV Stick 4K is my favorite new device this year.

$30 at Amazon

I picked up this handy little streaming stick as an afterthought. I wanted to test video game streaming through Amazon Luna, and the easiest way was through a Fire TV Stick. Since I already had a Roku, I didn’t expect a stick to be used much. Turns out, I was wrong. It has become one of my favorite purchases of the year. The best news? Right now, it’s only $30 on Amazon.

Fire TV Stick 4K features and performance

Right off the bat, the main feature of the Fire TV Stick 4K is the inclusion of Alexa. There is a blue button on the top right of the remote which when pressed activates a listening function within the remote itself. Plus, the Fire TV Stick 4K makes it incredibly easy to access my favorite streaming services. Of course, the most prominent service on the device is Prime Video (I mean, who would have thought?). Good thing one of my favorite shows – Psycho – on Prime TV. Of course, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and all major streaming services are also available. In fact, Peacock is the only app I can’t find on Fire TV.

It doesn’t just stream content, though. Any streaming device can do that. The Fire TV Stick 4K has support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and HDR10 +, which practically guarantees a viewing experience almost identical to a trip to the local IMAX (as long as you have a TV that can display those specifications) .

The inclusion of Alexa also gives it many other benefits. I can search for a show just ask her to play it, and I can throw my security camera feed on the screen, check the weather and more. Have you ever heard the doorbell while still in bed? Alexa can be asked to show who is at the door! Trust me, it’s great. It performs better than Roku in that regard, and installation is just as easy.

My favorite kind of device is one that doesn’t make me think about it, and I’ve never had to lean toward the Fire TV Stick 4K beyond a few basic updates. Most of that is done automatically, though — I’m just a stick to make sure things are done the way I expect. In other words, this streaming device is plug-and-play, install-it-and-forget-it.

Amazon Fire TV 4K stick

The Fire TV 4K is the smart, and “smart,” choice for (almost) all your streaming needs. (Photo: Amazon)

Fire TV Stick 4K difficulties

Okay, maybe I stretched the truth little. There is one major drawback: The remote control has no backlighting. The design is pretty simple to use (and you can even use an Echo Dot or similar device to control your Fire TV if you can’t find the remote), but I would have preferred even a small amount of lighting to use in the night. There are four buttons at the bottom of the remote that will quickly load Prime Video, Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu without having to navigate menus, but I find myself hitting those by accident sometimes.

The other problem with the Fire TV Stick 4K isn’t really with the device but with the app. (Looking at you, HBO Max!) I, like thousands of others, like to keep the TV on for background noise, and more often than not it’s just playing Friends back and forth. For whatever reason, HBO Max sometimes loses video while continuing to play audio. The screen will be dark, or the Fire TV will throw an error message, but I can still hear the episode in the background.

So far, I haven’t really found a solution to that. A quick Google search shows that I’m far from the only user to run into this bug, but the suggested fixes (updating the system OS, removing and reinstalling the app, etc.) seem to have yielded no results. Fortunately, I can fix the problem by going to the home screen and restarting playback. That’s a big deal. If it really freezes, my surefire fix is ​​to unplug the stick and pop it back into the HDMI slot.

One final note: I mentioned that I picked this up to test game streaming. Although it is a certified Amazon Luna compatible device, I found the experience to be less than satisfactory. I suspect most of that lies with Luna itself, rather than the Fire TV Stick. It doesn’t drop Wi-Fi or struggle to maintain a connection, and most of the lag comes from the games themselves. Just keep in mind that Amazon Luna is not a game console replacement.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: Should you buy it?

I love the Fire TV Stick 4K, but that’s because I have a nearly perfect use case for this device. My smart home is completely controlled through Alexa, I do most of my shopping through Amazon, and I’m a Prime subscriber. If I didn’t fit so neatly into that box, though, I don’t tons beneficial to use this over Roku or Apple TV. In fact, I think the Apple TV actually has a better interface.

But like I said, if you’re an Amazon user, the Fire TV Stick is a great addition. The ease of controlling the smart home, the simple yet refined remote, and just the quality of the streaming and display options make it a great choice.

Amazon

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

$30$50Save $20

Access over 1 million movies and TV shows with this intuitive and easy-to-use device. That simplicity starts with a no-nonsense installation and setup. It’s no surprise that the Fire TV Stick 4K is my favorite new device this year.

$30 at Amazon

If you have Amazon Prime, you get free shipping, of course. Not a member yet? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (By the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

Looking for more great Amazon tech deals? Check these out:

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