Amazon is a massive company but even with their reach their Fire TV sticks have never made much of a splash in Australia but now Amazon has released their second generation TV stick here in Australia hoping to change that.

Amazon has released second generation Fire TV sticks – both 4K compatible – but one has the Max in its name suggesting it is more advanced than the standard version.

For the average user you may not notice much of a difference there also is not all that much difference in price $79AUD v $119AUD.  As part of this review we will not only check out the standard Fire TV features but also the differences between the two.

Read on to see whether we think that the Fire TV Stick 4K and Max version are worth the purchase and which one you should get.


It’s a TV stick.  What do you really need in a TV stick?  It plugs directly into the HDMI port of your TV but if your ports are in such a configuration that do not allow the stick to be inserted directly there is a small flexible dongle to attach it. 

The Fire TV 4K sticks do require power and while Amazon suggest that you should not get this power from the TV USB port I had no issue at all using this port for the standard Fire TV Stick 4K.  I suspect they recommend this because some TVs may not be able to provide sufficient power to the stick to run it at its optimum power level.  

The standard Fire TV stick may have worked just fine powered by the USB port of my Hisense TV but the Max did not and had to be plugged into the wall.  This is possibly because my TV is a long way from new and doesn’t provide enough power to its USB ports and the Max requires more juice to run it. I would plan to have to plug it in and if you don’t….bonus.

The remote controls are different between the two TV sticks with the Max version having an “upgraded remote.”  It is only a small difference between the two remotes but the upgraded version does have a brightness button, a “copy” button and an up and down arrow rocker button. Is it worth the extra cost?  Probably not, but the added features are.

Features and Setup

Set up was relatively painless although I did have to restart the Fire TV stick at one stage to get the phone to recognise it and connect to it.

Once logged in you will be greeted with the home page, which, unsurprisingly is very Amazon-centric.  It is much improved since last time I used a Fire TV stick though – a good couple of years ago at this stage though.  You get your favourite apps along the row at the top with an All Apps button at the end to access them all.

From here you can install all of the apps you think you will need although they can be difficult to find – the app store is a bit of a mess to be honest but I found the best way to find apps was to use Alexa to search for them.  I wonder if this is deliberate from Amazon.

The setup does help recommend some of the more popular apps such as Plex and various streaming apps – Plex worked perfectly btw.

I was able to find all the apps I thought I might need except for OpenVPN but that is a relatively simple sideload – Google is your friend here with instructions to help you through it.  There are a bazillion VPN apps available on the app store though should you wish to get a specific VPN-provider’s app.

For Aussies though alongside YouTube, Netflix and Prime Video there is Binge, Kayo, Optus Sport, Stan Sport and all the free-to-air TV stations’ playback apps, freeview and more.  I was honestly surprised by all the apps on there – but there is still a lot less apps than there is on the Android TV Play Store or the Apple TV App Store.

Below the apps there is a continue watching row – which at first will have Prime Video shows on it until you use the TV stick for shows yourself.

Now both versions of the second gen Fire TV Sticks offer 4K media streaming but the Max version, thanks to its much faster processor was able to open apps a lot faster.  I say a lot but it was only a few seconds, but this was definitely noticeable.

The Max version also brings with it Wi-Fi 6E support while the standard only has support for Wi-Fi 6.  Is this a huge issue?  Not really but personally I always try and future proof my purchases as much as possible so would go for the Max for this reason.

Max also has a new feature called the Fire TV Ambient Experience which, if you are an Android TV user, won’t be new to you.  It is basically the OS replacing blank screens with “helpful Alexa-powered information and beautiful artwork when not streaming.”  Use Alexa to launch this.

Max also has Alexa widgets allowing you to see calendar events, reminders, memos quickly along with Ring doorbells and cameras.  I really did not use these all that much because if I’m, in the middle of a show I’m unlikely to go back to the home page to see the widget required when I can just pick up my phone.  The few times I didn’t have my phone with me I used the widget to see my Ring doorbell video so it was a nice to have but not essential.

The Sticky Notes widget was handy though as I had the kids using it so I could remind them to put the dishes away etc.


First things first, both Fire TV 4K TV Sticks had no issue streaming 4K media without any buffering and the difference in app opening times was minimal – what’s a few seconds when you are about to watch a two-hour movie anyway?

The 4K TV Sticks were able to play a range of media formats (yes, Plex and VLC work just fine on it for those wondering) including Dolby Vision, HDR 10 and 10+, HLG, H.265, H.264, MPEG-4 and more.  VLC and Plex are also able to decode and play media on the fly which made it even more simple – this is where the Max’s extra power and speed did come in handy though with faster and more seamless playing of media.

The Max is able to store a lot more apps on it thanks to having 16GB of storage as opposed to 8GB on the standard Fire TV 4K Stick.  Of course, you probably won’t hit this limit as we don’t need all THAT many apps on a TV media streaming device but in case you do it is there.

Should you buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K?

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (and 4K Max) sit in a market where there are not a lot of options here in Australia but those options are the Google TV and Apple TV dongles and they have such a good experience that it is tough for anyone else to break in.

Amazon have a large ecosystem in the US but in Australia it is more limited. Not that many folks in Australia have Prime TV and although the Fire TV Stick offers other streaming services it is very Prime heavy. It offers 95% of users 99% of all the apps they could ever need though but to use it without Prime just leaves the UI “empty.”

There is nothing wrong with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and if you use Amazon Prime Video a lot then this is perfect for you. There is enough if a difference between the standard and the Max version for me to recommend the Max over the standard version — although the difference is $40. If you simply want to keep the cost down though there isn’t much you’ll miss using the $79 standard version.

Although the Tv Sticks tie in nicely to the Amazon smart home ecosystem the time taken to view the cameras etc means you will rarely use this option.

If you don’t have Prime Video or you do and don’t use it much, then I’d recommend going for the Google TV 4K dongle ($99) instead. The UI is more agnostic, there are a heap more apps available and you know you’ll have the best security updates with Google behind the helm.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Stick 4K Max are available now for $79 and $119 respectively.