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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max vs Roku Streaming Stick 4K+: Atmos or bust

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The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023) against a white background

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd Gen, 2023)

    Better audio and internal storage

    $40 $60 Save $20

    The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is one of the best Ultra HD streaming devices for watching movies and shows in full Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 surround (or higher).

    Pros

    • Class-leading HDR and surround sound support
    • Intuitive OS
    • Terrific web performance
    Cons

    • Doesn?t support AirPlay 2 or Chromecast
    • No headphone jack on the remote

  • The Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus on a white background

    Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus

    AirPlay 2 and hands-free voice controls

    If you’re all about casting content and screen mirroring via AirPlay 2, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ should be your streaming device of choice.

    Pros

    • Speedy web performance
    • Compatible with AirPlay 2
    • Hands-free voice controls and lost remote locator
    Cons

    • Very little internal storage
    • Getting harder to find


Streaming devices have taken over, and there’s certainly no shortage of options to choose from. A/V titans like Amazon, Roku, and Google, along with smart TVs from Samsung, Sony, and LG are just a few of the ways you’ll be able to stream your favorite movies and shows from apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.



Today, we’ll be doing a side-by-side comparison of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+. Both of these gadgets are excellent plug-and-play devices, but which is the best? Let’s find out!

Read our ranking

Best streaming devices in 2024

There’s a lot of competition out there to host your weekend binges and movie nights

Price, specs & availability:

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max currently sells for $60, but the streaming device is usually on sale for $10 or $15 less. You can purchase the 4K Max from Amazon, as well and brick-and-mortar retail outlets (and websites) like Best Buy and Target.

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ is $80. You can still purchase the device through Amazon, although it looks like Roku is trying to phase out the 4K+ altogether, so stock is variable.

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd Gen, 2023)Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus
    What’s IncludedAlexa Voice Remote Enhanced, power cable and adapter, HDMI extender, 2 AAA batteriesRemote, Mini USB
    Storage16GB1GB
    RemoteAlexa Voice Remote EnhancedYes
    Operating SystemFire OS 8Roku TV OS
    Resolution4K Ultra HD4K, 1080p, 720p
    HDR SupportHDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG


Design

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Both the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Streaming Stick 4K+ feature minimalist designs. On the Amazon side of the playing field, the 4K Max is matte black and includes a built-in HDMI connector. A single micro USB port connects to an AC wall adapter for power.

The 4K Max is also bundled with Amazon’s Voice Remote Enhanced. On top of power, volume, mute, and channel-surfing buttons, the remote also includes four shortcut keys and mic button to use Alexa.

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus on a white background

Source: Roku


Like the 4K Max, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ is also matte black and includes a built-in HDMI connector, as well as a micro USB that connects to an AC wall adapter.

The remote is a little smaller than the one that comes with the 4K Max, but there’s enough room to include volume, navigation, and playback buttons. Additional keys include four shortcut keys, a mic button for using Roku’s voice assistant, and a convenient lost remote locator.

Speaking of which: Roku’s two advantages over Amazon’s remote are hands-free voice controls and a built-in rechargeable battery (via USB-C). To use voice commands, simply say “Hey Roku,” followed by a query or action. We’re also glad to see the inclusion of a headphone jack for private listening (another thing you won’t find on Amazon’s remote).

Software

Amazon Fire TV OS

Source: Amazon


In terms of OS, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max uses Amazon’s Fire TV platform, while Roku opts for the tried and true Roku OS for the Streaming Stick 4K+.

The Fire TV platform is laid out in a cohesive manner, with bright colors and rows of big square tiles being the main UI elements you’ll interact with. Fire TV tends to go a little overboard with Amazon advertising, but these first-party callouts are mostly for Amazon Prime Video and IMDB TV movies and shows.

Navigating from screen to screen and selecting menu options feels fast and responsive, and Alexa responds quickly to voice commands of all types, including smart home actions.

roku os

Source: Roku

Roku has been perfecting the Roku TV OS for years, and while there haven’t been too many changes, there are a few new tabs and options to choose from on the Home Screen.


Movies, shows, and channels (what Roku calls apps) are featured prominently on this page. You’ll be able to filter content searches by genre and other categories, and all of your favorite channels are laid out in colorful tiles on a default purple background.

Navigating from screen to screen, and opening and closing apps is speedy and responsive, and even the Roku voice assistant responds to commands promptly and without a hitch.

The Roku TV OS also supports Apple AirPlay 2, so you’ll be able to cast media and mirror the screen of an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer. Fire TV supports Miracast and WiDi, but not AirPlay 2 or Chromecast.

Video and audio quality

amazon fire tv stick 4k max 2nd gen

Source: Amazon

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ are industry leaders when it comes to HDR support and surround decoding. For the latter though, the 4K Max might be the better option for you and yours.


HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and the HLG format are supported by both streaming devices. This means you’ll be able to experience some of the brightest and most colorful imagery when streaming 4K movies and shows with either peripheral.

If you’re planning on using the 4K Max or Streaming Stick 4K+ with a Dolby Atmos soundbar or surround sound though, you’ll want to go with Team Amazon. Unfortunately, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ doesn’t support the Atmos codec.

Storage and networking

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The Roku Streaming Stick 4K plugged in

When it comes to internal storage, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the clear winner. Offering up to 16GB of storage and 2GB of memory, the 4K Max trumps the single gigabyte you’ll get with Roku’s Streaming Stick 4K.


That being said, if you’re the kind of person that downloads a ton of 4K movies and shows (instead of streaming them), you’re going to hit that 16GB cap in the blink of an eye. If you prefer offline downloads to traditional streaming, you may want to invest in a network-attached storage device (NAS) or think about using Plex.

As far as network connectivity goes, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max supports the latest Wi-Fi 6e standard, which means you’ll be able to connect to 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and the new 6GHz Wi-Fi bands. The Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ can be connected to 2.4GHz and 5GHz network bands, but lacks support for 6GHz connectivity.

Which is right for you?

If complete Dolby Atmos immersion is one of the most important parts of your movie and TV show-watching experience, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is probably going to be the best streaming device to go with. It also supports the latest Wi-Fi 6e networking standard and features 16GB of internal storage.


The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023) against a white background

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd Gen, 2023)

Better audio and internal storage

Dolby Atmos and Wi-Fi 6e

$40 $60 Save $20

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is one of the best Ultra HD streaming devices for watching movies and shows in full Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 surround (or higher).

Even though the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ is being phased out, it’s still a solid streaming device to nab while supplies last. Plus, it features hands-free voice control and Apple AirPlay 2 support.

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus on a white background

Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus

AirPlay 2 and hands-free voice controls

Score a great deal while supplies last

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ connects to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz network bands. The remote includes a built-in mic for hands-free voice controls and a rechargeable battery. 

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