The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has been released and what people want to know most is how powerful it is compared to previous Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models. I tested the Fire TV Stick 4K and all other Fire TV models with several popular benchmarking tools and have learned that it’s easily the most powerful streaming device in Amazon’s current lineup. Here are the results.
Before getting into the benchmark scores, it’s important to understand that the streaming device that performs best in a benchmark is not necessarily the best overall device. There are many factors to determining which device is best and raw power, which is what these benchmarks test, is just one tiny aspect. In the same manner that a car’s horsepower rating tells you nothing about how it handles, these scores don’t do a good job of representing how well the devices perform in real-world usage, since you’re hardly ever going to push a device like a media player to its limits. That said, it’s still nice to know where those limits are.
I tested the Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV 3 (pendant), Fire TV Stick 2, Fire TV 2 (box), and Fire TV 1 (box). The Fire TV Stick 1 kept failing to complete some of the tests, so I eliminated it from the comparison, but know that it is significantly weaker than all other models. All devices were tested today on the latest software version that is currently available. I ran the Geekbench 5 test for an overall score, the PCMark Work 2.0 test for a general CPU score, and the 3DMark T-Rex Offscreen test for a general GPU score.
The Geekbench benchmark runs several dozen tests that primarily tax the CPU but also test other system components, such as the memory. Each test is run on a single CPU core and then on all of the CPU cores available. Most of these tests are on actions you’ll never do with a streaming device, but the results give you a rough idea of how each device will perform when looking up data, launching apps, browsing the web, and more.
The Fire TV Stick 4K was outperformed only by the 2nd-generation Fire TV box. This is to be expected because that device has two 2.0 GHz cores and two 1.5 GHz cores that are more powerful than the Fire TV Stick 4K’s four 1.7 GHz cores. The Fire TV 2 also has a much more powerful GPU, which contributes to this overall system test.
I must note that the Fire TV Cube did unexpectedly poorly in the multi-core portion of this test. It should have come in around the same as the Fire TV 3, since they share the same CPU and GPU, but, even though I re-ran the test multiple times, it continued to score poorly. I could not figure out why this was happening.
Next is the PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark which specifically test only the CPU of each device. Here you can see that the Fire TV Stick 4K scores very close to the Fire TV 2 because aspects other than the CPU do not contribute to this test. For a streaming media player, the CPU will mostly determine how snappy the device feels while navigating around the main interface and within app interfaces.
As I’ve previously demonstrated, the CPU’s performance has very little to do with video playback, so these results do not represent how well each device plays back video. A CPU benchmark, like this PCMark test, will somewhat represent how smoothly you’ll be able to navigate within an app.
Lastly is the GFXBench T-Rex Offcreen test. This benchmark tests the gaming capabilities of each device and has nearly nothing to do with video playback and general app performance. As you can see, the Fire TV 2 expectedly dominates this test because it has a substantially more powerful GPU. This is why there are some games in the Amazon appstore that only run on the Fire TV 2. The Fire TV 1 is still the second most powerful model for gaming, but the Fire TV Stick 4K is surprisingly close in third place.
Overall, these benchmarks show that the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K packs quite a lot of power in its tiny body. If you don’t need the hands-free Alexa capabilities of the Amazon Fire TV Cube, then the Fire TV Stick is probably the better option because it has more power under the hood. It’s impressive that after just 4 years, Amazon has managed to pack in more power and more capabilities into a stick form factor than they first had in the original 1st-generation Fire TV set-top box.