The all-new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max has been released today and Amazon is calling it its most powerful streaming stick ever, going as far as to print it on the box. You should certainly expect it to be more powerful than the original Fire TV Stick 4K, since it has a stronger CPU, GPU, and more RAM. But how much more powerful is it and can it possibly even beat out the Google Chromecast dongle? I have the new Firestick 4K Max in hand and put it through my usual benchmark tests so read on to find out.
As a reminder, benchmark scores are a poor way of judging a device’s real-world performance because they push a device to its limits, which hardly ever happens in everyday use. That said, they do provide an even playing field to directly compare the raw power of one device to another, so, in that sense, they provide a decent idea of how well devices will perform relative to each other in normal use. I ran each benchmark 3 times at the device’s max resolution and averaged the top 2 runs.
Geekbench is a very good overall benchmark utility and has become the go-to for many people to rank Android devices. It primarily taxes the CPU but also tests things like the RAM and rolls it all into a final score for both a single CPU core and all CPU cores. As you can see, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max pulled off a great multi-core score of 2506, easily beating out the previous budget streaming device leaders, the Google Chromecast and the Walmart Onn 4K Box. That’s pretty damn impressive for a stick form factor device to beat out a dongle/pendant and box form factor. It’s amazing that a firestick is now edging pretty close to the CPU performance of the much-loved 2nd-gen Fire TV box.
Comparing the Fire TV Stick 4K Max with the Fire TV Stick 4K is no contest. When the original Firestick 4K was released, it was pretty impressive that Amazon fit so much power into such a small form factor. So, it’s impressive that they’ve managed to improve it by 25% without changing the size. For anyone cross-shopping the Fire TV Stick 4K Max with the 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick for use on a 1080p TV, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max scored 2608 on this benchmark at the lower 1080p resolution.
The GFXBench T-Rex benchmark is a graphical test that primarily taxes the GPU of the device. This mainly measures the device’s local gaming capabilities, but the GPU does come into play in everyday non-gaming use for rendering the interface. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max absolutely crushed this test, beating out even the 1st-gen Fire TV box, which was pushed heavily as a gaming device. With the advent of remote cloud gaming services like Amazon Luna, local gaming on streaming devices isn’t as popular as it once was, but it’s nice to see that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max still has plenty of power to pull it off.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max scored a whopping 45% higher on this gaming benchmark than the next highest budget device, the Google Chromecast. Relative to the original Fire TV Stick 4K, it scored a 50% more powerful GPU score and, once again, edged pretty darn close to the 2nd-gen Fire TV box. You can see by the clumping of recent devices in the low-800 score range that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max’s score of 1201 stands out and has taken GPU performance in its form-factor to another level.
When the Fire TV Stick 4K Max was introduced, Amazon claimed that it was 40% more powerful than its predecessor, the original Fire TV Stick 4K. I have to say I was very skeptical of that claim and worried that they were setting everyone up for the same disappointment that we experienced when Nvidia claimed the new Shield TV was 25% more powerful but hardly scored higher at all than the previous model in reality. While the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max certainly isn’t 40% more powerful than the previous model in all regards, it’s certainly pulling it off in some areas and then some.