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.
Thank you Elias, great work as always.
Do you know if it’s possible to add storage using usb? Can you confirm if the new remote actually works on the FTV2?
I tried the new remote on a Box Gen 2 and it will control the box but does NOT activate the hardware control prompt or work the IR portion.
hmm interesting. thanks.
I have tried the new remote on the FTV2. It works, in part.
Navigation buttons all work normally.
Volume and power controls also work IF the remote was already configured for your hardware using another device, e.g. the Cube. This is pretty annoying, because it’s just a question of software. The new 4K stick doesn’t have any IR capabilities but can be used to configure the remote IR. And Amazon did release an update to the FTV2 last month to make it compatible with their new DVR box, but not with this remote. Not cool.
Strangely, the voice search/alexa button does NOT work. If you press it, you will get a notification that there was some kind of error with Alexa. But it still works fine with the older remote.
The remote also tends to unpair itself randomly, but then again my FTV2 was always flaky with bluetooth connections.
I haven’t been able to get the new remote to pair with the FTV 2 box (works fine with the fireTV 3 pendant). How did you pair it?
Wow, the FTV2 box is still kicking a$$.
I continue to treasure my rooted FireTV 2 box. One of those perfectly timed purchases that you don’t appreciate at the time.
I am happy I purchased a refurbished Fire TV 2 box when I could even though the pendant was out. Fire TV 2 (box) > all others.
Only thing annoying with FTV2 is that it does not support Dolby Visions etc.
This is amazing. I am really surprised that it outperforms cube.
Looks like almost double the performance of 2nd gen stick which is what I have everywhere. Definitely replacing all of mine around BF.
Thank you for posting this!
I thought it could come closer to the FTV2 but I was pretty sure it would beat all that amlogic crap and it did.
I own three from above lists.
Fire Cube,2nd gen Fire Tv and 2nd gen
Fire cube I have is garbage.
I thought I was upgrading from
Fire TV 2nd gen.
That is why my 4k TV is connected to
Fire cube and my full HD TV connected to
Fire TV. Mind boggling benchmark result.
But can’t do anything about it.
After all I need 4k media player
connected to 4k TV.
2nd gen Fire TV is not 4k capable.
Fire box 2 is 4k compatible. I want a new box, Amazon!
Yeah, second gen Fire TV 2 does 4k just fine.
I completely forgot about that.
Because it was connected to 1080p full Hd TV.
If I switch back to it, would missed IR blaster.
Love to controll my channel input.
Then again, I also have Logitech harmony hub with IR extended
But never opened it.
I might switch back and stay with harmony and good old Fire TV 2nd gen.
If I didnt see that benchmark, I wouldn’t never thought about switch back.
Don’t forget that your Fire TV 2 Box does 4k, but no HDR, no Atmos, no auto frame rate matching, no 4k@60p (usually not that important).
About the new 4K Stick: Actually I am very surprised that it does not perform way better. It is many years newer than FTV2 box and it has a 12nm SoC compared to 28nm. Taking this into account I would expect it to be on par with the good old ftv2 box or at least way better than the ftv3 pendant, which has a hot 28nm SoC.
Can you say something about the heat of the device during benchmarking? Does it run cooler than pendant or the 2nd gen stick?
Lots of power for a small space. Any heat issues??? Thanks for the insight. Great work!!
So the Fire Stick 4K is bettet than the Fire TV 3?
I got the Fire TV 3, and i am worried about the RAM of the Stick 4k
I just got a 4K stick delivered today that I added to a 3rd TV (the others have 2nd gen boxes) and I cannot tell any difference in performance between the two. The 4K stick powers though PS Vue / Netflix / etc with ease. I’m very impressed so far.
Since the 2nd Gen FireTV Box is the best, why NOT just improve it by adding few more USB ports that support NTFS/ex2 etc and sell it at a reasonable/sustainable price of lets say $120, rather that creating all these sub par or half baked CHEAP devices?
I guess because most people buy these devices for streaming and whoever wants USB ports has plenty of adapters they can use. People say they’re streaming 4k blurays, getting 300mbps wifi on this Stick, that covers most people needs. Does Amazon really wanna compete with Nvidia for that tiny slice of more demanding customers? I hope they did but I don’t see much comercial sense in doing it.
Agree, the pendant and 4K stick are quite close in performance, with the 4K stick a little better.
What I’m hoping for (like many enthusiasts) is a true (4K) successor to FTV 2 box.
More models, cheaper ones, frequently released, instead of one, more expensive, better, that would keep customers satisfied for years and years. Seems pretty obvious from a business stand point.
Yep, it’s called marketing!
Very nice to know the new stick is so powerful. Hopefully UPS will get around to delivering my pre-order tomorrow. In my opinion UPS is the worst. I much prefer USPS.
I’m going to install mine on my Toshiba fireTV edition TV. It will be very interesting to compare the 4K difference. After the review I’m expecting big things.
Thanks for all your work.
I have that TV as well. Why would you need to get the new stick with it?
Thanks for all the work/benchmarks. If you are trying to get me to spend more money and buy a 4K stick you are doing a great job… Lol
Can you add memory AND Ethernet adapter to the 4k stick? If so, based on these results, I may return my cube and get the stick.
I’d totally keep my gen2 FTV if it worked with the new remote (I don’t like the piggyback options), but since it doesn’t I want the next best option.
Yes you can do both.
i bought other amazon devices but always go back to my generation 2 box.it is my go to device glad I never gave it away
Hope Amazon comes out with a true FTV2 successor. I might pick up an Nvidia Shield during Black Friday sales.
Looks like I don’t have to upgrade my pendants.
The performance difference between the Cube and the new 4K Stick is likely due to the CPU drain of always-on Alexa. It’s always using some of its processing power to listen and that hurts the benchmark results.
I’m still waiting for Amazon to introduce something better than my second generation Box. If they offer something in that kind of form factor with USB ports and gigabit Ethernet, plus upgrades to HDR capability and an even faster processor, I’ll think seriously about upgrading. So far all of their new devices since that high point have been downgrades.
While they’re at it, the ability to easily play media from USB would be a nice addition. It can be done but you have to jump through hoops, and there is no good reason for that.
You might be waiting for a long time Shirley.
I just want Automatic Frame Rate Switching for my Fire TV 2 box.
Then I would not even bother about reading about the newer devices.
The only reason I still do, even though I own an Apple TV 4K, is the fact that the Amazon Prime Video App does not play surround sound for ALL their videos, whereas on the Fire TV I always get surround. And I’m sure that it is Amazon’s conscious decision to limit the playback capabilities on non-Amazon devices.
Have had it for a couple days now, its going back like the pendants did. the best amazon device i’ve ever had was the fire tv 2, but since then, my apple tv has dominated this lineup. Granted, it does cost more, but my household is an all apple environment so in addition to inferior performance, everything just syncs and works together better.
I guess for the price its ok, but i consider myself more of an audio/video enthusiast and for now the apple tv 4K dominates the market especially with the addition of dolby vision. what really makes me drool though is the new updated mac mini…..
Just did a speedtest and was pleased to see 380 up and 370 down, while the my 2nd gen fire tv only gets 200 up and 200 down pretty close in my initial use. Honestly thought my box would blow the doors off the new stick but it’s really quick.
My second gen was 120 down stick 4k 140
I have fiber gig speed internet
Firestick 4K saw improvement for 5ghz speed over 2nd firestick. Just did a test the 4K download speed was 360mbps while 2nd gen was 130mbps. Loading for apps like kodi and iptv is noticeable over the 2nd gen. Remote with volume and power is a big plus. About to put up my other 2 firesticks for sale and replace with the firestick 4K.
I just have one question for everybody here tonight and that’s
Who want to walk with elias?
Great info,also the reason I love my 2nd gen fire tv,it is stil,the best,only thing better is nvidia shield,at more than double the price
3 years later the Fire TV 2 (box) is still the most powerful device. Good Job Amazon! I understand the smaller cheaper device model but its just pathetic that after all this time there isn’t a hardware reason for me to upgrade to a newer model.
For those upset about not having a true successor the the FTV2 box, I don’t think it is coming anytime soon. At the time that was released, Roku and Amazon may have thought gaming would be a big part of a device like this. Streaming boxes were still fairly new, and companies were not sure how they would be used. But after several years, they have much more data. They now know what percentage of people use ethernet, usb ports, do gaming, etc… I suspect they found the vast majority of people connect over wifi, and do zero gaming. Instead people are looking for audio formats HDR, etc…
Therefore, I think they have start designing devices that can cater to the massing at the lowest possible price point. I had three FTV2 boxes up to about a month or two ago. I found that for the apps I used and the streaming I do, any speed differences with the FTV3 were minimal. Honestly, I didn’t notice any at all. And the newer devices have more video features, like HDR, 60fps, audio formats, etc…
I believe the high end of the market has been left to Nvidia, and I do not see that changing any time soon. Roku and Amazon are catering to the masses with higher volume products.
I have 2x FTV2, a pendant and a cube and I completely agree with your statement. Love the FTV2s and still use one on a 1080p TV but otherwise you get a usb/ethernet hub for the more recent ones and you’re set, plus with many more features. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of this obsession some people (assuming it’s not just a couple of guys signing under different names) have with the FTV2.
I was once in that boat, of FTV2 or die! But when I saw I could sell them for close to $100 each, and buy pendants for $35, I figured I should test the pendant. I saw no real speed differences in my usage. Don’t be swayed by synthetic benchmarks. They are interesting to see, but in day to day usage of moving around the GUI, streaming video, etc. you likely are not going to see much difference at all.
Just my experience but I tried a pendant for a short time and compared it to my fire TV 2,While I was actually getting Slightly higher Internet speed’s on the pendant,It didn’t match the fire TV 2 For quickness downloading shows,Not that the difference was much,And also some videos Were a bit choppy on the pendant,While streaming perfectly on fire TV 2.Right now I’m testing the new 4K stick to see how it will stack up,One thing I do know already is the remote is much better.
But there is no reason that they couldn’t offer a higher end device as an alternative. Some people will pay extra for a more capable device, just as some people buy the Kindle Oasis even though it costs twice as much as the Paperwhite.
I like the FTV2 exactly for it’s gaming capability. I have two young kids and there are enough games for the FTV2 to keep them entertained, and most of them are free or cost a few buck each (digital not-rush credits!). We are not into gaming enough to buy a console and it’s nice to have just one device for streaming and games. Just wish they had put 16GB of ram in there. Even with an SD card I constantly get an out-of memory message and we constantly have to uninstall games if we want to install a new one.
New box… Not going to buy any of these grandma devices with no built in ethernet, no sd, no usb, weak processor, low ra. Give us a FireTV 3 BOX
UPS finally delivered my prepay. At first blush, using Ethernet adapter it is plenty fast and after running updates and using for a while videos resolved fully, immediately, with no noticeable lag. Looking at some of the posts, I might try Wi-Fi, since the adapter is 10/100. I’m getting 90 down on 235 down connection.
The thing that makes this superior, in my opinion, to my ftv2 is the age of the 2. I do think it’s more responsive than the dongle, which means faster than the cube.
I will have to live with it a few days to get a real feel for it. Snap judgments are often wrong.
I have experimented with 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi and dropped the Amazon Ethernet adapter and the connection strength in that location is “very good” and speed test for download is 230 megs. I would not have expected such good numbers. I may decide to return the adapter, though I have to wonder how much of a refund I would get. The thing about Ethernet is reliability and 230 megs is way overkill for streaming video.
I’m sure lots of people disagree, but I love the tiny remote. It is reminiscent of the remote that came with the ftv1 box and I loved that one. It may seem like a small thing, but for me the feel of the remote translates to how I feel about using the device.
I have long felt the FTV remotes are a large part of why FTVs are my main devices. I feel they are far better than other remotes, esp the various Android TV boxes that lack “menu”, ff, rw, etc. buttons. The remote is one thing I really hope Amazon does not tinker with too much, because they have been nearly perfect IMO.
No reason to upgrade, if you have a fire tv 2 box.
The added remote control for your TV at the price of a lower performing device kills the deal… will wait like most of us for a REAL upgrade
Hdr, hdr+, Dolby vision, hlg, atmos, 4k UI, frame rate matching but sure, no upgrade, not at all lol
Funny and true, Ken. Don’t forget an awesome new remote and a device that is not 3 years old, running newer software. I still have a ftv2 box, but I like this stick!
how well does it handle Android emulators (SNES, N64, PS1)?
can this already be able to play 4k HDR movies with Kodi?
Don’t kid yourself, more power to perform means more powert to perform. In a real life scenario, with a number of installed and active apps, the FTV2 will still trump all the other devices. And all that HDR etc., oh well. In case there is a point where Netflix, Amazon Prime Video etc. offer more than HD content + a little 4K content we can re-consider this aspect. But REPLACING a FTV2 would be a weird choice right now. Unless you are one of those super geeks that actually use some service that offers HDR and whatnot. “Normal people” don’t want to pay loads of money on equipment and subscriptions and paid content all the time just to binge a tv show or watch that occasional movie at home, life is more than starring at a view screen.
But the mass of people should stick to their FTV2 for the time being. I know I will.
Has anyone had issues with 60fps videos playing at 30fps on YouTube? Surely it’s powerful enough to handle that? Seen it being pointed out in a review and it had me worried.
Yes, I have experienced that.
Hopefully Amazon are working fix. Is this happening on previous fire TV devices do you know?
Other than maybe the Shield, I find most devices either drop to 4k 30, or 1440p 60 in 4k Youtube. Not sure if it is a bandwidth issue over wifi, or if the SoC has trouble keeping up, or thermal throttling.
It even drops 1080p 60fps videos to 30fps. Makes me thing it’s some sort of bug rather than WiFi or insufficient power. My friend has a fire TV 3 pendant so I’m going to run a few tests on that and see what happens.
I’ve done further testing and I’ve found that smart youtube is the only version that plays 60 fps videos at 60 fps and not 30fps. I also get very little to no dropped frames. The andriod tv version also works perfectly but it doesn’t allow you to sign in unfortunately.
So if the FTV 2 is so powerful, why can’t it handle my 1080p Bluray movies (m2ts files directly backed up from the disc)
For what it’s worth, when running the same streaming programs connected to the same inputs/TVs, my FTV1’s CPUs are noticeably running at lower percentages than the Cube’s. I assume it’s due to the always on Alexa on the Cube (which I have muted and would love to turn off this processing). Maybe it’s not directly related, but I have no issues streaming 1080p on the FTV1, whereas I do have pixelation/frame drops with the Cube particularly with YouTube and HBOGO. How does the 4K stick perform in that regard?
I wonder how does the lesser ram affect programs like Channels or HDHR, which use ram for pausing live tv.
How can it easily be the most powerful streming device in Amazon’s line-up when the FTV2 is faster in all benchmarks?
“Amazon’s current lineup” CURRENT
Not gonna lie a little let down with it only for the fact that my PS Vue has a slight lag compared to when I tried the Apple TV with it. I know it’s much cheaper and Alexa is amazing especially when telling her to tune channels I have an ftv2 as well but just wanted something more comparable.
Will the new Fire TV Stick 4K remote work on the Fire TV Box 2 and visa-versa?
Read the very first post!
Thanks Elias, I was wondering how the 4k stick stacks up to my Fire TV 2, and the other devices. This along with your other heat sink article convinced me go out and buy 2 more of the 4k sticks, already bought 2 for a total of 4. I give them to family with Kodi loaded so they don’t need to waste money on cable or satellite. I already loaded kodi on one stick and I cant tell the difference between my fire TV 2 box, its fast.
“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.”
Except on the Channels app. The Channels app on the 4K Stick is able to use software decoding whereas on the 4K pendant it could not do this due to the weaker CPU. Software decoding is a nice option to have as it can eliminate crashing problems some people have with the app when using hardware decoding.
As usual: very useful, exclusive content. Thanks Elias.
Has anyone been able to update these numbers with the new devices that are out now???
Updated benchmarks with the new 2020 Fire TV Stick models are here: https://www.aftvnews.com/benchmarking-the-new-fire-tv-stick-lite-fire-tv-stick-3-against-every-other-fire-tv-model/