The Amazon Fire TV 4 generates quite a buzz in the TV market, often appearing at enticingly low prices. However, beneath the seemingly unbeatable affordability, some compromises are apparent. Having reviewed nearly 30 televisions this year alone, we’re well-versed in what to scrutinize during our assessment. The Amazon Fire TV 4 is available in sizes ranging from 43 to 55 inches, and in our test, we examine the most miniature model, the 4K43N400D.
In terms of design, the Amazon Fire TV 4 embraces a simple aesthetic. It exhibits clean craftsmanship but leans towards a somewhat bulky build, with a depth of around nine centimeters. This television has been offered at meager prices during special promotions, but even at regular rates, it is one of the more budget-friendly options. However, there are telltale signs that the transitions between components may not be as seamless as pricier counterparts, and the plastic used doesn’t exude a premium feel. Despite these considerations, it remains within reasonable limits, especially considering the cost. In this review, we dive deep into the Amazon Fire TV 4 to uncover its strengths and weaknesses, exploring whether it represents the ideal entry-level TV or if its savings come at the expense of performance.
|Available sizes||43″, 50″, 55″|
|HDR support||HDR10, HLG|
|Digital tuner||1 x DVB-S/S2, -C, -T2HD|
|Video inputs||4 x HDMI 2.0, Mini AV In|
|HDMI features||eARC, ALLM, VRR, CEC|
|Other connections||2 x USB, 1 x Ethernet, opt. Digital output, CI+|
|Smart TV||Fire TV OS|
|Dimensions with base||967x614x228mm|
|Dimensions without base||967x567x89mm|
|Weight without stand / with stand||7.1kg / 7.4kg|
|Energy efficiency class||G|
|Average power consumption (SDR / HDR)||52 watts / 85 watts|
Amazon Fire TV 4: A Budget Contender?
The Amazon Fire TV 4 is a budget contender in the television market, offering an enticing blend of affordability and smart features. While it may not boast the high-end specifications and premium build quality of more expensive models, it does present a viable option for those seeking an accessible entry into the world of smart TVs.
Affordable Pricing: One of the standout features of the Amazon Fire TV 4 is its wallet-friendly price tag. With sizes ranging from 43 to 55 inches, it caters to various budget constraints, making it an attractive choice for cost-conscious consumers. The television is often available at discounted rates, particularly during special promotions, further enhancing its affordability.
Smart Integration: The Fire TV platform is a key highlight of this television. Running on Fire TV OS, it seamlessly integrates with the Amazon ecosystem, providing easy access to Prime Video, Amazon Music, and other Amazon services. The Alexa Voice Remote also offers convenient voice control, simplifying navigation and content search. This makes it an ideal choice for those already invested in Amazon’s ecosystem of products and services.
Decent Picture Quality: While not on par with more premium TVs, the Amazon Fire TV 4 delivers respectable picture quality. With 4K resolution and support for HDR10 and HLG formats, it can provide sharp and vibrant visuals, especially for SDR content. It manages consistent brightness levels and offers good color accuracy for its price range.
Gaming Features: Including an HDMI 2.1 port with eARC support makes this TV a decent choice for gamers. It offers a low input lag in game mode, ensuring a responsive gaming experience. The support for Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) further enhances its gaming capabilities, making it suitable for casual gamers.
Sound Quality: The TV’s built-in speakers are serviceable but lack the power and clarity of dedicated audio setups. However, including eARC allows for two-way communication with compatible soundbars, offering the potential for an enhanced audio experience.
User-Friendly Interface: The Fire TV platform is known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy for users to navigate and access their favorite streaming apps. While it does feature ads and recommendations, these can be personalized over time to align with users’ preferences.
Compact Sizing: The Amazon Fire TV 4 has close sizing options, making it suitable for various room sizes and layouts. Including a 43-inch variant offers a smaller footprint for those with limited space.
The Amazon Fire TV 4 is an appealing budget contender, excelling in affordability, smart integration, and gaming features. While it may not deliver the same level of performance and build quality as higher-priced models, it offers a compelling package for those seeking a cost-effective smart TV solution with access to a wide range of streaming content and the convenience of voice control.
Design: Basic but Practical
The Fire TV 4 boasts a straightforward design with a plastic frame and simple screw-in feet. While it might not exude luxury, it’s functional and lightweight. Available in 43, 50, and 55-inch sizes, it neither stands out as compact nor overly spacious. The Alexa Voice Remote included is functional but feels somewhat cheap.
Simple and Functional Design: The Amazon Fire TV 4 features a straightforward and functional design. Its appearance is clean and unassuming, focusing more on practicality than aesthetics. The TV is framed by a relatively thin bezel, measuring approximately 10.9mm, providing a clean and modern look when powered off. While it may not boast the sleek and minimalist design of premium TVs, it still maintains a respectable appearance for its budget-friendly category.
Sturdy Build: Despite its affordability, the Fire TV 4 is built to be sturdy and reliable. It doesn’t feel overly fragile or delicate, which is reassuring for daily use. The TV’s plastic construction is durable enough to withstand typical handling and installation.
Variety of Sizes: The Fire TV 4 has three sizes: 43 inches, 50 inches, and 55 inches. This variety allows consumers to choose the size that best fits their viewing environment and preferences. The smaller 43-inch model suits compact spaces, making it versatile for different room sizes and layouts.
Alexa Voice Remote: The included Alexa Voice Remote complements the TV’s design with its sleek and compact form. It features a comfortable grip and well-arranged buttons for easy navigation. The prominent blue Alexa button stands out, enabling users to access voice control quickly.
Wall Mounting Capability: While the TV is not exceptionally thin, with a depth of approximately nine centimeters, it is still wall-mountable. This provides flexibility in choosing the TV’s placement, whether on a stand or mounted on the wall.
Integration of Ports: The TV features a selection of ports for connectivity, including three HDMI 2.0 ports, two USB ports, an Ethernet socket, an optical digital output, and a CI+ slot. It includes an HDMI 2.1 port, which supports eARC for high-quality audio transmission to compatible soundbars. This thoughtful inclusion enhances the TV’s audio capabilities.
The Amazon Fire TV 4 adopts a simple, functional design that prioritizes practicality and versatility. It may not have the premium aesthetics of high-end models, but it offers a sturdy build, a variety of size options, and convenient features like the Alexa Voice Remote. The inclusion of wall-mounting capability and an HDMI 2.1 port further enhance its flexibility and connectivity options, catering to the needs of budget-conscious consumers.
Features: Budget-Friendly Specs
With 4K resolution and support for HDR10 and HLG (without advanced formats like Dolby Vision), the Fire TV 4 offers respectable but not exceptional specs. Game mode significantly reduces input lag, making it suitable for gaming. It provides three HDMI 2.0 ports and a surprising HDMI 2.1 port with eARC, catering to audiophiles and gamers alike.
1. 4K Resolution: The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series offers a 4K Ultra HD resolution, delivering sharp, detailed visuals. This feature ensures you can enjoy content with excellent clarity and crispness, particularly when viewing 4K-compatible movies and TV shows.
2. HDR Support: While it supports HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), the TV does not include advanced HDR formats like Dolby Vision. HDR (High Dynamic Range) enhances the contrast and color range of content, resulting in more vibrant and lifelike images, even in challenging lighting conditions.
3. Game Mode: The TV includes a Game Mode that significantly reduces input lag, providing a more responsive gaming experience. With an input lag of just 9.8 milliseconds, gamers can enjoy smoother gameplay and reduced latency.
4. HDMI 2.1 Port: One standout feature is including an HDMI 2.1 port. This port supports eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel), transmitting high-quality audio, such as Dolby Atmos, to compatible soundbars and audio systems. It supports ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) for improved gaming performance.
5. Fire TV Platform: The TV runs on the Fire TV platform, providing easy access to a wide range of streaming services and apps. It’s well-integrated with the Amazon ecosystem, making it a seamless choice for Amazon Prime members. The Alexa Voice Remote allows users to navigate content, search for information, and control smart home devices using voice commands.
Usability and Functionality:
1. User-Friendly Interface: The Fire TV platform offers a user-friendly interface that’s intuitive to navigate. Menus are well-structured and straightforward, making finding and accessing your favorite apps and content easy.
2. Wide App Selection: The TV provides access to various apps and streaming services, including popular options like Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and Freeview Play. It caters to a broad range of entertainment preferences.
3. Voice Control: With the Alexa Voice Remote, users can control the TV and search for content using voice commands. While it’s not entirely hands-free, it offers convenient voice control capabilities.
4. Home Page Customization: Users can customize the home page, arranging content and apps according to their preferences. However, it’s worth noting that the home page may include advertisements and suggestions for Prime Video content.
5. Sound Modes: The TV offers various sound modes that allow users to adjust audio settings to their liking. These modes can enhance the audio experience, though some presets may not suit all types of content.
6. Wall Mounting: Despite its depth, the TV is wall-mountable, providing flexibility in placement. Users can choose the setup that best suits their space, whether on a stand or mounted on the wall.
7. Remote Control: The Alexa Voice Remote features a comfortable design with well-placed buttons. Quick access buttons for popular streaming services make it convenient to launch content.
In summary, the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series offers a range of features that enhance its usability and functionality. It caters to entertainment and gaming needs with 4K resolution, HDR support, a responsive Game Mode, and an HDMI 2.1 port for audio enhancements. The Fire TV platform provides easy access to streaming services, and the Alexa Voice Remote simplifies navigation and control. While some trade-offs are expected in a budget TV, it provides a well-rounded and user-friendly experience for its price range.
Picture Quality: Brightness and Color
The Fire TV 4 maintains consistent brightness levels of around 300-350 nits in different picture modes, a perk over edge-lit displays. However, local dimming is limited, affecting contrast in scenes with stark brightness differences. Colors are vivid in HDR, and while the color accuracy is generally good, it may struggle with certain shades of black.
The picture quality of the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is a key factor in determining its overall performance. While it’s a budget-friendly TV, it offers several noteworthy aspects in terms of visuals:
1. Consistent Brightness: The TV employs a direct backlighting system rather than inconsistent edge lighting. This approach ensures that the screen maintains a consistent brightness across various content, resulting in a more reliable viewing experience. The TV consistently produces around 300-350 nits of peak brightness throughout different picture modes, making content appear bright and clear.
2. HDR Support: While it lacks support for advanced HDR formats like Dolby Vision, the TV does offer compatibility with HDR10 and HLG. These formats enhance the contrast and color range, allowing for more vivid and realistic images. While it may not achieve the peak brightness levels of high-end HDR displays, it still provides an improved viewing experience, particularly when watching HDR content.
3. Color Accuracy: The TV performs quite well regarding color accuracy. It accurately reproduces various colors, delivering natural and vibrant hues. The color accuracy is impressive for a budget TV, ensuring the content appears true to life and visually appealing.
4. Handling of Dark Scenes: Like many budget TVs, the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series may encounter challenges when handling dark scenes with fast motion. This can result in occasional judder or less smooth movement in dark areas of the screen. However, these issues are relatively common in this price range.
During video testing, the TV’s capabilities become evident, particularly when evaluating its performance with different types of content:
1. Bright and Dark Scenes: The TV displays bright scenes, offering clarity and sharpness, especially when viewing content in SDR (Standard Dynamic Range). However, dark scenes may reveal limitations in maintaining smooth motion and contrast, but these issues are not uncommon in budget displays.
2. HDR Content: When watching HDR content, the TV effectively showcases improved contrast and a wider color range. While it doesn’t achieve the peak brightness levels of premium HDR displays, it still enhances the viewing experience, especially when viewing content with HDR10 or HLG support.
3. Color Accuracy: The TV’s color accuracy is a standout feature, accurately reproducing colors across the spectrum. This accuracy contributes to a visually pleasing and true-to-life representation of content.
4. Motion Handling: While there can be occasional judder in dark scenes, the TV’s Game Mode significantly reduces input lag, making it a suitable choice for gamers. With an input lag of just 9.8 milliseconds, gamers can enjoy smoother gameplay and minimal latency.
5. Viewing Angles: It’s important to note that the TV’s viewing angles are not particularly wide. Deviating from a central viewing position can result in distorted images, making it essential to sit centrally for the best viewing experience.
The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series offers commendable picture quality within its budget-friendly category. Its consistent brightness, color accuracy, and HDR support enhance the viewing experience. While it may exhibit limitations in handling dark scenes, especially in motion, its performance with brighter content and color accuracy make it a competitive option for those seeking an affordable TV with respectable visual capabilities.
The picture quality of the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series varies depending on the content type and the display technology used. Let’s break down its performance in different scenarios:
- HDR (High Dynamic Range):
- HDR10 and HLG Support: The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series supports HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) HDR formats. While these formats provide improved contrast and color compared to SDR (Standard Dynamic Range), they are considered basic HDR formats.
- Limited Peak Brightness: One limitation of the TV is its limited peak brightness, measuring around 300-350 nits. This is relatively low for HDR content and may not deliver the full impact of brighter highlights in HDR scenes.
- Color Accuracy: Despite its budget, the TV manages decent color accuracy in HDR. It can reproduce various colors effectively, providing a more vibrant HDR experience than SDR.
- SDR (Standard Dynamic Range):
- Consistent Brightness: In SDR content, the TV performs well in brightness consistency. It maintains a stable brightness level across various scenes, contributing to a balanced picture.
- Contrast: The TV offers reasonable contrast in SDR content, with deep blacks and bright whites. While it may not compete with high-end displays, it delivers an acceptable viewing experience for the price.
- Color Accuracy: The 4-Series generally provides good color accuracy in SDR, ensuring that colors appear natural and well-saturated.
- Motion Handling:
- Motion Control: The TV’s processor may struggle with motion control in dark scenes, leading to occasional judder or motion artifacts. This limitation could affect the viewing experience, particularly in fast-paced action sequences.
- Local Dimming:
- Limited Local Dimming: The TV’s local dimming capabilities are limited, and it may struggle to deliver the deep blacks and precise contrast adjustments found in more advanced displays with full-array local dimming.
- Standard Upscaling: The TV’s upscaling of lower-resolution content, such as 720p or 1080p, is standard for its price range. While it may not deliver the same level of detail as higher-end upscaling engines, it provides acceptable results.
The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series offers a serviceable picture quality given its budget-friendly nature. It excels in consistent SDR performance, with good color accuracy and contrast. However, its HDR capabilities are somewhat limited due to lower peak brightness, making it better suited for SDR content. While it may not compete with premium displays, it provides a reasonable viewing experience for those seeking an affordable 4K smart TV with streaming capabilities.
Sound Quality: Modest Audio
Equipped with 8W stereo speakers, the Fire TV 4’s audio output is minimal. While sufficient for small rooms, it lacks depth and clarity at higher volumes. The presence of eARC enables connectivity to external soundbars for an improved audio experience.
The sound quality of the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is an essential aspect of the overall TV experience. While it is a budget-friendly TV, it comes equipped with some sound features and considerations:
1. Speaker Configuration: The TV features 8-watt stereo speakers. While this configuration is fairly standard for budget TVs, it does have limitations in delivering immersive and high-quality audio.
2. Volume and Clarity: The TV’s speakers can produce sufficient volume to adequately fill a small room. The audio is generally discernible when watching content at moderate volume levels, and the dialogues are clear. However, when pushed to higher volumes, the sound can become slightly muddy, lacking detail and dynamic range.
3. Limitations of Built-in Speakers: Like many budget TVs, the built-in speakers have limitations. They may not provide the depth and richness of audio that more advanced sound systems or soundbars can offer. This limitation can be particularly noticeable regarding bass response, as the TV’s speakers may not reproduce deep bass frequencies effectively.
4. Sound Modes: The TV offers various sound modes that allow users to adjust audio settings based on their preferences. These modes include “enhanced bass” and “film mode.” However, it’s important to note that some of these presets may alter the intended sound mixing of content, potentially affecting the overall audio quality.
5. eARC Support: An HDMI 2.1 port with eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) support is a notable feature. This feature allows the transmission of high-quality audio, including formats like Dolby Atmos, to a compatible soundbar or audio system. It provides an opportunity to enhance the audio experience significantly if users invest in external audio equipment.
During a sound test, the TV’s audio performance is evaluated, taking into account various factors:
1. Volume and Clarity: The TV’s speakers can deliver sufficient volume for typical home viewing scenarios. Dialogues and audio cues are generally clear and intelligible at moderate volume levels.
2. Bass and Depth: Due to the limitations of the built-in speakers, the TV may struggle to reproduce deep bass frequencies effectively. This can result in a lack of impactful low-end response, particularly noticeable in content that relies on bass-heavy soundtracks.
3. Sound Modes: The available sound modes offer flexibility in tailoring the audio experience to personal preferences. However, users should exercise caution when using certain modes, as they may alter the intended audio balance of content.
4. eARC Potential: An HDMI 2.1 port with eARC support is a notable feature for users interested in elevating their audio experience. Connecting a compatible soundbar or audio system makes it possible to enjoy high-quality, immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos.
5. External Audio Consideration: For those seeking a more immersive and powerful audio experience, investing in external audio equipment, such as a soundbar or home theater system, is recommended. This allows users to overcome the inherent limitations of built-in TV speakers and enjoy enhanced audio fidelity.
In summary, while the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series provides audio suitable for regular viewing, it has inherent limitations regarding bass response and overall audio richness. Users looking for a more immersive audio experience, especially for content with dynamic soundtracks, may benefit from investing in external audio solutions with eARC support to unlock the TV’s full audio potential.
User Experience: Familiar Fire TV
Running on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the user interface may feel cluttered due to ads and suggested content dominating the homepage. It’s most suitable for Amazon ecosystem users. The Alexa Voice Remote, although functional, is not particularly impressive.
The user experience with the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is crucial to its overall performance and value. This includes how the TV operates, the user interface, remote control, and the integration of Amazon’s Fire TV platform:
1. Fire TV Platform: The Amazon Fire TV platform is a central element of the user experience. It offers a wide range of streaming apps and services, making accessing their favorite content easy. This platform is known for its user-friendly interface and robust app ecosystem, supporting popular streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and more.
2. Home Screen: The TV’s home screen typically features a mix of content recommendations, including movies, TV shows, and apps. While this can be convenient for discovering new content, it’s important to note that Amazon promotes its content prominently, which may not appeal to everyone.
3. Voice Control: The included Alexa Voice Remote allows for convenient voice control of the TV. Users can use voice commands to search for content, navigate menus, and even control smart home devices. The integration of Alexa voice control can be a significant advantage for users who are part of the Amazon ecosystem.
4. Ease of Setup: Setting up the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is generally straightforward. It guides users through the initial setup process, including connecting to Wi-Fi and signing in to their Amazon account. Users with existing Amazon devices can transfer settings from their previous devices for convenience.
5. App Selection: The TV provides access to a wide selection of apps through the Amazon App Store. Users can easily install and organize apps based on their preferences. The availability of numerous streaming apps ensures that users can enjoy diverse content, from movies and TV series to music and games.
6. User Interface: The user interface of the Fire TV platform is intuitive and user-friendly. Menus are well-structured, and users can easily navigate settings and content libraries. However, some users may find the presence of ads and promotional content on the home screen a drawback.
7. Customization: Users can customize their TV’s settings and home screen layout. They can arrange apps, select preferred picture and audio settings, and set up parental controls for a family-friendly viewing experience.
8. Performance: The TV’s overall performance, including menu responsiveness and app loading times, is satisfactory for its price range. However, it may not match the speed and fluidity of higher-end TVs.
9. Remote Control: The included Alexa Voice Remote is a practical tool for controlling the TV. It offers dedicated buttons for popular streaming services, simplifying the app’s launch process. Voice commands are particularly useful for quickly finding content or adjusting settings.
10. Advertising: One aspect that some users may find less appealing is the presence of advertising on the home screen. Amazon promotes its content and products, which can be distracting for those who prefer an ad-free experience.
The user experience with the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is generally positive, thanks to its user-friendly interface, robust app selection, and voice control capabilities. However, users should be prepared for promotional content and advertisements on the home screen. It offers a convenient and accessible way to access various streaming content and services.
Conclusion: Budget-Friendly with Some Compromises
In conclusion, the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is a compelling budget contender in affordable televisions. Its competitive pricing and a range of features offer users an accessible entry point into the world of 4K streaming and smart TV capabilities. Including Amazon’s Fire TV platform ensures a seamless and user-friendly streaming experience, with access to a wide array of popular apps and services. Additionally, the integration of Alexa voice control adds a layer of convenience for users who are part of the Amazon ecosystem.
While the picture and sound quality may not reach the heights of more premium televisions, the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series delivers respectable performance within its price range. It’s important to manage expectations, especially regarding HDR content and sound output. However, for users seeking an affordable and feature-rich smart TV that can handle their streaming needs, the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is a budget-friendly choice with a user experience catering to newcomers and Amazon enthusiasts.
Buying/ Not Buying Amazon Fire TV
You should consider buying the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series for an affordable and user-friendly smart TV with 4K capabilities. Here are some reasons to buy:
- Competitive Pricing: The Fire TV 4-Series offers a budget-friendly option for those looking to upgrade to a 4K TV without breaking the bank.
- Fire TV Platform: With the Fire TV platform, you can access a wide range of streaming apps and services, making it easy to enjoy your favorite shows and movies.
- Alexa Integration: Including Alexa voice control allows for convenient navigation and search, especially if you’re already part of the Amazon ecosystem.
- HDMI 2.1 Port: An HDMI 2.1 port, including eARC support, makes it suitable for connecting to soundbars and other audio equipment.
However, there are some reasons you might want to consider alternatives:
- Limited HDR Support: The TV supports basic HDR formats like HDR10 and HLG but lacks support for advanced formats like Dolby Vision, which could limit your HDR viewing experience.
- Audio Quality: The built-in stereo speakers offer minimal output so that you may need external audio equipment for a better sound experience.
- Picture Quality: While it delivers decent picture quality for its price, it may not match the performance of more expensive TVs, especially in contrast and brightness.
- Ads and Recommendations: The Fire TV platform prominently displays ads and recommendations, which could distract some users.
The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is an attractive choice for budget-conscious consumers who prioritize streaming capabilities and smart TV features. However, if you’re seeking top-notch picture and sound quality or advanced HDR support, you may want to explore higher-end TV options.