Truth be told, there are a lot of similarities between streaming devices, especially if you’ve narrowed your options down to the Roku Stick 4K+ and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. They both support the same core streaming services, offer 4K streaming and come with voice-enabled remotes.
Where the real differences are, however, comes down to the finer details — like the fact that Roku’s player has a rechargeable remote or that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max can tap into Alexa. Wondering which option is the best streaming stick? Here’s how the Roku Stick 4K+ and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max stack up.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ versus Fire TV Stick 4K Max at a glance
|Streaming quality||4K, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision||4K, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos|
|Smart home support||Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay and HomeKit||Alexa|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac dual-band MIMO||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6|
|Cloud gaming||None||Yes (Amazon Luna)|
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is slightly cheaper
Besides the fact that Amazon normally prices its products competitively, the price difference may also be due to the remote that comes with the Roku Stick 4K+. It has a rechargeable battery that will eliminate the need to always have AAA batteries on hand (not to mention it reduces electronic waste, as well).
If you’re patient and shop around for a deal, you can find either device at a lower price – especially the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, as Amazon is fond of offering random discounts on its own products. Outside of the remote differences, you’re getting a streaming stick, power adapter and a power cable in both boxes.
TL;DR: If you’re looking to save some money, then the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the way to go.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max has the benefit of Alexa
A key feature of any worthwhile streaming device is the ability to search for a show or open a specific app using just your voice. Both Roku and Fire TV streaming devices offer some form of voice search, depending on which remote comes in the box.
For the Roku Stick 4K+, you get the company’s best remote, the Roku Voice Remote Pro. It features a rechargeable battery, a lost remote finder option, private listening and, as its name implies, the ability to use your voice with the remote to search for your next favorite show.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max comes with Amazon’s best remote for its streaming portfolio with the third-generation Alexa Voice Remote included in the box. It’s powered by two AAA batteries and lacks any sort of remote finder feature or private listening option. But what it does have over the Roku remote is Alexa. Alexa is perhaps the most well-known voice assistant, and it’s built right into the remote that you’ll use to control the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and your TV.
Not only can you use the assistant to pull up specific shows and movies, but you can also ask Alexa to control your smart home devices, pull up weather reports or view your Alexa-compatible security cameras.
TL;DR: Get the Fire TV Stick 4K Max if you want a remote with Alexa; go with the Roku Stick 4K+ if you want one with a rechargeable battery.
Streaming services and picture quality are pretty much the same
When you compare the supported streaming services and picture quality of both devices, you’re not going to find many differences. Both streaming sticks support 4K, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, so all of your favorite content will look great on either. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max has a slight edge due to its support of Dolby Atmos audio, but that all depends on how much you care about audio quality and whether you have the necessary equipment to take full advantage of it.
As far as streaming services, both devices offer the same core of services. At one point in time, there was a huge gap between the two devices due to the lack of HBO Max on Roku, and even before that, the lack of YouTube on Fire TV devices was a sore spot. The companies have settled their differences with the respective streaming services, however, and you’ll see a lot of parity between the two. Services like HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Peacock and Apple TV are all available on both devices, to name a few.
That said, if you’re a gamer or have someone in the family who is, you’ll want to take a long look at the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and its support of Amazon’s cloud gaming platform, Amazon Luna. When you sign up for one of Luna’s subscription tiers, you gain access to various games — including big-name titles such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Metro Exodus. Using Luna is an impressive experience, as you’ll be able to stream high-quality games to the Fire TV Stick 4K Max without the need for an expensive console — and with fairly minimal latency. However, it’s worth noting that Luna isn’t limited to the Fire TV platform, as you can use the service on your computer or smartphone.
TL;DR: The Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Roku Stick 4K+ have the same streaming quality and basic streaming services, but the Fire TV Stick has the added benefit of cloud gaming via Amazon Luna.
Have a Wi-Fi 6 home network?
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max supports Wi-Fi 6. When connected to a compatible network, you’ll see more reliable connections and faster speeds. But that’s the catch — you’ll need to have a Wi-Fi 6 network at your house in order to take full advantage of this feature.
We’ve reviewed several Wi-Fi 6 mesh setups, with the Amazon-owned Eero coming out on top in our tests.
That said, the Wi-Fi performance of the Roku Stick 4K+ isn’t going to be horrible. It supports the more common 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds, with MIMO support for more reliable connections and throughput.
The benefit of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and its support of Wi-Fi 6 is that it’s a way of future-proofing your investment. And if you already have a Wi-Fi 6 network, it’s a device that’s able to take full advantage of the money you’ve already invested in your home’s connectivity.
TL;DR: Get the Fire TV Stick 4K Max if you have a Wi-Fi 6 system or plan on upgrading to one.
Roku offers a wider range of smart home platform support
All of Amazon’s streaming devices support Alexa, the company’s virtual personal assistant and the broader smart home platform that Alexa enables. Roku’s Streaming Stick 4K+ shares in that same support of Alexa, but additionally, Roku also supports Google Assistant and Apple’s AirPlay 2.0 and HomeKit smart home platforms.
That means regardless of which platform you use to automate items around your home, Roku can be integrated alongside it. For example, you can use Siri to turn your TV on or off, or ask Siri to open a specific show on your TV — even though it’s not an Apple TV.
Meanwhile, the only way you’ll be able to use voice commands to turn the Fire TV Stick 4K Max on or off, or control playback, is if you have Alexa-enabled devices around your home. It’s nice having Alexa on the Fire TV Stick 4K Max’s remote, but Amazon’s stick is also limited to just one smart home platform.
TL;DR: The Roku Stick 4K+ supports Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay and HomeKit smart home platforms. The Fire TV Stick only supports Alexa.
There are a lot of similarities between these two streaming sticks. They have largely the same design, and offer the same streaming experience — albeit with a different interface for each one.
That said, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is most likely the streaming stick you’ll want if you’re heavily invested in Dolby Atmos sound equipment or have an Alexa-integrated smart home. And with Wi-Fi 6 support, your streaming experience will benefit from more future-proofed connectivity. It’s also $15 cheaper than Roku’s offering.
However, the Roku Stick 4K+ offers support for a wider range of smart home ecosystems, and has a remote that offers a few extra features over the Fire Stick’s offering, such as the lost remote finder and a rechargeable battery.