The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is yet another competitively-priced TV screen – one that packs in a reasonably popular Fire TV platform, 4K resolution, and some nifty smart features for a sub-£500 price. While the 16W audio won’t win any awards, the convenience of a Voice Remote and a single HDMI 2.1 port for this price may sway you.
- HDMI 2.1 and eARC
- Fire TV apps and smarts
- Voice control remote
- 8W stereo speakers
- Limited brightness control
- Fire TV interface is a little unintuitive
- Fire TV platformIntegration with Fire TV interface
- Alexa Voice RemoteAlexa control via remote
- HDMI eARC for soundbarsCan pass-through Dolby Atmos audio to a compatible soundbar
Cheap TVs are ten-a-penny, but there are a few metrics on which a budget TV screen can stand out. With an RRP of £449.99 for a 43-inch model (reviewed here) and going up to £499 and £549 for 50-inch and 55-inch models respectively, the Fire TV 4-Series is fairly priced for a basic 4K display.
But while this is a budget screen, with a regular LCD panel with largely basic specification, Amazon’s own-brand TV – a more recent development, after several years partnering with other manufacturers to carry its Fire TV platform – has a few interesting features that make it worth considering among similarly-priced models, even if it can’t compete with Amazon’s more advanced Omni QLED displays.
The Fire TV platform is a big attraction – as a widespread OS that works well with the Amazon ecosystem and is found in plenty of other budget screens from the likes of Toshiba and TCL. An HDMI 2.1 port is unlikely at this price point, but there is one nonetheless, and it helps Amazon build an illusion of a high-spec screen – even if the 4-Series is more like a budget car with a couple of targeted improvements to the dashboard.
- Easy assembly
- Limited sizing
- Alexa Voice Remote
The 4-Series Fire TV is a simple affair on the outside. Casing is a simple black plastic, with a 10.9mm bezel, two basic screw-in feet, and an Alexa Voice Remote that takes two AAA batteries (included). It feels a little cheap, as expected, though a comparatively-priced Samsung TV might look better on this front.
The screen comes exclusively in 43-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch sizes – meaning you get neither very compact nor very expansive options. That smallest screen weighs a mere 7.1kg, while the largest model is still relatively easy to lift at just 11.5kg.
The Alexa Voice Remote is a sleek affair, with a substantial keypad, volume and channel controls, and the usual suite of shortcuts to major streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and Freeview Play.
The most prominent button, however, is naturally the blue Alexa input, which enables easy access to voice control for navigating the TV and various playback options; while not quite ‘hands-free’, it is a little more reassuring than an always-on microphone, and Amazon’s voice assistant has become quite capable at throwing you between different apps and titles, even if vague wording can confuse it a little.
- 4K resolution
- No advanced HDR formats
- Fast input lag with game mode
The Amazon 4-Series Fire TV offers a medley of mid-tier specifications – including 4K resolution, HDR10, HLG, and a 60Hz panel. You don’t get any advanced HDR formats such as Dolby Vision.
The TV’s game mode brings down input lag to a speedy 9.8ms – from over 100ms in a standard picture setting – so is well worth using for any games. I took the new Tears of the Kingdom Zelda game for a spin and found the Fire TV aptly handled its vast environments without noticeable judder.
As for connections, you get three HDMI 2.0 ports for plugging in external source devices – with the unexpected addition of a single HDMI 2.1 port, enabling eARC to pass-through high quality audio such as Dolby Atmos to a compatible soundbar.
The Fire TV platform is widespread these days, though its current iteration is a little unintuitive in its layout – most of the screen space on the home page is dedicated to ads and suggested titles, while a small number of app icons cram for space alongside inputs and settings. Fire TV works best for those embedded in the Amazon ecosystem, who can automatically view any of the suggested Prime Video titles it’s pushing to you but may be a bit underwhelming for anyone else.
- Consistent brightness
- Good colour accuracy, some shades of black aside
- Decent picture with a new niggles
Amazon is quite new to offering own-brand televisions, but the 4-Series is a decent step above some of the licensed Fire TVs I’ve seen before.
It helps that the 4-Series has a direct backlight, rather than inconsistent edge lighting; in my tests I found the screen consistently putting out 300-350 nits peak brightness in every picture mode. However, that consistency can be a hindrance at times.
The screen is quite limited when it comes to local dimming – when catching up with Netflix’s Jewish Matchmaking, the bright, sun-soaked scenes of America’s coastal cities would leave the picture a little washed out. The overall impression is quite bright, but the contrast between light and dark areas of the screen is pretty limited.
Nonetheless, this is a capable picture for the price, and the persistent brightness means colours are sufficiently vivid in HDR. When testing for colour accuracy, it was only certain shades of black that the 4-Series struggled with, and there’s a strong palette otherwise. I revisited Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, and found its array of greens and blues fully on show, from creaking nautical equipment to the glistening skin of Doug Jones’ Amphibian Man.
Darker scenes have the usual issue with motion control at this price point, as the screen’s processor struggles to maintain smooth movement in shadowy corners or corridors, though these glimpses of image judder are thankfully limited.
- eARC for two-way soundbar control
- Only 8W stereo speakers
- Variety of sound modes, but be wary
You shouldn’t expect the world when it comes to the audio: the Amazon 4-Series packs in a pair of 8W stereo speakers, which is an aggressively minimum output. (I’d usually expect 20W output for this price.)
Volume isn’t really an issue here – those 16W are capable enough to fill a small room – and I found the audio largely discernible, if a bit muddy at higher volumes. But with cheap TVs, the sound is where corners are most often cut.
That’s where that HDMI 2.1 port comes in. The latest HDMI spec features eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) for lossless audio transfer to a connected soundbar. So you have the tools here to enable a powerful speaker setup, if you have existing audio equipment or the budget for one of the best soundbars.
A variety of sound modes can help you cater that 16W output to your preferences, though be warned that forced presets can mess with intended sound mixing – the ‘enhanced bass’ setting can be good for a house party but might murder the soundtrack to a beloved musical.
Should you buy it?
You want an affordable 4K TV with minor issues: Especially when it’s on sale, the 4-Series can offer a lot of picture capabilities for a decent price, though it’s harder to recommend at the full RRP.
You want a streaming TV, not a Prime Video machine: If you’re not an Amazon Prime subscriber, then navigating the ad-filled Fire TV app can be a bit irritating.
The Amazon 4-Series Fire TV is a stronger proposition than I expected, with capable picture quality and consistent brightness, despite some difficulty when it comes to contrast. The Alexa Voice Remote makes this feel like a distinctly smart TV, too, and the addition of eARC support allows a discerning shopper to override the basic built-in audio with an upgrade of their choosing.
That said, the 4-Series is best bought in one of Amazon’s many sales – this 43-inch model is a steal at £299 but isn’t my first choice at a full £429 RRP.
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Tested for several days
Benchmarked with tests
Tested with real world use
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The Fire TV 4 Series can be mounted to a wall, and supports a VESA support with a size of 300 x 300mm.