Of all the Amazon Fire TV Sticks I’ve used, this is what I’d…

2023, 2nd generation Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
Phil Nickinson/

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of using almost every Amazon Fire TV Stick that has existed. Well, there is only one that I would tell my friends and family to get as a Black Friday deal. (And you can count yourself among that esteemed group!)

And that would be the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The most recent was released in September 2023. This isn’t the cheapest Fire TV Stick. But given that it’s the best one – and is currently on sale at around one-third of its usual price – it’s absolutely the perfect thing to get this Black Friday.

Don’t you want to take my word for it? Need more justification? Good.

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First things first: As the newest Fire TV Stick, it has the very latest hardware and software. And that means it will be kept updated and in service longer than others. That’s how things work.

Then there’s the fact that this new Fire TV Stick 4K Max has features that other Fire TV Sticks don’t have. We’re not just talking about 4K resolution, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. (Although they do exist in this one.) The particularly big thing we care about: This is the only device (short of buying an entire television) that has access to the Fire TV Ambient Experience.

Ambient Experience is a kind of souped-up screensaver. Amazon has tons of excellent images, graphics, and videos that basically turn your TV into a piece of living room art. And if you don’t like any of the many options Amazon offers (but I’m sure you will), you can use your own photos through Amazon Photos.

Part of the Fire TV Ambient Experience is a series of widgets that expand your Amazon, uh, experience even more. They stay on the screen and can suggest things to watch or listen to. Or they can help you keep track of your Amazon purchases. They’re quite useful – and, yet, not something you can currently get on other Fire TV Sticks.

Look, we got this. This isn’t the cheapest Fire TV Stick. (Although its retail price is still above $60.) But this is the best. And at its Black Friday price, it’s basically a no-brainer when you remember how much you’re getting. All Apps. All material. All Alexa.

And all ambient experiences.

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