We’ve seen flatscreens with integrated Fire TV smart platforms before - notably from JVC and Toshiba - but this is the first Amazon-branded set to land in the UK. It’s squarely aimed at mainstream buyers who want a faff-free 4K smart TV at a pocket-friendly price, rather than picture quality devotees.
The set offers rudimentary high dynamic range (HDR) provision, specifically HDR10 and HLG, but tempts with four HDMI inputs, so there’s plenty of opportunities for system hook-up.
Whether you’re after a low-cost living room screen, or a second set for the den or bedroom, this 4-Series more than warrants a closer look. And as you would expect, Amazon Alexa voice control support comes as standard. Does that all add up to a worthy purchase?
Amazon Fire TV 4-Series: Price & Availability
Amazon’s 4-Series range are built to shift. The model is available in 43-, 50- and 55-inch screen sizes, priced at £429.99, £499.99, and £549.99 respectively. Our review sample is the 50-inch model.
If you’re shopping from Amazon.com, the US prices for the same models sell for US$462, US$522, and US$572.
That said, expect them to enjoy significant discounts during key promotional periods - Amazon-specific sales, Black Friday and that kind of thing. This 50-inch is already available at a discount, so keep an eye on the pricing.
Amazon Fire 4-Series review: Features & what's new?
The obvious benefit of having the Fire TV platform built-in is that you don’t have to buy a standalone Fire TV Stick to access to Amazon’s streaming ecosystem. More often than not, I’ve lived with smart TVs where the native smart platform simply gets ignored because I’m so used to accessing streaming services via a Fire TV Stick, so the appeal here is obvious.
The additional promise is that this iteration of Fire TV is very much in the front line for development. If there’s some new feature planned, it’ll likely land here first. Obviously, all updates are automatic, so you really don’t need to manage anything.
The TV doesn’t actually have far-field mics built in, but it ships with the new Alexa Voice remote control. Just hold down the mic button and Alexa will pick-up your voice command.
The 4-Series is built around a Freeview Play tuner in the UK, which adds an extra level of streaming depth; all the Freeview Play catch-up players - BBC iPlayer, ITV hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catch Up and Legend - are also available. Top line services include Netflix, Prime Video, Freevee, Britbox, Disney+, Apple TV+, YouTube, and Pluto.
The Fire TV platform also has a dedicated gaming silo, home to Amazon’s cloud-based Luna service. Twitch is integrated, and there’s a choice of subscription game services (Luna+, Jackbox Games and Ubisoft+) as well as free to play casual (dubbed 'couch') games.
The 4-Series can be paired with a dedicated Amazon Luna joypad (£/$59.99) controller, which connects directly to the cloud via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a serious gaming display though. In Game mode, we measured input lag at a woeful 102.5ms (1080/60). The best TVs will better that sevenfold.
Amazon Fire TV 4-Series review: Picture & Sound Quality
While this budget 4K flatscreen can’t be considered a performance screen, it’s not a dud either. The average picture level is pleasingly bright. It's fine for everyday viewing in high ambient light. It also looks pleasingly dynamic in darker rooms.
The set offers a wide number of image presets, although navigating to them is a little more convoluted than you might expect. There’s Standard, Film Bright, Film Dark, Vivid, Sport, Natural, Game, PC and Customised.
Standard is the most obvious choice for most content. It’s where you should head in preference to the default dull Energy Saving mode.
For movie fans, probably of greater importance is the image interpolation setting. This can be found under the Clarity Settings. Choose Natural Cinema to combat the soap opera effect (where movies look too 'real' due to motion), or experiment with the adjustable Action Smoother.
Unfortunately, the various picture settings can only be applied to HDMI and aerial sources. They’re not available when you’re watching apps.
While the set is for all intents and purposes a standard Direct LED backlit model, it does a reasonable job with black levels and shadow detail. Resolution is excellent, with details and texture finely rendered.
I was particularly struck by the set’s colour vibrancy. The opening episode for Rian Johnson’s Poker Face (Sky Max, UHD) has a ribald colour palette by cinematographer Steve Yeldin, that looks exactly like the slightly oversaturated 35mm TV shows of the Seventies (think Columbo via Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery). This 4-Series is more than able to pick-up on this lovely nuance.
Where the screen most obviously betrays its budget processing is colour banding and gradations, which tend to stand out on washes of solid colour.
The screen’s HDR performance befits its price tag. I measured 400 nits using a standard 10 per cent measurement patch.
It would have been nice to see a Dolby Vision implementation here, as it’s a big help with screens that need to rely on tone mapping, like this one. Alas, it lacks.
The screen’s audio performance is a cut above the average (for its class), with a stereophonic downward delivery, that at least has some volume. For living room duties, I would plan to add one of the best soundbars for small TVs. The 4-Series will bitstream Dolby Digital Plus audio out over eARC.
Amazon Fire 4-Series TV review: Design & usability
Cheap and plasticky. There’s no two ways about it. This 50-inch screen is light at 9.53kg, with a shiny fat bezel and two widely spaced plastic feet, that’ll require wide AV furniture to sit on. It looks fine from a distance, with the lights down, and if you squint.
Conversely, we do at least get four HDMI inputs, one of which is eARC-enabled. This is a 60Hz panel, with no real console gaming aspirations, so there’s no VRR support. Therefore 4K 120HZ is a non-starter, but you can't expect that at this price.
There’s also a mini jack AV input, optical digital audio output, two USB ports, and Ethernet to complement Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The Fire TV interface isn’t the most intuitive of smart platforms to navigate. It often feels like there’s just too many clicks required, particularly if you’re trying to reach down into the menus.
Grazing content recommendations is straightforward enough, and having a rail devoted to terrestrial TV channels helps integrate linear telly into the on-demand pick ‘n’ mix.
Amazon Fire 4-Series TV review: Verdict
The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is a solid choice if you’re after an all-in-one streaming solution with Alexa voice-control smarts built in. Its picture performance, once you’ve escaped the Energy Saving Mode, can be considered good enough.
While its peak brightness is limited, average picture brightness is still high, with head-turning colour saturation and excellent detail. It’s fine for bright room viewing, and serves muster for movie nights too.
Less impressive are design and build quality, which are definitely budget. But that's befitting of the asking price really. It’s also a poor screen for serious gaming, with pronounced input lag even in Game mode.
Keep an eye open for promotions would be our suggestion - as when it's even cheaper this panel is worth a 4-star recommendation. We wouldn’t rush to buy one at its day one list price, so a hefty discount could well make one worth snapping up.
The big rival to Fire TV in the streaming space is Roku, which offers a comparable selection of streaming apps via its own HDMI streaming sticks. And like Amazon, you can get an LED TV built around the Roku platform, from TCL. The 50RP620 is a comparably specified model that undercuts the 4-Series on price, yet doesn’t sacrifice specification. It also has four HDMI inputs and a Freeview Play tuner.