Chromecast Ultra Review and Review by Editor: Alternatives and Verdict

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The Google Chromecast makes the leap from 1080p to 4K HDR!

OUR VERDICT: There is (almost) no rebuttal: Chromecast Ultra offers one of the best value for 4K TV owners. There are not as many benefits for the 1080p audience, but if you’re looking for powerful, fast streaming in a slice-sized device for your brand new UHD TV, there’s no better place to find it with Chromecast Ultra.

FOR
Cheap, Effective 4K and HDR Streaming
Built-in Ethernet Adapter
Google Home Integration AGAINST
No Native Amazon Video Support
No remote control
It ‘Chromecast Ultra is Google’s hard drive for HDR 4K enthusiasts: a silicon wafer-sized streaming device that can receive the HDR 4K signal from any mobile device currently on your network.

Similar to Google’s previous streaming dongles as a small device with great potential, so what makes this Chromecast so special?

Chromecast Ultra earns this extra tag not only because it adds 4K playback and HDR video – it also has an improved Ethernet port and internal components, so videos load more Quickly and less sensitive to lag.

These features help Google’s latest Chromecast streamer feel more premium than its predecessor, without offering a major change in form factor or available content.

The key feature that continues to make Chromecast Ultra (and other Chromecast-enabled devices) so popular is simply their ability to “cast” content – to take a link from your phone, tablet , laptop or smart speaker and charge it to your TV.

You can simply stream YouTube videos or Spotify playlists, or you can go further with security camera streams and games, and connect Chromecast Ultra to Google Home and Google Assistant (so you can view photos, weather, and more).

Chromecast Ultra deserves its “ultra” status, but first we’ll talk about two flaws: the lack of a remote control, and the lack of a standard user interface.

not having a spot on TV to find new videos can frustrate those who are used to flipping through television channels, and if you are new to casting, it can be difficult to get to grips with the interaction of the phone, computer portable or tablet and television.

This makes the Chromecast Ultra more suitable for people who are comfortable with the technology of controlling the big screen with a smaller phone or tablet – which have not not necessarily need this great user interface for surface content. Purchasing it as a gift for someone who does not know his Google Cast of their Bluetooth might not go so well.

Now that we’ve put that aside, let’s dive into what makes the last Chromecast Ultra the best Chromecast for owners of 4K HDR.

Chromecast Ultra: design
Washer shape similar to that of the original Chromecast washer
Adds an Ethernet port to the power cable
Only available in one color
The Chromecast Ultra does not change too much design over its immediate predecessor – it has more or less the same bag-shaped shape as the previous Chromecast. This is a very good thing: the previous one remains one of the most elegant and minimal streaming devices on the planet.

One HDMI cable comes out of one end of the drive while the other hosts a microUSB port used for charging – this charging cable, by the way, should now be plugged into a wall outlet via the supplied adapter, and can no longer be charged through a USB port on your TV.

By sight only, you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish the differences between 2nd generation Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra.

From a circumference point of view, the Ultra is just a hair bigger than the 2015 Chromecast – it now measures 2.29 inches (58mm) rather than 2.05 inches (52mm). It’s not a big difference, and the Ultra is still hidden behind the TV with relative ease.

A minor change is that Chromecast Ultra only exists in one color, black , unlike the standard Chromecast that you can get in fun shades like coral and lemonade.

Certainly, few people will likely cry the passage of these color options – the dongle is hiding behind the television after all – but it was nice to have a choice.

Another modification made by Google’s designers with Chromecast Ultra was to introduce an Ethernet port on the charging cable that plugs into the wall . If you have a router close enough, it will allow faster and more consistent streams over a wired connection (although 4K is still possible with Wi-Fi).

Finally – and now we are really details – instead of a Chrome logo engraved on the top, you will find a simple G. Google obviously wants to put the Chromecast more online with other products like Google Home, and minimize the link with the browser Chrome.

Beyond these four alterations, everything else is exactly as you remember on the Chromecast Ultra. There is the 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz) coiled inside the case for high performance streaming, and the reset button along the outer rim to restart the system if it is

Chromecast Ultra: interface
There is not really one
But the installation is quick and easy
You will need to use the Google Home app

Once you have plugged the included five-foot power cable into a wall outlet with the supplied adapter (and optionally connected the Ethernet cable ), it’s time for a quick and easy installation of the new Chromecast Ultra.

The process takes five minutes, most of which is spent downloading the Google Home app from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store and give the Ultra a min ute to download the latest firmware.

You will be asked to connect the Chromecast Ultra to your home wireless network (unless you are using a wired connection, of course) and you will finally be greeted with a brief configuration screen. You’re up and running.

When you are not actively streaming something on Chromecast Ultra, it switches to screen saver mode displaying images from Google Photos, Facebook, Flickr, commissioners, the weather and even the headlines of major news sources.

Unlike Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick, there is no central hub for applications that you can browse on the TV itself. Chromecast Ultra takes the contents of your phone, tablet or PC, or just displays pretty pictures until told to do otherwise.

That said, the Google Home app serves as a point to check which content is available for streaming, and which apps you have already installed that work with your new streaming dongle.

One of the key things to do regarding content is that each application that works with previous Chromecasts also works with Chromecast Ultra (and vice versa). The Chromecast Ultra does not really do what the originals do not do – it just does it faster and (sometimes) at a higher resolution.

But that’s not because the Chromecast Ultra inherits from its content library of its predecessors you will not find anything to watch. Chromecast Ultra supports Netflix, HBO Now, Spotify, NFL Sunday Ticket and Twitch here in the US to name a few, as well as Sainsbury’s Movies and TV, Blinkbox, BT Sports, NowTV, Napster and of course BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport in the UK. But it’s only the tip of an ever-expanding iceberg.

The only missing app in Chromecast’s arsenal is Amazon Prime Video, which the company has reserved for its own line of streaming products , the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. You’ll be able to stream Amazon’s video service from a PC or Mac (we’ll be back soon), but the lack of a native app means that some people are looking exclusively at Amazon’s service might have the impression of not having their place with Google’s streamer.

Chromecast Ultra Review

Although you will not find a single place to find apps and content on the TV itself, you can always check the Google Home app on iOS and Android. This has absorbed the old Chromecast app and is the perfect place to find TV, movie and music apps to download and install for your Chromecast Ultra.

The Google app promises a universal search feature that , as with Roku or Android TV, lets you either type or say the name of a movie and a TV show and pull out a list of each source for that content.

This may ultimately save you money by showing you content about the services you already pay for, instead of getting you into each app individually or accidentally depositing money on something you’ve already paid on another platform

But how, exactly, take the contents of your mobile device and send it to your streaming dongle? You can still expect a vital feature to be part of all Chromecast by the end of time: this button Cast familiar

" " Chromecast Ultra: the Cast button

You’ll need it to do almost anything you want.
You can also start from a PC or Mac.
The Cast button is the rectangle with broadcast bars (it looks like the Wi-Fi symbol) in the corner of most mobile apps. Whenever you want to take the contents of your phone or tablet and send it to the big screen, press the button and select your Chromecast from the drop-down list.

When you press the Cast button, the Chromecast Ultra takes the location of the video’s URL and reads it on your TV, leaving you free to browse the web, view your email, and use the data without affecting the performance of the content on the device. screen. You can also pause and stop playback, of course.

But that’s not the only trick Google has taught to its dinky banner. It’s also interesting to play fast, a kind of prediction algorithm in the Chromecast app that determines what you can watch next based on your previous choices. The function then begins pre-buffering the video before casting, eliminating the loading time before each video. If you are browsing Netflix, for example, it can preload the first few seconds of the show you have been bitching all week.

All applications aside, the real beauty of the device is that it is not strictly limited to your phone or tablet. Install Google Chrome on any PC or Mac, and you can send any web page to the streaming dongle. The quality of the video using the Chrome browser on Netflix is ​​better than average, and for the most part seemed pretty good, minus one or two times it needed to stop and buffer.

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LFG? Do not Watch Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast Ultra is not exactly great for gamers.
However, while Google has certainly found a way to make Chromecast Ultra an attractive destination for fans of video, he did not find how to adopt the game in the same way as his competitors: The Chromecast games are few and far between, and generally have the impression of being furs developed by Third Party Developers.

If you are looking for a casual gaming experience like the one you find on your phone, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV offers that in the pikes. Fans of heavy games should also consider the Nvidia Shield console for its on-demand streaming service, GeForce Now.

Chromecast Ultra? Not that much. It’s a painful point, but one that we can forgive in the end, thanks to Google who did so much else directly on the product.

How Chromecast Ultra Behaves it in the living room? We’re glad you asked …

Chromecast Ultra: Performance
Load-bearing performance loading content
Not falling, especially when connected to your router
Works Well with Google Home
Overall, the performance of the Chromecast Ultra is excellent, especially when compared to the Chromecast that preceded it.

1080p videos load in one wink and rarely crash into apps like Netflix and YouTube, while songs change with less airflow using Deezer, Pandora and Spotify. Not to mention the fact that Chromecast Ultra is probably the cheapest – and probably the best – way to watch 4K content.

Let’s start with 1080p performance

If you’re using an HD display, you can expect slightly faster loading times and a little less buffer than if you were using the older 2nd generation Chromecast version. Chromecast Ultra is by no means designed for high-end content, so there is no real benefit to buying one if you own a 1080p TV, except for the slightly better interior quality.

To test, we watched shows like Parts Unknown by Anthony Bourdain on Netflix and a dozen YouTube videos, none of which suffered from buffer issues for more than a few seconds. There was a little mishap once we could not change the video on Chromecast Ultra despite closing and reopening the YouTube app, but there is no evidence to suggest that it will be a common problem that everyone will meet.

The biggest attraction of the latest version of Chromecast from Google, however, is the 4K and HDR feature, two features you’ll miss if you’re stuck with a 1080p screen.

What makes the Chromecast Ultra a better buy than, say, the Roku Premiere + which also handles HDR and 4K, is that the Ultra Ultra makes both versions of HDR – HDR10 and Dolby Vision. With the arrival of more and more HDR content, you know you’ll still be covered for a few years.

In terms of HDR 4K content, you can choose from several different services, including Netflix, Google Play Movies and TV, Vudu (which also supports Dolby Vision), YouTube, UltraFlix and FandangoNow.

There are a few caveats that accompany each service – Netflix subscribers will need to increase their account to the highest level to access 4K content, for example – but it’s good to have so many options to choose from the start.

For those interested in video and audio codecs, Chromecast Ultra supports H.264 1080p, H.264 720×480, MPEG-4, VP8 video and AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM / WAV, Vorbis audio files. (A full list is available on Google’s Chromecast support site.)

A final note worth mentioning here is that Chromecast Ultra really plays well with the Google Home Smart Speaker. In this sense, there is no better way than to say “OK Google, listen to the latest episode of Clueless Gamer on Chromecast” and to bring Conan O’Brien on your TV.

Google Home works in many ways like the Chromecast Ultra remote control desperately needs, allowing you to play, pause and completely skip videos on demand.

For now, the feature only works with YouTube and Netflix videos, but it’s a good start, and we would say there’s a good chance this feature will be extended to other streaming services later in the day. You can also use a Google Home speaker to show your Nest images on the big screen.

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Chromecast Ultra Test Verdict in 4K

If you own a 4K TV but hate the smart system that comes with it, you’ll love the Chromecast Ultra.

Enhancements such as 4K and HDR support on a built-in Ethernet port and dual-band Wi-Fi make Chromecast Ultra one of the best streaming devices on the planet .

Google Chromecast Ultra at Dell Small Business for $ 69
That’s t, without a remote control or a user interface, there are still a lot of utilities missing from other streaming options.

To be fair, it’s not too difficult to use the Chromecast at through any application from where you are.

But how does it compare to that of competition? Here’s what we’ve reconstructed.

Chromecast Ultra vs. Competition

Chromecast’s business card has always been the ability to sync with your mobile phone, tablet and PC, and it continues with Chromecast Ultra. Few devices work as well with your electronics as Chromecast, and all those who demand that you be bought in a particular family of products.

Amazon Fire Stick TV

] Chromecast Ultra vs. Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick: Although Amazon can offer a cheaper $ 39 streaming stick (£ 35, about $ 56 AU), keep in mind that it only supports video 1080p, SDR. Amazon’s Fire TV, worth $ 99 (£ 79, about $ 140 AU), supports 4K but not HDR. Finally, the Amazon Fire TV Cube ($ 119.99, US only for now) offers you both 4K and HDR.

All these Amazon products rely heavily on a subscription to Amazon Prime for operate at their full potential. That said, if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, you will not be able to watch Chromecast for native service because Amazon’s mobile app does not support Google Cast.

streaming Roku

Chromecast Ultra vs. Roku Premiere and Roku Streaming Stick: Here is a story of David and the Goliath. The circular Chromecast does a lot of what the Roku Roku Premiere at $ 99 (£ 79, about $ 140 AU) does, but it depends more on your phone, tablet and PC to keep up. That said, Roku is known for its thousands of content channels and its universal search feature that allows you to search multiple sources at once as well as a nice slender remote.

Google has adopted this one in the version of its Chromecast app, but does not have the number of channels Roku has. If you are looking for a full-size streaming device with access to all streaming services, Roku is unbeatable. If you’re looking for a 4K solution to put audio and video on your TV, Chromecast Ultra is the solution for you.

Apple TV 4K

Chromecast Ultra vs. Apple TV 4K: The Apple TV 4K, like the Amazon streamer, promotes its own ecosystem, at least in terms of hardware. On the software side, Apple has opened its app store to all developers for the first time in the history of its home entertainment device, making it a little more complete than Chromecast. It also includes a new remote control and support for 4K and HDR, although at $ 179 / £ 179 it is much more expensive than Chromecast Ultra.

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We liked it

It’s easy to criticize the few mistakes Google has made here (see below), but overall, the Chromecast Ultra is a flawless and flawless streaming capable of delivering beautiful 4K HDR streams for less than the competition.

Minor enhancements like the Ethernet adapter improve Chromecast from last year, while Google Home integration lets Chromecast feel at home at the epicenter of our growing smart home.

[1945] 9015] We did not like

That said, despite all the positive aspects, there are still some issues to be resolved. The first is its price – $ 69 / £ 69. it offers a heck of a lot for this sticker price, but it feels like less worth here than the $ 35 / £ 30 Chromecast fact considering it shares almost all the same features and features together.

This is due, in large part, to the fact that Chromecast really does not come with modern amenities – both Roku’s Streaming Stick and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick offer remote control and a centralized user interface.

Chromecast Ultra: Final Verdict

All things considered, there is little reason not to buy a Chromecast Ultra if you own a 4K TV. At the same time, if you want 4K and HDR video and you have a compatible TV, chances are it already has the built-in applications you need (but maybe not in a very neat interface

For the most part, Chromecast Ultra delivers exceptionally smart, powerful and fast streaming in a silicon wafer-size device. There are not as many benefits for the 1080p audience, but for 4K TV owners, it’s hard to find a device that offers as much as Chromecast Ultra for the price.

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