HDMI compatibility, over a thousand apps and a dongle design, the Roku Streaming Stick combines all of this into a perfect device that brings entertainment to your home. At $50, the new Roku streaming stick offers great content and a friendly interface. It fits at the back of any modern TV unlike its predecessor which worked with the MHL-compatible TVs only. It comes with a regular remote which makes users prefer the Roku streaming stick over Chromecast. The price is higher than the Chromecast, but so are the offerings.
The company’s familiar purple color covers the entire device. With dimensions of 3.1 in. x 1.1 in. x 0.5 in. the Roku Streaming Stick is easy to conceal. This means that those who may not be fans of the color do not have to worry much. It weighs 18g and is comparatively lighter than Chromecast. The size of the device makes it a little difficult to plug the Roku into an HDMI port which may be placed in a tight area. While HDMI ports are flexible, we have to remember this one is not, so you may end up using a different HDMI port for the Roku which gives enough place for the seating of the device.
As for the internal hardware, the device has a dual band Wi-Fi Support along with a 1080p output which makes HD streaming very smooth. The chip is the same as that used in Roku 1.
The remote is part of the out of the box accessories, and is similar to the remotes that come with other Roku devices. The remote utilizes Wi-Fi Direct technology allowing it to effortlessly communicate with the Streaming Stick that is at the back of the television. The size of the remote is perfect for one-handed operation and the buttons are evenly spaced.
The simplistic look of the remote makes it user-friendly, but what most of the users miss in it is the headphone jack which would enable private listening. Roku 2 and Roku 3 have this feature in them. Gaming enthusiasts may find the absence of motion control censors to be a little unwanted. This means that your gaming experience may not be the best with the Roku Streaming Stick.
The standard Roku interface which is the best so far and has the usual Roku purple painted to it. Roku’s biggest advantage is the library of apps it proudly talks about. Roku makes sure its users have the latest apps available before other companies get their hands on those apps. You get the true live TV experience through the apps like Roku’s Time Warner Cable apps. Third party hardware products like SLingbox, Tablo and Simple. TV can also stream live or recorded TV to Roku.
Users can also access their media stored on a computer using the Plex app and iOS and Android devices can beam music, photos and videos from the phone to the device using Play on Roku app. The device does not perform exceptionally well when it comes to beaming files from the phone. This can be blamed partly on Roku’s software.
While smartphones turning into a remote may sound quite advanced, it is often easier to use the usual remote rather than switch your view from your TV to the smartphone continuously.
Roku offers a great interface even though it has a lot of apps to account for. The Streaming Stick is a sleek mode of entertainment. The remote is designed well for easy navigation. We do not have to deal with a remote with over-crowded buttons to use an instruction manual to understand it. In comparison to Amazon Fire TV that has innovative voice search, Roku is limited and does not quite think beyond the set top box.
Roku may be all about its apps and may not have much without the numerous apps it offers. It does have the capability to turn your standard television into a smart TV. It is an efficient entertainment device but many users find the absence of a headphone jack to be unwelcome. Private listening was a great feature which users miss in the Roku Streaming Stick. With a real remote, Roku seems to be a great option till Google Chromecast expands its app list.