Google Chromecast 2020 review: What we always wanted


I am happy The new Google Chromecast with Google TV looked great on paper, but now that I’ve been using it for the past few weeks, I can safely say that it’s even better than I expected.

I never warmed to the original Chromecast. Call me old school, but I love the remote control and on-screen interface – the original Chromecast had neither. I couldn’t get down to watching my TV with my phone, tablet or PC as the primary control. The $35 Google Chromecast that’s been around for 7 years was never my go-to, and the 4K resolution of the $70 Google Chromecast Ultra wasn’t enough to tempt me. but The New $50 Google Chromecast With Google TV Prices better, does more, and, to my surprise, I’m really into it.

That doesn’t mean that Google Chromecast with Google TV is right for everyone, though. So let’s find out what this little dongle can and can’t do, and whether it’s right for you.

Different Thinking

Google Chromecast with Google TV Even though it’s an unnecessarily long name, it’s technically worthwhile to distinguish what’s different about it compared to previous Chromecast versions (more on that in a minute). Luckily, everything else about the device is simple.

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It all starts with the packaging and what’s in the box. The packaging seems to be almost completely reusable – and there isn’t much to it. In the box are a Chromecast dongle, remote, a small USB-A power brick, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and two AAA batteries — and guys, I love batteries.

Yeah, you read that right. The AAA battery Google ships with the new Chromecast has the same silky, rubberized, silicone exterior as the Chromecast dongle, remote control, and power cable. I jumped with genuine joy when I shrugged them off their plastic cocoons to put them in the remote. Nice touch, Google. Unboxing wins.

Features and Specs

As is well known, the original Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra (4K) let users find content on their phones and “cast” it to their TVs to watch on the big screen. The original equipment was essentially invisible. A major improvement here is the addition of an on-screen interface and remote control.

The remote control comes with power and volume buttons that control your TV. Oddly, the power button is located on the bottom-left of the compact remote, but the volume button on the side will look familiar to anyone who’s used a Roku or Amazon Fire TV remote with similar buttons.

At the top of the remote is a circle that allows you to click up, down, left and right. Below the circle are a Google Assistant button, a “Back” key, a mute button, two hotkeys for accessing YouTube and Netflix, and a Home button. The remote sounds great, but the button layout took a while to get used to, if only because I’ve been using other streaming device remotes for so long.

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The Chromecast dongle plugs directly into the TV’s HDMI port, eliminating any worries about having a high-speed HDMI cable that supports 4K HDR and Dolby Vision.

It brings two of the most amazing features found in the new Google Chromecast, especially for the $50 price tag: Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The Dolby Vision content library is growing at an instant clip on services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, and with Dolby Vision-enabled TVs, that content looks great. Dolby Atmos surround sound support is also available, but its availability will vary from one streaming app to another.

Google doesn’t publish much around the new Chromecast’s antenna, but from my experience, it did a better-than-average job of pulling up a Wi-Fi signal for steady streaming.

Set-up

As easy as using the new Chromecast is, it does take some time to set up. This is true for many streaming devices today as they become more advanced. There are a few hoops to jump through that are unique to the new Chromecast, though.

If you don’t already have the Google Home app for iOS or Android, you’ll want to download it—it requires setting up a Chromecast. After the Chromecast is turned on with Google TV, it will appear in the Google Home app as a new device to set up. Just follow the instructions and the device will be connected to your network in no time. Most people will use Wi-Fi, but an Ethernet adapter accessor is available as an additional purchase.

From there, Chromecast will offer to install a few apps (any others must be manually installed later), test your TV’s power and volume to operate, get some updates, restart a few times, Set up Google Assistant voice tracking – and the device will eventually be set up. this will take a while. But wait, there’s more.

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Here’s where Google can vastly improve the Google TV experience: by keeping users logged into its streaming apps. Google stores all my passwords. I am logged into my apps on my android phone. It’s not a huge demand for Google to automate the sign-in process. So… please, Google?

For now, users will have to go through the arduous process of entering usernames and passwords for all the streaming apps they subscribe to. Frankly, this is probably the most time consuming part of the setup.

One final and very important note: By default, the new Chromecast comes with always-on Dolby Vision. This means that if your TV supports Dolby Vision, everything will be rendered in Dolby Vision, and thus your picture presets will be limited. Not only that, but non-Dolby Vision content won’t look right. Even the colors of apps on Google TV don’t look right. To fix this, navigate to Adjustment, and under video settings, Choose matching material. This ensures that the TV goes into Dolby Vision mode only when Dolby Vision content is playing.

Google TV part

The new Google Chromecast with Google TV is all about the Google TV on-screen interface, and although it looks quite different from the Android TV interface found in Sony and some Hisense TVs, as well as the Nvidia Shield, it’s a few key quirks. sounds familiar. Difference.

Google TV is highly focused on content recommendation. It learns what you like to watch over time and tries to put the content you want front and center. Plus, you don’t need to go into a specific app to watch it. Not manually anyway. You will see a place to just click captain marvel To click right next to the slide strange things. There’s nothing indicating the content is on HBO Max or Netflix, respectively. Not until the next screen where you hit the play button, anyway.

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If you want to explore the content available on a given platform like Netflix or HBO Max, all the apps are housed on a strip just below the “For You” section. Whether or not you’ll need to do this may depend on how well Google understands your viewing preferences and habits.

Clearly, for households with multiple viewers, personal profile support is important and not to worry, the new Chromecast supports it, not exactly the way you’d expect to be used to the approach of Disney+ or Netflix. can do.

For personalized Google TV content recommendations, users must sign in to their own Google Account. However, it has no effect on individual apps. No matter whose Google account is being used, Netflix and other apps will still offer the same profile based on who is signed in to those apps.

Display

The new Google Chromecast with Google TV performs well as streaming hardware. It does a pretty good job of keeping up with my fast-paced clicking and scrolling, though I can certainly lag behind when I press it hard, as I’ve done with experience. amazon fire tv stick and Roku Streaming Stick+.

Apps and content also load quickly. Casting is the same as before, so no changes there. Overall, the device is fully capable considering the $50 price tag. you have to step up amazon fire tv cube or new roku ultra To get anything fast enough or more powerful.

For me, though, the real performance metric here is that of the Google TV experience. And on that front, I have to say: So far, so good.

Google TV hasn’t completely dampened my viewing preferences, but to be fair, I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks. I also hope Google throws a few things against the wall to see what sticks with me. This process takes time, and I’ll update this section as I learn more.

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I also enjoy making my YouTube-recommended videos look exactly like they look on my phone on my TV. it’s the little things.

The new Chromecast also connects with a number of other Google smart home devices, making it possible to view video feeds from the Google Nest Camera and Google Nest Doorbell, and act as part of a whole-home audio solution. You can also control the new Chromecast using the Google Home or Google Nest speakers.

Clearly, Chromecast with Google TV offers more value for Android phone users and fans of Google products in general. If you’re a die-hard fan of Apple, the Apple TV 4K can deliver a similar experience—about three times the cost.

Still, based solely on its merits as a streaming device, I think the new Google Chromecast with Google TV is a great option for someone who isn’t already married to the smart TV platform. is.

our take

The new Google Chromecast with Google TV is a smart step in the right direction for a big tech company that needs a little more presence in the streaming hardware space. The original Chromecast sold well because it was so cheap, but I think this new model is going to sell even better because it’s a device you can interact with. If Google can mature its content recommendation engine, it could be the world’s best-selling streamer in just a few months.

Is there a better option?

The Roku Streaming Stick+ offers a …

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