2019 Google Chromecast Ultra Review
The Google Chromecast Ultra is a streaming device that was released in October 2016 (R). This streaming device is a dongle that plugs into the back of your television using the HDMI port. The Ultra is Google’s 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision streaming player.
While the regular Chromecast is disappointing, the Chromecast Ultra is not. Cord-cutters looking for a 4K streamer will not be disappointed. This device is fast and powerful; however, the lack of remote and standard user interface may be a deal breaker for some.
You must use a separate device and your TV to stream TV shows, movies, and games. Chromecast works with iPhone®, iPad®, Android phone and tablet, Mac® and Windows® laptop and Chromebook.
Google Chromecast Ultra Hardware
The Chromecast Ultra is essentially the same device as the Chromecast, a wafer sized puck, except it has better hardware.
The Chromecast dongle plugs into your TV’s via a 3 inch HDMI cable that connects to your television’s HDMI port. The device needs to be connected to a USB power supply. The wall charger is included but you may also plug into your TV’s USB port; however, this will slow down the device considerably.
The Chromecast Ultra uses a system on a chip which is basically a small motherboard that holds the CPU, memory, input/output ports, and secondary storage. Google’s 4K streaming device features the powerful Marvell Armada 1500 Mini Plus 88DE3009. This hardware helps the device stream smooth 4K Ultra HD, HDR10, and Dolby Vision
In regards to Wi-Fi, the Chromecast Ultra uses the 802.11 b/g/n/ac bands which gives users both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. Also featured is an Ethernet port which is used to provide a more stable connection and to reduce lag.
Google Chromecast Performance
The performance of the Chromecast Ultra is a much better experience than normal Chromecast versions. There are no different features from the regular version except it contains better hardware.
The device is very snappy and the picture quality is absolutely stunning; however, 4K streams are not instant. There is a noticeable difference between using the Ethernet connection vs the Wi-Fi connection. The Ethernet connection provides a much more stable and speedier connection.
The biggest downfall of this device is definitely not having a remote. This niche feature is beginning to look a little outdated. With that said the new casting application was redesigned to not drain your phone’s battery and can now operate in the background while you use your phone for other things.
Google Chromecast Setup
Getting set up with the Google Chromecast is very easy. Simply plug in the device, connect the HDMI cable to your TV, and open the Google Home app in a compatible smart device such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer using the Chrome browser. If you already use Google Home products it will recognize the device. If you have not used the Google Home app you will be prompted to enter your Wi-Fi information.
When you pull up the application you want to stream on your device, you simply hit the cast button and it relays the stream through the player to your TV. One of the main advantages of this is that it will not drain the battery of your device as quickly vs streaming on the device itself.
Chromecast can be connected to any Google Home products. This gives users the ability to use voice commands to play videos and music. Another cool Chromecast feature is that you can cast the Chrome browser basically allowing you to turn your TV into a monitor. This also allows you to turn your TV into a picture frame to display photos and screensavers.
Since there is no remote you will control all media selection and playback control from your casting device. If you have a device that has Google Assistant then you can use your voice to control these settings. Say “Hello Google, watch Game of Thrones on Chromecast,” and it will begin playing. Voice control is also only available with select streaming applications.
Chromecast Channels and Applications
Chromecast gives you access to more than 200,000 TV shows and movies and 30 million songs. There is a variety of cast enabled apps, streaming services, and you can even cast with the Chrome browser. Notably missing is Amazon Prime Video. Cord-cutters get access to just about every single application in the Google Play store.
Music and audio apps are well represented, with Spotify, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, Deezer, Tidal, BBC iPlayer Radio, TuneIn and Google Podcasts among the services currently listed on Google’s Chromecast apps page.
Steaming video applications are also well represented, with Netflix, Sling TV, HBO GO and HBO Now, YouTube and YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and many more. To see if Chromecast supports your favorite applications visit their apps page. https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_apps?hl=en-US
Google Chromecast Technical Specs
|Dimension||2.29 in L and 2.29 in H|
|Resolution||Up to 4K Ultra HD|
|Wireless||802.11ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz) 1x2 MISO Wi-Fi|
|Power||5V, 1A power supply|
|Ports||HDMI, Micro-USB, Ethernet|
|Supported Operating Systems||Android 4.2 and higher; iOS 9.1 and higher; Mac® OS X® 10.9 and higher; Windows 7 and higher|