Home » Roku Express Plus Streaming Device Review

Roku Express Plus Streaming Device Review

by David Miklos Hazi
Roku Express Plus
3.9

Design

3.0/5

Ecosystem

5.0/5

Features

3.0/5

Performance

3.5/5

Price

5.0/5

Pros

  • Great access to streaming apps
  • Faster than previous generations
  • Inexpensive
  • Composite A/V cables (included)

Cons

  • Weak Wi-Fi (No 5GHz)
  • Remote requires line-of-sight
  • Voice control only available on the phone app
Hulu Plus Live TV

2020 Roku Express Plus (3910) Review

The Roku Express Plus (3910) is a streaming device that was released in October 2017 (R). This device is not a stick or a dongle. It is a tiny set-top box that needs to be visible to be used. The Express Plus is the best way to connect an older TV without HDMI connections to a streaming device to access popular cord-cutting services such as Netflix, Sling TV, fuboTV, and others.

Express+ Design

Roku Express+ Hardware

The Express+ streaming device connects in two different ways: via an HDMI cable or with analog AV cables with red, white, and yellow connections (included). The device must be powered by using a micro USB adapter and cable or you can power the Express via the USB port on your TV; however, this will slow down the device. Micro USB adapter and cables are included.

The device is powered by a two core ARM Cortex A53 processor with 512MB RAM. The device has an 802.11 (b/g/n compatible) single-band wireless antenna so it can only connect to the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band and not the 5 GHz band.

Express+ Remote

Also included is the standard Roku remote without voice controls. The remote uses IR, so you’ll need to be within line of sight of the box, unlike newer devices which rely on Bluetooth. The remote is matte black and very lightweight. The remote contains directional arrow buttons, a back, and home button, and also has reverse, fast-forward, and play buttons.

The remote also includes four shortcut buttons at the bottom that allows you to go directly to a cord-cutting service app such as Netflix or Sling TV. Depending upon where you get the Express+ these four buttons may be different. Users also have access to the mobile app which allows you to use your smartphone as the remote, which also offers some advanced capabilities such as voice search.

Express+ Front

Express+ Performance

The performance of the Roku Express+ is becoming outdated but that doesn’t mean it’s a poor experience. The device is by no means sluggish and is just as good as comparable versions of Amazon Fire TV. The device is fully capable of delivering a very sharp 1080p HD picture over Wi-Fi with little to no buffering.

However, the yellow analog composite video signal is limited to 480i resolution, a format that has 80 percent fewer pixels than the 1080p high-def signal used by the HDMI output. This will appear very fuzzy on newer TVs. We would recommend only using the analog for older TVs that you might use out in the garage or down in the basement. Another great use is to use it for music apps such as Pandora.


Sling TV Amazon Device

The performance of the streamer is largely determined by the Wi-Fi antenna, processor, and the platform. The Express Plus can’t access less-crowded 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, just standard 2.4GHz ones. If your home Wi-Fi network is spotty or weak, this will affect start-up and load times.

The processor is middle-of-the-road but is capable of handling just about any app or video.

The platform is where the manufacturer absolutely nails it. It’s lightweight and fairly minimalist. The platform is not cluttered making scrolling smooth and quick.

Express+ Back

Roku Express Plus Setup

Getting set up with the Express Plus is very easy. Simply plug in the device, connect the HDMI cable to your TV or analog connections, and follow the on-screen instructions. The device will ask you to connect to your Wi-Fi and then it will check for firmware updates and will optimize the resolution. The resolution may start out in 720p and could appear fuzzy, but do not worry because the device will automatically adjust to 1080p.

After you have connected to Wi-Fi and run the initial setup you will be asked to go to Roku’s website to register the device. You can pick and choose which apps you want to download to your streamer. You can go back and change this at any time. The streamer will start you off with a handful of apps at first but there are thousands of apps available.

Once set up, simply select and open an application and you’re ready to start consuming your favorite content.


Sling TV Amazon Device

Express+ Channels

The platform give cord-cutters access to over 5,000 different channels and applications. This includes both free and premium based content. Roku arguably has the greatest ecosystem of applications and games. All of these can be downloaded at no cost from the Roku Channel Store.

Mainstream content includes streaming services such as Sling TV, fuboTV, YouTube TV, Hulu, Netflix, and more. Users also get access to free content such as PlutoTV, tubi, PBS, Crackle, and more. This streamer offers users the capability to listen to music, watch TV and movies, and even get up-to-date news and weather information.

The mobile app gives users extra features. Use your iOS or Android device to enhance your cord-cutting experience. Additional features include:

  • The Roku Channel: Stream hundreds of hit movies, tv shows, and more—anytime, anywhere.
  • Voice Search: Just say it to search by title, actor, or director across 1,000+ channels.
  • Private listening: Use headphones to listen as loud as you want without disturbing the house.
  • Cast to TV: See your photos, videos, and music up on your big screen.

Roku Express Plus Technical Specs

 
Roku Express Plus
Networking802.11 (b/g/n compatible) single-band wireless
TV CompatibilityHD TVs – Up to 1080p (1920 x 1080) with up-scaling from 720p

PortsMicro USB for power,
HDMI 1.4
AudioDigital stereo over HDMI®, DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI®, Dolby pass through over HDMI
Size1.4 x 3.3 x 0.7 inches
Weight1.3 ounces


Sling TV Amazon Device

Compare Roku Express Plus To Other Streaming Devices

Wondering how this streaming media player stacks up vs other devices? Compare our Roku Express+ review to other popular cord-cutting TV devices reviews. We have reviewed the most popular devices on the market including brands such as Amazon, Apple, Roku, and more. Check out our full list of device reviews here:

  • AirTV – Dual network tuner that transmits OTA signals to a device connected television. Rating: 7.0; Price: Discontinued.
  • AirTV Player – Unique device that combines cord-cutting television with over-the-air antenna local channels in one platform. Rating: 6.4; Price: Discontinued.
  • Amazon Fire TV Cube – Central hub for connecting and controlling all of your home theatre equipment including TV, cable box, and even audio equipment by using the Amazon Alexa voice control technology. Rating: 8.6; Price: $119.99.
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick – Amazon’s budget streamer for cord-cutters looking to for 1080p resolution. Rating: 8.4; Price: $39.99.
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – Amazon’s 4K streaming stick. Great value. Rating: 9.0; Price: $49.00.
  • Apple TV – Original set-top box by Apple. Rating: 8.4; Price: $149.99.
  • Apple TV 4K – One of the most powerful set-top boxes on the market. Apple’s 4K version. Rating: 9.2; Price: 32G $179.99 and 64G $199.99.
  • Google Chromecast Dongle that allows users to cast from a separate device. Rating: 6.4; Price: $35.00.
  • Google Chromecast Ultra – Google’s 4K version of the dongle. Powerful but awkward. Rating: 7.4; Price: $69.00.
  • Roku Express – Ultra budget 1080p set-top box. Rating: 7.6; Price: $29.99.
  • Roku Express+ Tiny set-top box for older televisions. Rating: 7.8; Price: $35.00.
  • Roku Premiere – Inexpensive 4K and HDR10 set-top box. Rating: 8.6; Price: $39.99.
  • Roku Premiere+ Upgraded version of the Premiere. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
  • Roku Ultra Top-of-line 4K and HDR set-top box. Rating: 9.6; Price: $99.99.
  • Roku Streaming Stick Non-4K cord-cutting stick for budget cord-cutters. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
  • Roku Streaming Stick+ Very powerful 4K streaming stick for power cord-cutters. Rating: 9.6; Price: $49.99.

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