2020 Roku Streaming Stick (3900) Review
The Roku Stick (3900) is a non-4K streaming device that was introduced in October 2017 (R). This cord-cutting device is considered a streaming stick that plugs into your television’s HDMI port similar to a USB thumb drive. This device is widely considered by many to be one of the best media streamers under $50.
The Streaming Stick is slimmer, faster, and has more features than the previous version (3600). This device is perfect for cord-cutters who want to reduce clutter, specifically for wall-mounted TVs because it doesn’t require any wires. Simply plug the device into the back of your television and its out of sight. This device is also a must-have for cord-cutters that travel frequently in hotels or are college students that live in dorms because it’s easily portable.
Streaming Stick Hardware
The Roku Streaming Stick streaming device is very fast and responsive because it is powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 processor with 512MB of RAM. Navigating between menus and applications is very fast. The device connects over Wi-Fi with access to a/b/g/n/ac dual-bands including 5GHz Wi-Fi networks in addition to 2.4GHz ones.
The device connects to your television via its HDMI port. On one end of the stick is the HDMI connector and on the other is a micro USB port for powering the device. The device must be powered by using a micro USB adapter and cable or you can power the device via the USB port on your TV; however, this will slow down the device. Micro USB adapter and wall adapter are included.
Also included is the upgraded remote with voice-enabled controls that operate using Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. The remote is matte black and very lightweight. On 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 streamer these four buttons may be different. Also offered is the mobile app which allows you to use your smartphone as the remote, which also offers some advanced capabilities such as voice search and private listening which is great for when you don’t want to wake your kids or roommates.
Roku Streaming Stick Performance
Streaming Stick’s performance is superb for the price point. At under $50, the streaming stick delivers outstanding 1080p (and 720p) picture quality at an affordable price. Loading video is a seamless experience and despite being inexpensive the device is not cheap.
The performance of the streamer is largely determined by the Wi-Fi antenna, processor, and the platform. This device can access both 5GHz Wi-Fi networks and standard 2.4GHz ones.
Audiophiles maybe disappointed but does support digital stereo, DTS Digital Surround, and Dolby Audio pass-through over HDMI. For the average cord-cutter, this is typically more than enough to enjoy high-quality sound.
The platform is where Roku absolutely nails it. It’s lightweight and fairly minimalist. The platform is not cluttered making scrolling smooth and quick with very little hints of lag. Users are able to stream content from the most popular streaming services and applications with ease.
Roku Streaming Stick Setup
Getting set up with the Streaming Stick is very easy. Simply plug in the device, connect the HDMI to your TV, 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. Resolution may start out fuzzy, but do not worry because the device will automatically adjust to your television’s proper resolution settings.
After you have connected to Wi-Fi and run the initial setup you will be asked to go to the company’s website to register the device. Users can pick and choose which apps you want to download to your streamer. You can go back and change this at any time. Users will start 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.
Roku Streaming Stick Channels
Roku’s platform gives cord-cutters access to over 5,000 different channels and applications. This includes both free and premium based content. The company arguably has the greatest ecosystem of applications and games. All of these can be downloaded at no cost from the Channel Store.
Mainstream content includes cord-cutting 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. Roku 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 Streaming Stick Technical Specs
|Networking||802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless|
|TV Compatibility||HD TV's - Up to 1080p (1920 x 1080) with up-scaling from 720p|
|Ports||Power, HDMI 2.0a|
|Audio||Digital stereo over HDMI®, DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI®, Dolby pass through over HDMI|
|Size||0.5 x 3.3 x 0.8 inches|
Compare Roku Streaming Stick To Other Streaming Devices
Wondering how this cord-cutting media player stacks up vs other devices? Compare our Roku Streaming Stick 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 cord-cutting stick for power cord-cutters. Rating: 9.6; Price: $49.99.