November 2, 2016
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The Chromecast Ultra review

In this time of innovation when anything and everything could be done through the power of the Internet and wireless connection, is it best to have your very own Chromecast Ultra? Let’s find out.

In 2013, Google introduced Chromecast- a media-streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port of a TV unit. Last year, it launched the next iteration in Chromecast 2 or Chromecast 2015. This November, Google will be releasing Chromecast Ultra.

Design

The Chromecast Ultra was released along with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL as part of Google’s efforts to streamline a sort of tech lifestyle surrounded by integrated Google devices. This move to merge the company’s brands together is also evident in the Chromecast ditching its old logo and putting a simple G in its place.

chromecast pc magazine

Photo courtesy of PC Magazine

Product manager Mario Queiroz stated that, apart from the higher resolution support, the Ultra will be 1.8 times faster than Chromecast 2 due in part to a faster processor and enhanced Wi-Fi antenna. In addition, unlike the previous versions, the Ultra will have a built-in Ethernet port in the power adapter, letting you connect your Chromecast directly to a router for a faster, smoother video playback. We all know that even if WiFi technology improves with time, a wire connection is still faster.

Essentials

Chromecast has always been a great addition to any home entertainment system since the first one came out in 2013. If this is your first time knowing anything about the Chromecast, the device allows you to “cast” video and audio content from your Android device or Google Chrome to your TV. Just plug it into the back of the TV and it will be able to stream from any of your smart devices to your TV screen. However, the first two iterations have been limited to 1080p resolution.

Performance and Special Features

With Chromecast Ultra, Google is going to break that barrier and into 4K content territory, with a 3840x2160p output. Unveiled last October 4, the Ultra will support 4K high dynamic range (HDR) streaming and Dolby Vision. 4K means four times the amount of pixels in a normal one, and with HDR, that means those pixels are brighter and have a wider range of color. It will also support 4K Netflix and Youtube, then Google Play Movies and TV.

chromecast

Still, with its need for relatively more complicated and advanced devices, the Chromecast Ultra is as easy to use as its predecessors. Just click the button, select the device you’re casting to, and it would appear on the screen. From your mobile device, just swipe the quick settings menu down, hit the cast button, and the screen on your mobile is instantly cast to the TV screen. Some apps like Youtube have the cast feature so it’s just as easy to put whatever you’re watching on Youtube up on the TV screen without putting your actual mobile screen on it.

Though it’s more expensive than its previous versions, the Chromecast is still the cheapest compared to other 4K video streaming devices from Roku, Amazon, and Apple. It will retail for roughly 250AED next month.

You might be wondering why it’s cheap: that’s because other devices like it pack in more components. Chromecast streamlines its design by getting rid of extra hardware that renders graphics since your TV should handle all that. Its purpose is to relay a signal from your smart device to your TV so all it needs is a good Wi-Fi antenna that can stream data at more than 15mbps and the right codecs for 4K video.

Verdict

The Chromecast Ultra is a welcome upgrade to the Chromecast line. We still have to wait for the full specs of the Ultra to come out before we can make a precise conclusion of its capabilities and how it compares with its predecessors and other devices.

chromecast ultra cnet

Photo courtesy of CNET

The only issue we can see is that better devices require better support, so make sure your apps, devices, and appliances are compatible with it or you won’t be able to see the improvement between the previous Chromecast and this one. For one thing, the 4K TV you use should support HDR as well.

Of course, if your TV is of a lower resolution, it would be best to go for the older, cheaper versions of Chromecast. But if you’re upgrading your whole entertainment system, the Google Chromecast Ultra is perfect. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Design
3 out of 5
Essentials
3 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
Special Features
3 out of 5

3.25

Average
3.25 out of 5