“The $50 Roku Streaming Stick is a no-brainer, must-own device for the serious streamer.”
- Lightning quick
- Wireless audio through smart phones
- All the apps
- Doesn’t favor any one streaming service
- Best search around
- No 4K support
- No HDMI extension
It’s hard to believe the original Roku Streaming stick was introduced back in 2014. Time flies when you’re binge-watching Netflix! But here we are, and it’s about time the Roku Stick got an update. With competition from the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google’s Chromecast heating things up, Roku needed to step up its game a little. But where do you go when you already have one of the best little media streamers on the market?
Well, in the electronics world, you make it faster, sleeker, and cleverer. And that’s what Roku has done. There wasn’t a ton of room for Roku’s Streaming Stick to grow – in fact, physically growing would be a step in the wrong direction – but it did grow up a little. This little stick is quick, and it’s got some fun features you won’t find elsewhere.
In short: Unless you need
Out of the box
The beauty of the
The included remote control has also been slimmed down, and transitioned from glossy to matte black. On the down side, the remote still wobbles around on flat, hard surfaces (an annoyance for this reviewer) but on the plus side,
We had hoped
We also wish
Specs and features
It actually feels faster than our
What you don’t get is
Perhaps the most notable new feature for the
Powering the stick off of a wall outlet or a constant-power USB port on a TV is ideal, but those who must connect it to a USB port that loses power with the TV is shut down will be pleased to know the new Streaming Stick boots up in 27 seconds, about three times faster than the first-gen stick. Loading apps is also a very quick affair – we clocked Netflix opening in just over 5 seconds in most cases.
Along with the increased performance, the new
In short, the
Roku’s new Streaming Stick delivers an outstanding experience. It’s the snappy click-and-go device we think everyone expects, but somehow packed into a little stick no larger than a small pack of gum. And, as previously mentioned, Roku’s platform simply beats the competition because it doesn’t play favorites with different
Is there a better alternative?
There are alternatives, to be sure, but are any of them better? Not necessarily. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick offers great value at around $40, but it’s built around Amazon and it’s search results turn up mostly Amazon content — if you subscribe to Netflix (or Hulu, or HBO, or any other popular streaming platform), it’ll leave you out in the cold.
Meanwhile, Google’s Chromecast is a little more versatile — it’s not nearly as restrictive as the Fire TV Stick, and the Chromecast supports cross-platform search, which is awesome — but the available library of channels pales in comparison to those available on the
If you’re looking to stream
How long will it last?
Physically speaking, there’s no reason to expect that the Streaming Stick will degrade at all. Apart from gathering dust, the stick itself shouldn’t encounter any environmental hazards, and the remote feels durable — plus, on the off chance that the remote does clonk out, you can always just use your
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Streaming Stick can’t handle ultra-HD video, but that’s a minor grievance, especially for under $50. Otherwise, we’re seriously short on complaints, which makes rating the
- PBS Food brings its free streaming channel to Amazon, Roku
- YouTube TV still leads after latest round of streaming numbers
- What is DirecTV Stream: plans, pricing, channels, and more
- Netflix free trial: Can you stream for free in 2023?
- Tidal vs. Spotify: Which music streaming service has the features you need?