Google Chromecast with Google TV: Unboxing and First Impressions

Android TV

First Impressions:

This Chromecast made me want to watch content on my TV again. Over the past few months, I had transitioned from watching content on my 50 inch LG 4K TV to my Lenovo Duet. While my TV does have its own streaming interface I am personally, not a fan of it. It’s not very intuitive or flexible in my opinion. I was previously using my Xiaomi Mi Box S. The device served me well for the approximately year and a half I used it, however, it had some flaws. The Chromecast with Google TV fixed many of those flaws for only $50.

There are 3 aspects I am going to go over.

  • Speed
  • UI
  • Remote

 

What’s in the Box:

  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • USB C Cable
  • Power Brick (trust me, you’ll need this)
  • Remote (with batteries)
  • Instruction Manuals
Back of the box

Speed:

This device is really quick. I haven’t realized slowdowns in the UI or in streaming performance. In streaming 4K content on Youtube on internet speeds of about 150mps down I haven’t had a stutter or hiccup. This device isn’t a powerhouse, it has a quad-core A53 chipset, with 2gb ram but it gets the job done. I don’t think the specs are what’s driving this. I feel Google has done an amazing job optimizing the software to the hardware and I am really happy with the consistency of this device that I have not seen in a streaming stick before.

Open box

UI:

I am going to be honest, the UI is one aspect I am not crazy about. I am the type of person who finds their own content. The device throws a lot of pre-determined content in your face, getting you to watch things on Netflix, Hulu, or other apps you may have installed. While, for many people who may not know what they want to watch, I just want to get to my apps. Unfortunately, there is no way to disable these recommendations. At least the UI is quick and doesn’t slow down. It will be good for most users, however, it’s not my cup of tea.

To see an example of Google’s new Google TV take a look at this blog post from Google

Contents

Remote:

Last, but not least, the remote. This remote is FANTASTIC! I cannot get enough of moving around Google TV with this small, pill-shaped remote. The remote has not lost sync in the approximately week I’ve used it, the buttons are clicky, and it’s overall well built. All the buttons are nicely placed. Best of all in my opinion is you can sync the remote with your TV and soundbar for power and input use! I love the fact that I can take one of my remotes out of the picture (unless I want to go into any settings of my TV).

There are a few aspects I don’t like about the remote. First off, the dedicated “Netflix” and “Youtube” buttons. Give the user the choice of what apps they want these buttons to open! I know Google owns Youtube, but not everyone uses that or Netflix. Give us a choice, don’t force us into this. You can also sync the remote up to multiple devices, however, each button can only function on one device. An example, the power button will only turn on one device, the volume buttons will only control one device, the same with the input button. You cannot customize it to power up both your soundbar and your TV is they are not synced over ARC (mine are not, I went cheap). Fortunately, though, I can have the power and input button synced to the TV, and the volume buttons synced to the soundbar.

Chromecast and the Remote

Conclusion:

This device has been wonderful so far. We will have to see how often Google updates the device and if it can go the distance. With that being said, if you want Android TV and don’t have it built into your device, the Chromecast with Google TV is your best bet. If you’ve been looking at getting a streaming stick to replace your TV’s manufacturer’s UI or to give your TV streaming capabilities look at this device. You will be pleasantly surprised.