One of the best media dongles you can buy.
The original Google Chromecast opened a new way to stream content to your TV. It eventually evolved into a more solid streaming stick, especially with the Chromecast Ultra that offered support for 4K HDR. This year, Google ups the ante with the new Chromecast that now runs on Google TV and even comes with a remote control.
The biggest change on this new Chromecast is the addition of a user interface where you can navigate and install apps, different from the earlier Chromecasts that you would always need your smartphone to cast content. Google TV makes everything easier, from installing apps via the Google Play Store to watching on streaming services like Netflix and OSN.
The Chromecast with Google TV officially replaces the Chromecast Ultra, with the original circular design now changed to a flatter oval shape. The HDMI port sticks out and is powered through a USB brick that comes with the package. Unlike previous Chromecasts where you can plug it into your TV’s USB port for power, the Chromecast with Google TV would need to use the provided adapter for it to power on.
As for the remote, you’re getting the most basic functions for navigation and even dedicated buttons for Netflix and YouTube. You can also program the remote so that it can also control your TV, eliminating the need to use multiple remotes. I’ve successfully paired it with a Sony and LG TV, letting me control power and volume without a hitch. There’s also a dedicated Google Assistant button that you can ask random questions or send voice commands to control other devices in your home.
Setting it up would require you to use the Google Home app available on iOS and Android. It only takes a couple of minutes and in no time I was already putting my favorite streaming services on it. Streaming apps worked without fuzz. Netflix for example loaded up 4K HDR content easily, and the same goes for YouTube, OSN, and Google Play Movies.
Speaking of 4K HDR, the Chromecast with Google TV also supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and if you have a compatible TV and home theater setup, you can easily enjoy spatial audio just like in the cinema. Probably the only thing I was missing on this is the Apple TV app, which I hope will be available soon. Of course, if you have a compatible Android device, you can also use it to mirror content from your smartphone to your TV.
In the US, the Chromecast with Google TV retails for only $50, making it one of the most affordable streaming devices available. It would have been a great purchase if it was officially available here in the UAE (you can always import it online), which is the only thing that keeps us from fully recommending it.
+ Google TV
+ Great image quality
+ Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support
+ Intuitive remote control
– Not officially available in the Middle East
Final Rating: 4.5/5