Google Chromecast (2015)

8.1/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Google Chromecast (2015)
  • Google Chromecast (2015)
  • Google Chromecast (2015)
  • Google Chromecast (2015)
  • Google Chromecast (2015)

The new Chromecast is simple, smart, works brilliantly and is cheap. What more could you ask for from a gadget?

- William Dunn , Stuff 

The new Chromecast isn't a significant improvement over the original; then again, it didn't need to be.

- Jared Newman , TechHive 

Specs / Features


Specification

Brand Google
Model Chromecast
Warranty 1 months
Release date 1-October-2015

Reviews summary

8.1/10AVG.
RATING
Based on 28 reviews

What's good  

  • Price
  • New app makes content discovery easier than ever
  • Solid, fast Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Ease of use

What's bad  

  • Still no remote
  • No Amazon Prime Instant Video support

The original Chromecast was one of the major players in smaller format media streaming boxes. With its simple operation and insanely low price, it's still competitive.

But it has been a few years since its release and Google felt like it was time to update its streaming behemoth. Will this new version live up to the hype of the original? Is it worth updating if you’ve still got your trusty Chromecast stick kicking about? Let’s see what reviews are saying!

One of the first things you’ll notice about the newest Chromecast is its design. As a sort of plastic puck, it is about as different as you can get from the original thumbdrive style device. The new Chromecast is available in three colors--red, yellow, black--though most reviews were quick to note that you probably won’t see it much anyhow.

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While reviews were polarized on the new appearance, with Stuff calling it a “neon biscuit”, no one had any issue with build quality. Most appreciated the included 4-inch HDMI cable to help them plug in their Chromecast without having to squeeze it into place.

If you plan to travel with your Chromecast, the cord uses some magnetic magic to stick to the back of the puck as well for easy stowing in your bags.

One of the biggest reasons for the design change was the addition of dual-band Wireless AC support. Google touted their new adaptive antennas extensively and reviews seem to agree that coverage is excellent and speeds are blazing fast. TechRadar stated, “In terms of both content and performance, the new Chromecast is better than its predecessor ever was.” Stuff elaborated further, stating, “After loading 20 or 30 programmes we'd say the waiting time has halved, but it's halved from about eight seconds - so you'd have be an incredibly impatient person for this to matter.”

One thing to keep in mind is that the Chromecast works very differently from most streaming boxes. You don’t store a library of content on the device or run apps on it. You use your computer, tablet or phone to stream things to it for display.

This is both the strongest feature and biggest weakness of the Chromecast in most reviews. If you can load it into a tab on Google’s Chrome Browser, you can sling it at your TV. You’ll also find support for streaming in virtually every app you use to consume media. But that also means your phone, computer or tablet is also your only remote.

One new feature of the 2nd Gen Chromecast is a Guest Mode. This hopes to help with the lack of remote by allowing friends and family to quickly connect to the Chromecast with their devices and send basic playback controls or stream content.

The Chromecast App has also received an update that allows you to search between services and dig a little deeper into apps that support the Chromecast. But if you’re accustomed to using a dedicated remote, adjusting to the Chromecast might take some time.

Another major shortcoming mentioned in most reviews is a lack of games. TechRadar sums up the issue well, stating, TechRadar “Games are few and far between, and generally feel like shovelware put out by third-party developers.” While this isn’t neccessarily a problem with the Chromecast specifically, it is something you should be aware of if you’re planning to play games like your friends do on their Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV.

Speaking of the Fire TV, if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, there is still no native way to stream Amazon Prime Instant Video to the Chromecast. Again, this isn’t anything that Google can control, but given the popularity of the service, lack of access is a major consideration.

Overall, reviews on the Chromecast 2nd Gen are outstanding. Google appears to have taken the original and improved it in a number of ways to provide a smoother, more stable streaming experience. That being said, most reviews questioned if the new changes were worth upgrading from the original at all.

In the end, most agreed with Daily Express when they said, “There has never been a better time to buy a Chromecast”. Stuff called it “a seriously brilliant and highly affordable device.” What Hi-Fi even joined in, declaring, “rarely are media streamers quite this appealing.”

If you’re not an owner of the original and don’t mind the lack of remote, it appears that the new Chromecast offers a compelling combination of value and performance that will keep it in the top of the rankings for the foreseeable future.

Reviews (8.1/10 Avg. rating)


Digit

Smooth streaming experience

from Digit
The Chromecast 2 is a good buy, as long as you're streaming a lot of content from your smartphone. The performance is better than its predecessor, and it can turn your dumb old TV into a smarter one. You may not want to go back to watching traditional TV once you've used this... Full review
PC Advisor

Improved but still not the best media streamer

from PC Advisor
Owners of the original Chromecast have very little reason to upgrade the new model. Google has improved the design with the Chromecast 2 and added better Wi-Fi. We also like the new app and, in general, the device is a bargain at £30. However, the Roku Streaming Stick outclasses it for less than £10 extra with more content available, a remote control and excellent user interface... Full review
Sunday Express

Still the cheapest way to make your TV smarter

from Sunday Express

Google’s second generation Chromecast is faster than its predecessor, but retains its almost impulse-buy price tag. Nifty new software tweaks like Fast Play and Guest Mode are welcome additions, but aren’t enough to recommend existing Chromecast owners upgrade from the previous generation. But for everyone else, there has never been a better time to buy a Chromecast.

Some many be tempted by the physical remotes offered by similarly-priced competitors, but the Chromecast still offers the most widespread content support. Thousands of apps are already updated to support... Full review

TechRadar

More colorful, reliable streaming dongle

from TechRadar
As much as I love the new Chromecast, it may not be worth replacing an existing old Chromecast if you already own one. That said, the new version is the most affordable choice for anyone who hasn't bought into Google's streaming platform yet. Alternatively, you could also give yourself the excuse that you need to get a second one in the house, or have one in a bag for travel. After all, it packs up nicely in its new, smaller form factor. If you decide you can spare the small expense, you'll not be disappointed for paying under 40 bucks for a streaming device of this quality... Full review
What Hi-Fi

It’s a faster, more refined experience, and doesn’t cost a penny more

from What Hi-Fi
The new Chromecast is quite the upgrade. It’s taken the winning recipe of neat, simple and efficient streaming and refined the technique in almost every way, from build to use to performance. So what’s the damage for this new-and-improved discus? That’s the best part. Sticking with its predecessor’s £30 price tag, it doesn’t ask a penny more for the progress it’s made. If that’s not enough to win you over, we don’t know what will be, for rarely are media streamers quite this appealing... Full review
Stuff

Better looking, faster and smarter

from Stuff
So, should you get one? If you already own a Chromecast and you're wondering if you need to upgrade, then the answer is no. If you want to play Android games on your TV then you'll have more fun with the Nexus Player. If you can't stand the eight seconds it takes the original Chromecast to load a TV programme then you need to try some breathing exercises. But if you don't have one - or if you're looking to turn your bedroom TV into a smart, game-capable Netflix machine - then this is a seriously brilliant and highly affordable device... Full review
Phonedog

Faster, smaller and still only $35

from Phonedog

So that’s truly how I want to wrap up this review of the 2015 Chromecast. I want to make it really simple for you. If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly method of streaming content from your mobile smartphone, tablet or PC, then buy the new Chromecast. If you’re considering upgrading from the original Chromecast, I would say it’s unnecessary if you experience a lot of lag and buffering. Since the app has been updated to include the new features to both the new and original Chromecast, I would lean more on the side of not upgrading immediately and maybe wait f... Full review

Stuff

Much more complete and satisfying device to use than its predecessor

from Stuff
Meanwhile, the lack of a remote control can be annoying. If you need to pause a movie because the phone's ringing, it's a lot easier to push a button on a physical remote than to find the media controls on your phone after you've unlocked it first. Still, the new Chromecast is a much more complete and satisfying device to use than its predecessor was at launch. And when its latest rivals cost more than $100, it's still a heck of a deal... Full review
Android Headlines

Functionality is basically the same, only now it’s all faster

from Android Headlines
In a nutshell, functionality is basically the same. You’re still plugging a small device into your HDMI port, you’re still getting 1080P video output, and you have access to everything you had before. Only, now it’s all faster. Not to underplay the niceness of the speed boost, just saying I don’t feel it’s $35 worth. All in all, the 2nd gen Chromecast is a fantastic device, and you’ll love it if you haven’t made the leap yet. But it certainly won’t make the waves that the original Chromecast did when it launched... Full review
Expert Reviews

Chromecast would appear to be a no-brainer

from Expert Reviews
Ultimately, it depends on what you want. If you've primarily got Apple devices, the Apple TV makes a lot of sense, as it's quick, ties in with Apple's services brilliantly and AirPlay is great here. If you care more about flexibility and easier access to DLNA servers, the Roku Streaming Stick is good for you. If you've got Android devices (or a mix of Android and iOS) and simply want a cheap and convenient way of adding some streaming services to your TV, then the Chromecast is brilliant and you should buy one today... Full review

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