Google Chromecast Ultra

7.5/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Google Chromecast Ultra
  • Google Chromecast Ultra
  • Google Chromecast Ultra

The Chromecast Ultra is still elegant on some level. But without the bells and whistles of comparably-priced streamers, it doesn’t seem as essential.

- Jared Newman , PCWorld 

The Chromecast Ultra fits the bill if you want beautiful visuals at a low price, but nagging design and interface issues hold it back.

- Marshall Honorof , Tom's Guide 

Specs / Features


Dimensions: 2.29 x 0.53 x 2.29 in | Weight: 1.6 oz | Resolution: Up to 4K Ultra HD

Dimensions: 2.29 x 0.53 x 2.29 in | Weight: 1.6 oz | Resolution: Up to 4K Ultra HD

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Specification

Brand Google
Size 6 x 1 cm (2.4 x 0.4 in)
Weight 2 grams (0.1 ounces)

Reviews summary

7.5/10AVG.
RATING
Based on 11 reviews

What's good  

  • Ethernet connectivity
  • Simple (but inconsistent) controls
  • Easy setup
  • Great price
  • Solid performance

What's bad  

  • No Amazon Video support
  • Requires a power outlet
  • No benefit for many 4K TVs
  • No benefit over Chromecast 2nd Gen for TVs at 1080p or lower

The Chromecast 2nd Gen is still a favorite among reviewers for its simplicity and solid performance. With the Chromecast Ultra, Google’s added a few more tricks to its streamer for those with top-end TVs.

Reviews are in, so we’re bringing you everything you need to know about this new media streamer.

Show more

Apart from a slight boost in size, the Chromecast Ultra sticks to the puck format of the earlier version. The design features a small disc with a microSD power port on one end and an HDMI cable on the other. The HDMI cable and disc both include magnets to keep the streamer tucked away out of side behind your TV.

However, to take full advantage of the Chromecast Ultra you must connect it to the supplied power adapter. Some reviewers mentioned that the 5.5-ft cable had trouble reaching the inputs on their TVs. If your television is far from an outlet, you might need to consider alternative arrangements.

The power adapter also includes an ethernet port. When connected to your router, this allows your Chromecast to stream as wired network speeds for the best video quality possible. Apart from appearance, you’ll find no indicators of what quality you are streaming at. Pocket Lint notes, “There's no consistent way of getting the information of what you're actually watching, unlike native TV apps, which are normally supported by an info button on your TV's remote.”

This is because the Chromecast uses your phone, tablet or PC as a remote. You tap the cast icon with the app or website and choose the Chromecast. In a few seconds, the video information passed to the streamer and your television displays it.

That brings us to the second concern mentioned by reviewers.

If you own a 4K TV, it’s likely also a “smart” TV. This eliminates the need for the Chromecast Ultra. For 1080p TVs, you'll find no difference in performance or features from the older Chromecast 2nd Gen. Also, at the time of writing, 4K UHD and HDR content is limited—only existing on Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Amazon Video. The last of which doesn’t support the Chromecast.

Unless you don’t like the apps on your TV or can’t connect an ethernet cable to your TV, you’ll find little benefit over the features included with your television set.

There were also complaints of inconsistency. This isn’t so much a fault of Google’s as a reflection of the fact you control playback using the apps on your phone. Controls are at the mercy of app developers. Whereas if you have a dedicated remote, you always know where to find common functions.

This lead many reviewers to question both if they'd recommend the Chromecast Ultra and why it exists. Unless you’re running a rare “non-smart” 4K TV model or need ethernet connectivity your TV lacks, you won’t see much benefit. Pocket Lint summed up opinions well, saying, “Unlike the previous two Chromecast devices that plugged a gap in your TV's skills, the Chromecast Ultra is likely to step on the toes of features that your TV already offers. And that, for many, will render it unnecessary.”

Reviews (7.5/10 Avg. rating)


PhoneArena

Fastest load times of any Chromecast to date

from PhoneArena
It's easy to dismiss the Chromecast Ultra as a one-note accessory: the necessary upgrade you need if you want to use a Chromecast on a 4K TV. And while that's an apt observation – you don't want to waste all those extra pixels on mere full-HD content, do you – there's also a bit more to this package... Full review
Alphr

The best Chromecast ever, but don't buy it

from Alphr
I've always loved the Chromecast system. It’s simple to use, easy to set up and works really well. However, Chromecast Ultra is the first Chromecast I’ve had to pause and think hard about recommending. That’s not because of how well, or how badly, it works, but simply because the apps on your 4K TV are probably going to deliver more 4K content at the moment... Full review
Expert Reviews

Cheap and beautifully easy to use but largely redundant

from Expert Reviews
I like – no, I love – Google’s Chromecast devices. They’re simple to use, a doddle to set up and they work beautifully well, but the Chromecast Ultra is the first one I’ve had to pause and think hard about recommending, and that’s nothing to do with how well or how badly it works... Full review
PC Advisor

A great way to get content onto your 4K TV

from PC Advisor
If you have a 4K TV and a Netflix subscription, the Chromecast Ultra is worth the £69 asking price. The fact it is so easy to use and works best with the Google Home app means you can easily throw it in a bag and use it on different TVs wherever you are, as your phone or tablet carries your streaming subscriptions with you... Full review
Pocket-lint

Google Chromecast Ultra review: 4K casting is perfect... yet pointless

from Pocket-lint
Chromecast Ultra is an easy and predictable upgrade for Google and a device that makes complete sense by supporting the latest formats for video streaming to your TV. However, unlike the previous two Chromecast devices that plugged a gap in your TV's skills, the Chromecast Ultra is likely to step on the toes of features that your TV already offers. And that, for many, will render it unnecessary... Full review
GottaBeMobile

Performs great most of the time

from GottaBeMobile
The Google Chromecast Ultra ($69) works well. It’s a great choice for people who own both Android and iOS devices in the same house, since users of both can take advantage of the device. Other streaming devices do a great job and even let the user cast their mobile device’s screen or videos to them, like the Fire TV or the Roku. However, the Chromecast Ultra is a simple device that’s easy to take with you in your computer bag. You can connect it to your device, even without Wi-Fi. For these reasons, it’s a definite buy and the best Chromecast device yet... Full review
Ars Technica

Offers zero noticeable upgrades for 1080 users

from Ars Technica

Chromecast Ultra's 1080p performance is equal to a perfectly good product half its price. Its 4K video quality is adequate but has too many noticeable early-load performance dips. Its HDR performance is underwhelming. Its compatible 4K/HDR video selection, which is already scant for now, is even smaller without Amazon Video in the mix. And its interface requires that excited new TV owners hunt and peck to find compatible content, since neither the primary Google Home app nor any separate streaming app offers a convenient "so many pixels" playlist. You're gonna really ne... Full review

PCWorld

4K HDR streaming with no frills

from PCWorld
Google's premium Chromecast quadruples the pixels for double the money, but lacks the bells and whistles of other high-end steaming devices... Full review
Tom's Guide

Low price, moderate frustration

from Tom's Guide

The Chromecast Ultra doesn't have as many apps as its competitors. The interface has some lingering flaws, and having to keep it plugged into the wall at all times is profoundly annoying, considering its dongle design. If you can look past that, though, you're paying only $70 for a device that broadcasts gorgeous 4K HDR video with easy-to-use controls on devices you already own. While the Chromecast Ultra isn't perfect, and certainly not for everyone, it's a solid choice for videophiles who don't truck with Amazon, and who want top-notch performance for relatively little money. It's no... Full review

Digital Trends

The cheapest path to razor-sharp 4K HDR

from Digital Trends
Should you buy it? If you’re looking for a highly affordable streaming add-on to your 4K Ultra HD TV — and you love Google’s casting style — then definitely. You can get a bit more content with a Roku, including Amazon Video, but it will also cost you more. More importantly, for now the Ultra is the only device compatible with HDR videos on YouTube. As more streaming apps come out of the woodwork, the Ultra’s value will only rise... Full review

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