Roku has substituted its Streaming Stick Plus, a great one of the top suggestions for an affordable 4K streaming player, with the new Roku Streaming Stick 4K.
The name is distinctive, but the hardware looks practically identical on the outside — not that design is essential in this case.
Like its forerunner, the 2021 model plugs into an HDMI port back of your TV. Unfortunately, it is perpetually hidden away from everyone watching entertainment on the screen.
Its upgraded inclinations are more important: the new device is faster, offers improved Wi-Fi performance, and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 Plus. And it takes the same $49.99 as before. You can also get the Streaming Stick 4K Plus, which bundles the identical hardware as Roku’s Voice Remote Pro.
But aside from more responsive boot-up times and apps loading a hair quicker, nothing about the experience of using this Roku feels any distinctive. On the contrary, the same simplistic Roku software has helped the company amass an enormous active user base and stay neck and neck with Amazon as the leading streaming platform.
Moreover, Roku continues to refrain from overhauling its familiar grid-of-apps home screen instead of focusing on more minor tweaks and new sections like “Featured Free” that highlight free-to-stream content — mainly to benefit its own ad-supported Roku Channel. But the general universal search, which prioritizes free content and your existing subscriptions over paid options, endures as great as ever.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K looks pretty comparable to the Stick Plus. Whereas that device was chiefly glossy, this one is entirely matte black plastic except for the “Roku” lettering. They’re essentially the identical size — the newer stick is just hardly thinner — and there’s yet a Micro USB port for plugging in the power cord. The incorporated USB power cord also has a long-range Wi-Fi receiver, so you’ll need to use that instead of another USB cable you might lie around.
Roku includes its conventional voice remote with shortcut buttons for Netflix, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, and Hulu with the usual Streaming Stick 4K. Unfortunately, there’s no headphone device point on this base remote; you’ll require the Voice Remote Pro for that and other highlights like a rechargeable battery, hands-free voice commands, and a built-in remote finder. But this one incorporates all the essentials and has primary TV controls for power and volume.
There’s a lot of hand-holding throughout the primary setup of a Roku device, the bulk of which occurs through a web browser and not the device itself. After initiating the Streaming Stick 4K with an email link, you will be asked which top streaming apps you want to be installed. Roku also offers additional app recommendations based on divisions in which you may signal advantage. There’s also a screen with information about over 20 free suits for streaming assistance.
Many of these were for subscriptions controlled directly by The Roku Channel. That’s where things rose, feeling a little spammy, but soon after, you are dropped into the same-as-ever app grid home screen. When you reach the chance to log into streaming apps on the Roku, you can now practice voice dictation to insert and access your email and password.
Roku states the Roku Streaming Stick 4K boots up 30 percent faster than the earlier model from a powered-off situation. The new stick has a more powerful quad-core processor, but the company isn’t making any significant cases of racing up day-to-day navigation and responsiveness.
Coupled with the Stick 4K’s improved Wi-Fi reception — the long-range receiver can now pull down steam up to twice as swift as before — apps operated evenly, and streams got initiated without any delays. But whereas Amazon lately delivered Wi-Fi 6 to its correspondingly assessed Fire TV Stick 4K Max, the Roku is, however, on Wi-Fi 5.
Every intelligent device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before using it — contracts that no one reads. We can’t read and analyze every single one of these agreements. These are notes most people don’t read and unquestionably can’t negotiate.
Dolby Vision is the primary purpose to upgrade to the Streaming Stick Plus from an earlier Roku model. There’s now a wide selection of content using the HDR format over current streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Vudu, etc. And the Streaming Stick 4K performed it all back without any difficulties.
HDR10 Plus is higher of a determinant if you possess a Samsung TV, and it’s still more restricted in content selection. There is run into any overheating concerns that the Streaming Stick Plus could occasionally be sensitive to. Also, cherish that Roku’s players now support Apple’s AirPlay 2, delivering it effortless to play content to the device from an iPad, iPhone, or Mac.
It is a slightly faster Roku that’s now up to rate on HDR formats. So the incentives for buying it are identified as any other Roku. First, there’s the straightforward user interface, and you’re receiving a wide selection of apps without any reasonable content holes. And you’re spending an appealingly economical price for all of it. Although not everyone is a fan of Roku’s level of data collection and sharing with advertisers, which helps keep the cost of these devices so inexpensive.
Presently, you presumably know which streaming platform you prefer the most:
- Roku’s the most comfortable to use but lacks any substantial intelligent home controls.
- Fire TV allows a ton of value (and Alexa) for similarly low costs.
- Google TV has the best recommendations.
- Apple TV has the most reliable performance.
- Products like the Nvidia Shield add gaming and the freedom to tinker with software.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a very safe evolution of one of the company’s bestselling products, and it delivers on the improvements that were needed, like Dolby Vision. So if your Roku is feeling sluggish or can’t get the most from your new 4K HDR TV, it’s an excellent time to upgrade