Google Chromecast Ultra vs Google Chromecast full review
At a recent London event Google pulled the covers off a number of new products. These included the new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google Home, the Daydream VR headset, and a long-awaited upgrade to the Chromecast streaming stick. So, what does the Chromecast Ultra have to offer over its predecessor? We find out. See also: Best media streamers 2016
Chromecast Ultra vs Chromecast 2: Price, availability and competition
One of the best things about the original Chromecast and Chromecast 2 was that they were relatively cheap devices. You can buy the Chromecast 2 for £30 from Argos. Plug it in and you're up and running, with access to as much content as your smartphone or tablet can find. The Chromecast Ultra has changed this somewhat, as Google has put a £69 price tag on the new model. This moves the Ultra from the casual purchase category to a more considered one.
This could be an issue for some who will see the excellent Amazon Fire TV Stick available for £35 or the Roku Streaming Stick for £39.99, but it should be pointed out that the Chromecast Ultra is the only streaming stick currently available in the UK that can handle 4K content. The Amazon Fire TV 4K box can do so as well, but that will set you back a more comparable £75.
So far there is no solid release date for the Chromecast Ultra, but Google did indicate that the device would be in shops before Christmas.
Chromecast Ultra vs Chromecast 2: Design
For devices that will spend the majority of their lives attached to the back of TV sets, Google has made a decent effort to make the Chromecasts aesthetically pleasing. The new Ultra carries the same circular design of the Chromecast 2, albeit in a simpler, more refined way.
A shiny plastic case bears the dimensions of 58.2 x 13.7 x 58.2mm, with a weight of 47g. Gone are the multiple colours offered on the Chromecast 2, and instead they are replaced with a very Henry Ford approach, in that you can have any colour you want as long as it’s black.
The device still plugs into a TV via HDMI, and this time around Google has added the clever feature of an ethernet connection to the power supply, so you can have a wired connection if you prefer. Not a bad idea when you consider the size of 4K content.
Chromecast Ultra vs Chromecast 2: Specs and features
Google lists no official specs for the Chromecast Ultra, as was the case with the previous models, but we do know that the WiFi module supports 802.11ac, boasts 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, with 1x2 SIMO antenna technology.
What Google does say though is that the Ultra is 1.8x faster than the Chromecast 2, which is a decent improvement, especially when you see that it supports resolutions of up to 4K Ultra HD with HDR. This is a real step up from the previous model which could only handle a maximum of 1080p. Admittedly 4K content is a little thin on the ground at the moment, but it’s growing fast with YouTube, Netflix, and others beginning to rollout UHD offerings.
Google Chromecast: Specs
- HDMI output 1080p
- Micro-USB for power
- 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz/5 GHz)
- Android 4.1 and higher
- iOS 7.0 and higher
- Windows 7 and higher
- Mac OS 10.7 and higher
- Chrome OS (on a Chromebook running Chrome 28 & higher)
- Black, Coral, Lemonade
Google Chromecast Ultra: Specs
- 4K UHD streaming capabilities, HDR and Dolby Vision support, Ethernet connection on power block.
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