Until recently, streaming sticks and dongles were merely anything beyond alternatives for the bigger and better functioning set-top boxes. However, the evolution of technology has brought about a drastic change in their functions. They are not only at par with their “bigger’ counterparts regarding the functionality, but they are also even better when it comes to the pricing and the ease of use.
Numerous companies are offering streaming devices which are packed with all the features that you want on your device. Google, Amazon, and Roku mainly dominate the market. Deciding the best among these spectacular devices is always a tough task, and it is precisely what I am here to help you out with. Google’s hockey-puck shaped Chromecast was adorned with a series of updates. It now has some better specs and other better features. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick isn’t the messiest option either. Roku is also on par with its Express Streaming Stick Plus and Roku Express which have also received many updates.
This battle between these three giants will finally culminate in you making a better and more informed choice about the device that is best suited to your needs.
Streaming Sticks Vs Dongles
Ease of Use
While all of them perform the same functions, you need a device that doesn’t have you hassling with its hardware while you are waiting to binge watch on the movie. If ease of use is your primary aim, your best bet might be Chromecast. Neither does it have a menu-based user interface, nor does it have a remote control. It doesn’t even store anything.
Chromecast merely acts as a conduit through which your TV can access content. Thu, it leaves all the “smart” work to the other devices like your smartphone, tablet or computer. Whatever you want to watch or listen to, you only need to “cast” it with the help of Chromecast, and it will be on your screen in no time. You can watch anything that is under the purview of the world wide web. So, Chromecast wins the battle here.
Good processing power is essential for most of the devices. Technology moves at a rapid pace, and every day the engineers are working day in and out to come up with better options. Thus, the winner in this category ought to be the most recently released among the three. Roku Streaming Stick plus has a better processing power than the other two devices.
Are you a gamer and want a device that has plenty of good games and the most efficient control? Roku devices are only restricted to Angry Birds and a handful of other cute games’. However, Fire TV Stick is the real winner in this category. Through this device, you can have access to a library of more advanced games like Minecraft. Moreover, you can further enrich your gaming experience by coupling the Fire TV with the same gaming-style consoling which is available with Fire TV (sold separately). Casual gamers will enjoy playing these games, and their availability is certainly an added advantage. Chromecast’s games are also pretty decent however there are not many options for the console crowd. Most of them are multiplayer games like Monopoly, Risk, and Scrabble.
Talking of the sheer number of apps that are available for each device, Roku enjoys a landslide victory over the other two. It has access to a whopping amount of more than 1000 apps or channels. You can also use the Roku official app to select content from your smartphone. Chromecast is also doing pretty well in this regard. Its apps are also in thousands. However, the support for the casting platform varies between PCs, Android and iOS platforms which can be very annoying at times. However, Chromecast does enjoy a slight edge here. Unlike Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV stick, any app can be Chromecast enabled if the developer allows for it too. However, Chromecast still cat natively play Amazon Prime Instant Video. Thus, its challenge to Roku falls flat, and it remains the undisputed king of the app mountain.
Roku has an amazingly user-friendly interface to the extent that it might even seem “bubbly” to some. On the other hand, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is a bit more to the techno-flash side. However, even Amazon has kept the demands of the consumers in mind, and the device is pretty easy to use. Chromecast has a lot of functionality via the home app, but it doesn’t have a UI per se. Unlike the other two devices, Chromecast requires you to navigate content from your smartphone, tablet or whatever device you choose to cast your content from. Prima facie, it might seem a bit outdated and hard to use as compared to the other devices, but it should effortlessly fulfill your needs as long as you are comfortable with the device that you choose for casting.
Winner: Tie between Roku and Amazon
Now, comes the big question. Which device among these won’t burn a hole in your pocket? Roku is the most affordable which is priced at just $30. Before you immediately submit to the magic of Roku, let me make another suggestion here. Fire V Stick comes with voice-enabled remote control. At merely $40, Amazon provides you access to amazing A.I. Still, consumers can’t take their eyes off the unbelievably low prices of Roku couples with the extensive features.