the desired evolution – The test

the desired evolution – The test
the desired evolution – The test

Between Google, Apple, Roku, and Amazon, it’s safe to say that the tech giants are having a hard time in the streaming device market. Of the lot, the subsidiary of Alphabet has done well from the start with its Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra, but an update was necessary. So here comes the Chromecast with Google TV equipped with a complete interface and a nice remote control. Is this the next step we expected to enhance the experience of its users.

Technical specifications of Chromecast with Google TV

Colors – Snow, Aurora, Sky
Dimensions – 162 x 61 x 12.5 mm
Weight – 55 g
Resolution – Up to 4K HDR at 60 fps
Operating system – SE Android TV
Video formats – Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10 + for exceptional image quality
Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2,4 GHz/5 GHz)
– Bluetooth
Ports – HDMI interface for direct connection to the TV
– USB type C power supply
Price at launch – 69,99 $ CAD

Let’s start with the installation

With this kind of product, I always like to look at the ease of installation. Streaming devices are the go-to tool for cutting the cord with cable companies and the easier it is to use, the more people will change. However, the Chromecast with Google TV is certainly very easy to use.

To install it, just make two connections. The first is via HDMI that must be plugged behind the Chromecast and into an HDMI input on your television (or your receiver). The second is, of course, the power cable which is fairly standard and benefits from a good length.

The instructions follow to pair your small controller to the device, which is very easy. The rest is mostly done through the Google Home app on your phone. Between the configuration of home automation, voice recognition and the installation of popular applications, everything is done during this same step. So that in the end, the device is ready for use and it only takes a few minutes.

The only problem I had on my side with the pairing is the controller that can be associated with the television and the receiver. In my case, I had a problem with the association of the “input” button to change input on my receiver with the controller. Unfortunately, the Chromecast with Google TV does not adequately recognize my Onkyo receiver and therefore I cannot take advantage of this function on the remote. It’s a shame, because I use this button a lot to switch between devices.

Google and its particular look

Second, I’m not a huge fan of the design of the Chromecast. I don’t really explain why the company continues to make hanging devices instead of a key. I imagine it’s because the components are bigger and we want to avoid taking up too much space around the HDMI input. But at the same time, if Amazon and Roku can do it, why can’t Google? Fortunately, even if we don’t like the design, it is usually hidden behind the TV so it looks less.

On the other hand, I love the color choices and attention to detail not only for the Chromecast with Google TV, but for this whole new line. For my part, Google sent me the Aurora color version and it looks pastel, which I really appreciate. What’s more, the remote control benefits from the same color as the batteries included which is a nice touch.

Chromecast with Google TV Aurore

Strongly the remote control

There are things that are here for good. Although Google tried to replace the need for a remote control with your phone when the first Chromecast was released, now it is resurfacing with this new version. And, frankly, it’s for the best because it’s still the most efficient and intuitive tool to navigate.

In the case of Chromecast with Google TV, the controller has 8 buttons and a wheel to scroll the cursor. We can therefore go back, use the Google Assistant via our voice, put in mute mode, return to home, access YouTube or Netflix, press Power or change entry. And, on the side, there are two buttons to play with the sound. In short, there is really everything you need and the choice of YouTube and Netflix buttons perfectly matches my needs.

Chromecast with Google TV Remote Control

Perhaps the most interesting of all of this is Google’s voice assistance. This allows us to search for exactly the content we want and it understands very well. Even when I changed from English to French, the device and the search system adapted perfectly. In short, I really appreciate the remote control.

An experience transformed by the interface

Then, the biggest strength of Chromecast with Google TV is undoubtedly its interface. I’ve preferred the Fire TV Cube over the past few months precisely because of the interface and the remote, but I’m now ready to go back to Google.

Everything goes through Google TV which in fact is the equivalent of a modified version of the Android TV interface. There are several relevant tabs starting with content selected specifically for us and therefore following Google’s algorithms. The device will therefore look for some recommendations in each of the main applications that I use. I like this tab because the choices are varied and indeed correspond to the kind of content that I like to listen to.

Chromecast with Google TV Interface

Subsequently, we find the applications that we downloaded and, on that, it is quite well provided even if there are some omissions that I find major such as Stadia which will not arrive until 2021. The line following allows us to continue our viewings, regardless of the platform. We then fall into the trends on Google which are still very interesting and topical and then dive into different categories of recommendations.

Overall I like it a lot although I had a few bugs or delays with the research. In my opinion, this is the interface that offered me the most content that fell to my tastes until today.

It feels a bit weird to finish my test with probably the most important parts of the Chromecast with Google TV. First, we can say that it completely replaces the Chromecast Ultra not only because of its hyper affordable price, but also thanks to its use of cutting-edge technologies.

This new model is therefore armed with all the novelties necessary to enjoy your entertainment to its fullest. Indeed, it takes advantage of 4K up to 60 fps in addition to enjoying HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos image. I know not everyone has a compatible TV, but if you’re as lucky as I am, the entertainment experience will be great. And if not, you’ll at least be ready for the future by the time you change your model.

In my opinion, HDR10 + is by far the element that improves the experience the most. The depth of the white and black contrasts is rich and effectively allows us to have an exceptional image. What’s more, if you have a Dolby Atmos audio system like me, the sound performance is also at its best. In short, in addition to some slowdowns and research problems, this new Chromecast is very powerful.

Verdict on Chromecast with Google TV

To conclude, we can say that Google has come back with a new Chromecast better than ever. Even though there are some relatively minor flaws, it will provide its users with an enhanced experience that has nothing to envy its competitors. With, in addition, a very affordable cost, the Chromecast with Google TV should be at the top of your list for the purchase of a future device of streaming.

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