The best Roku Streaming Stick 4K and 4K + review around

Roku Streaming Stick 4K and 4K + review

“Hey Roku, eat my shorts.”
Photo: Eric Vilas-Boas

If you’ve dreamed of whispering sweet words to your Roku remote and hearing it respond to you, now is your chance. The company launched new devices this month – the Streaming Stick 4K ($ 50) and the Streaming Stick 4K + ($ 70) – and Vulture got their hands on both for a week of testing our privacy and our eyes with what they can offer. The big plus point: Roku is still good at iterating its clean, user-friendly interface and application software. The downside: The hardware we played with seemed enough to convince a streaming newbie to give it a go, but not enough to warrant an upgrade or change from an already working setup.

Of course, there are still a lot of questions regarding these new gadgets. Are the remotes different? Is one of them beeping you? And doesn’t Roku itself have more affordable alternatives – also confusedly referred to as 4K + models?

This calls for an investigation. We have attempted to answer the most pressing questions below.

The new Roku models are identical except for their remotes. The 4K + comes with a Voice Remote Pro with a headphone jack for private listening charged via USB. Controlling your remote to do things is fun and can lead to faster, more merciful death when Skynet comes to roost.

The 4K remote control is a clicker, clear and simple. Its AAA batteries seem a bit outdated considering that Apple, Amazon, and Google all now have rechargeable remotes (except for the base model Chromecast, which comes without a remote).

It should work on the vast majority of screens large enough to support 4K and below. We tested it on both a 4K display and a years-old 1080p display and both looked crisp and perfectly broadcast. (We saw a review that reported Wi-Fi connection issues, but we’ve never had a single one in a week spent with both 4K and 4K +.) For your 8K TV, you might want to be waiting for 8K streaming to actually become a thing.

Roku was once called a “platform agnostic”. It’s a good way to wash your hands of any drama between, say, Netflix or HBO Max, if it ever happens. Roku may have its own streaming options, like the free Roku channel, but it literally packs in thousands of apps, including important apps with their own hardware, like Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV +, or niche animations like HiDive because it doesn’t. favorites.

The Stick is as long as a credit card and just a bit wider and thicker than the HDMI port it plugs into – it’s not so much a streaming box as it is a dongle. The space behind most televisions will not be an issue. The only thing you’ll want to note is the USB power cord, which is also the Wi-Fi antenna (hard to replace, so don’t break it). It’s about five feet long, so you’ll have to think about where you want the cord to go.

Photo: Eric Vilas-Boas

They can probably handle it. Give them credit. Roku’s interface and setup instructions are very straightforward. Fifteen minutes after opening the boxes, we were ready to go. The trickiest thing is to create a (free) Roku account to link to the device. You can also download a Roku app that will connect via Bluetooth so you can type on a real phone keyboard instead of clicking arrows on a screen. Then just log into Netflix and launch Longmire for the Wyoming prairies and the cranky cowboys.

It’s larger than Apple TV remotes and Amazon Fire Stick remotes, which can be useful if you tend to misplace yours. The Voice Remote Pro also does this thing where if you lose track of it you can ask where it is and it will sound a little alarm. My parents would love this. I lost all of their remotes growing up.

Empathy is not her strong suit, but she is attentive. Here’s what we asked and how he responded:

• “Hey, Roku, turn it on.” Both the TV and the Roku are on.

• “Hey, Roku, Hitchcock movie from 1960.” Reply: “No result found.”

• “Hey, Roku, Alfred Hitchcock movie from 1960.” Open the search page. First film: psychopath.

• “Hey, Roku, Disney Channel Original with Kyla Pratt.” First result: The proud family.

• “Hey, Roku, Gargoyles. ” First result: Gargoyles.

• “Hey, Roku, the Gargoyles ‘Awakening’ episode. Reply: “No results found.”

• “Hey, Roku, 1950s westerns.” Movies on the search page: Western Man, Sitting Bull, Saddle Man, High Midi – all available free of charge.

• “Hey, Roku, can you change the language to Mandarin?” ” Reply: “You can request to turn closed captions on, off and off during replay.”

• “Hey, Roku: handsome man.” Two first results: Handsome devil, streaming on Netflix. Third: 1917, directed by Sam Mendes.

• “Hey, Roku, Paul Walter Hauser.” First movie on the search page: Cruel.

• “Hey, Roku, eat my shorts.” Opens the Roku page from Ron Howard’s 1976 film Eat my dust!, available for free on Tubi and the Roku channel.

Yes, but it’s more fun on the playground and knows the movies. Count for something.

Well, it’s like a second remote, and the company updated it so it can also take your voice commands and save items to lists to play back later. It’s also better to pair with bluetooth headphones now, reduce lag, and match mouth sounds.

Photo: Eric Vilas-Boas



Indeed, he did. The 2021 model of the Roku Express 4K + currently costs $ 30 and has the same apps and almost all of the same features. It’s slower and lighter, but it also streams in 4K, although it doesn’t support some of the same tech standards.

If you don’t know what they are, they probably won’t affect you that much. But the simplest explanation is that Roku added HDR10 + and Dolby Vision image formats to its devices this year. On some movies and movies, the format will record information through your device to help display things differently. (“Better” is subjective here; HDR does very little for me personally.)

One thing most people might care about more is Wi-Fi 6 – a new, faster standard for internet speed. Roku has promised faster speeds for the Streaming Stick, and it appears to have been the case. we had no connection or lag issues in the vulture test. But if you already have some sort of streaming setup and you don’t notice any issues, I wouldn’t be too worried about this one either.

Roku has the best mix of interface and layout in the game, for my money. Having said that, even though $ 50 is not a parcel, this is too much for incremental updates. And $ 70 is definitely too high to get a Pro voice remote.

I would expect a discount, or – if I really I needed a hookup after my smart TV or PS4 Pro failed – I would get that $ 30 Roku Express 4K +. It even comes with its own voice remote. But it won’t beep when you call it no matter how much you like it.

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