Google’s little media streaming disc has been hard at work behind tellies for years now.
For the uninitiated few, the Chromecast is Google’s streaming solution that plugs into your telly’s HDMI port and lets you stream apps like Netflix, Google Photos and more from a host of supported devices straight to your TV. It doesn’t pick any sides so iOS and Android junkies will do just fine with one of these.
It’s been three long years since we’ve seen any upgrades so Google decided 2018 was the Chromecast’s time to shine yet again. Albeit without much fanfare. Minor updates that add up in a big way could mean there’s enough cause for celebration. We’ll see about that...
DESIGN: CUTE AND COMPACT
For something that’s forever going to be hidden in the shadow of the screen it’s plugged into, the Chromecast’s design is a trivial detail. Yet, Google’s been careful not to come across as lazy in that department. You still get the familiar compact disc-shaped streamer attached to a short, flexible HDMI cable that plugs into the HDMI port and draws power from a USB port or straight off a wall socket via the bundled adapter.
Gone are the days of the previous generation’s plasticky build. In its place is a premium silk matte finish that’s soft to the touch and brings its design up to speed with modern times. In international markets you get to choose between Charcoal and Chalk which is essentially Black or White, but here in India you’re stuck with the former. That shouldn’t really matter though, because remember Michael Jackson’s wise words about colour? Precisely.
SETUP: FAST AND EASY
You couldn’t muck up the Chromecast’s setup even if you wanted to. Once it’s plugged into your telly’s HDMI port and powered via USB / a wall socket, the rest of process involves downloading the Google Home app on your phone to complete the setup. The app merely adds the Chromecast to your home Wi-Fi and that’s it. It’s ready to go.
For those of you still wondering, the Chromecast doesn’t actually beam content from your phone. It does that via a direct connection to the internet. Your phone acts as a mere remote control, the familiarity of its UI bringing you up to speed in no time rather than fumbling around with a fiddly remote. You can choose to cast from your tablet / computer or Google Home device as well.
FEATURES: MINOR TWEAKS ONLY
PICTURE AND SOUND: SOLID PERFORMANCE
This third-gen Chromecast supports 1080p video which may sound a bit 2000 and late to some of you enthusiasts but works well for most folk. Of course, you can always stretch yourself to a 4K Chromecast Ultra for a bit extra. Far as picture and video are concerned, there’s seldom any room for complaint save for absolute detail in dark scenes.
Hook up the Chromecast to a compatible speaker system and it shines just as bright with support for Dolby 5.1 playback through supported apps. That covers all necessary basics giving the new Chromecast solid credentials.
Google Chromecast (2018): Verdict
This tiny little gadget can change your life in enormous ways. It’s a no-brainer setup, streams your favourite content without delay, and doesn’t force you to learn your way around a new remote control allowing your smartphone to perform that duty instead.
Previous gen Chromecast owners won’t see much value in the upgrade but first-time users have tons to be excited about. The fact that all this streaming joy will set you back no more than a little over three grand, we’d say, stream on.