The Streaming Stick 4K is Roku’s top-of-the-range mannequin, however is competitively priced in comparison with rivals. With apps for many main streaming providers, voice help and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, there are many causes to purchase it.
It’s dearer than Roku’s Specific 4K, however not by a lot. And it does include a a lot better distant management.
However how does it evaluate to rivals, together with the Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max? Let’s discover out.
Design & Construct
Distant management with built-in mic
Suitable with the Roku distant management app
This Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a traditional stick/dongle, so it plugs straight into an HDMI enter in your TV. Streaming containers, in contrast, plug into an HDMI port by way of a cable.
It’s harking back to the Roku Streaming Stick+ design, with a matt black end. The stick additionally features a microUSB port for the ability cable, a handbook reset button, and an influence indicator mild.
Not like Amazon, Roku does not provide an HDMI extender cable within the field so you must plug it in on to an HDMI enter. That could possibly be a ache in case your TV’s ports face the wall and there is not a lot area. It is fairly slim and did not block the usage of adjoining ports on my TV, however the energy cable may get in the way in which of different HDMI cables.
It connects on the rear of the stick, however I discovered the ability cable – at slightly below 1.5m – was a bit too quick to succeed in the ability adapter on ground.
Alongside the stick, you get a Bluetooth distant management. As that is Roku’s flagship streaming stick, it comes with all of the bells and whistles. There are the playback, navigation and streaming platform buttons, plus quantity controls and an influence button on the aspect (which might management most TVs). The opposite further is a microphone button, which you press whenever you need to use you voice to go looking.
The distant can partly substitute your primary TV distant, although I typically had points with the mute button not working every now and then, although this might have been as a result of I used to be utilizing it to manage a sound bar somewhat than the TV. The general design is daring, chunky and straightforward to make use of – and the big, colored buttons make it far more user-friendly than the remotes supplied by rival Amazon.
You too can obtain the Roku distant management app in your telephone to manage your TV, which incorporates playback and voice instructions. There is no headphone jack on the distant, however you possibly can route sound by way of the app in your telephone, after which pay attention by way of Bluetooth headphones paired along with your telephone.
Software program, Compatibility & Efficiency
Dolby Imaginative and prescient, 4K, HDR10+ image high quality
Roku OS 10.5
Interface not as detailed as Amazon’s
Organising the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a breeze. As soon as it is plugged in, all you’ll want to do is hook up with the web by deciding on your Wi-Fi community, synchronise the distant to your TV (you merely comply with the directions on display), sign up to your Roku account (or create one) and select which channels and streaming platforms you need in your homepage.
The stick runs Roku OS 10.5, which features a part for music and podcasts, an enlargement on the providers that help voice instructions (together with Netflix and Spotify), in addition to enhancements to the Roku cellular app.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K can be utilized on HD, 4K and 4K HDR TVs. It has help for HDR10+ and HLG as much as 60fps. The stick can be able to upscaling from 720p and 1080p. In order for you 4K, you will have a 4K TV with an HDMI enter that helps HDCP 2.2.
If you’re uncertain of how one can examine this (and your TV’s ports aren’t clearly labelled), try our HDMI information, in addition to Roku’s personal help pages.
One of many largest sights of this gadget is the help for Dolby Imaginative and prescient. Once more, to profit, your TV should help this HDR format. Roku has additionally confirmed that it helps Dolby Atmos, although your TV should have this function for it to indicate within the settings. The gadget additionally has Dolby-encoded audio.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K contains voice help for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled units, and compatibility with Apple HomeKit, permitting you to manage the stick by way of Siri or on the Apple Dwelling app. The voice management on these units means that you can launch streaming channels, seek for films and exhibits and management playback.
Apple customers can use AirPlay 2 to stream content material from their iPhone, iPad or Mac. In the meantime, Android customers may also forged content material by way of display mirroring – you will must pair your telephone with the Roku gadget to permit entry.
With Roku, you get the vast majority of the foremost streaming apps equivalent to Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Spotify, Now, All 4, My 5 and extra. There are just a few providers lacking, together with the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform, Twitch.
Roku additionally contains sections for various genres equivalent to instructional apps, journey apps and extra. If you’re after one thing subscription-free, then The Roku Channel has 1000’s of hours value of content material, together with Hell’s Kitchen and the brand new launch, Swimming with Sharks.
Every thing on the Roku homepage is clearly laid out, with sections on your apps, the settings in your TV and extra. It has much less of a give attention to self-promotion like Amazon does and contains the choice to customize the homepage by altering the background and screensaver.
That mentioned, it’s missing in relation to movie and TV suggestions. While you possibly can manually ‘comply with’ content material, Amazon contains total sections devoted to exhibits and movies primarily based on what you’ve got watched, with out you having to open any apps or take any further steps.
The Streaming Stick 4K has Wi-Fi 5 which Roku says is as much as twice as quick as earlier units from the model.
Because of this, and the speedy processor powering the Stick 4K, I encountered no lag or points: it was responsive and all of the apps I used ran easily.
The voice management can be spectacular inside apps. It makes it fast to seek for issues on YouTube, particularly in comparison with utilizing the on-screen keyboard from the distant which is extraordinarily tedious.
I want that Roku had the choice to vary what kind of adverts present up on the interface. I saved getting Fox Information adverts, however had no real interest in watching it. I would like to have one thing extra related to my pursuits.
Pricing & Availability
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is accessible now and prices £49.99/$49.99. You should purchase it from Roku, Amazon and Currys within the UK, and Roku, Amazon and Finest Purchase within the US.
That is £10/$10 greater than the Roku Specific 4K. Nevertheless, for that you simply get energy and quantity buttons on the distant, plus voice management, making it a extra versatile and accessible choice.
For less than barely extra money, there’s Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max. This rival features a extra detailed homepage with a variety of TV and movie suggestions, in addition to built-in Alexa with picture-in-picture help with Ring doorbells. You may learn our full overview of the Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max.
For different alternate options, see our roundup of finest streaming sticks and containers.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is likely one of the best-value dongles out there proper now. The distant management has all the pieces you want, together with voice help, and Roku’s easy interface make this an excellent gadget for first-time customers of streaming sticks.
Though it has help for Dolby Imaginative and prescient, 4K, HDR10+ content material and Dolby Atmos help, it does not fairly stack up in opposition to Amazon’s Fireplace TV Stick 4K Max, which boasts good house integration with Alexa, and higher movie and TV suggestions on the homepage. It is also a disgrace the ability cable is not only a bit longer, and that there is not an HDMI extender within the field.
If this stuff do not trouble you, it is an important purchase.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K: Specs
4K, HDR10+, Dolby Imaginative and prescient
1080P as much as 60fps
802.11ac MIMO dual-band Wi-Fi
Assist for Google Assistant and Alexa
Apple AirPlay and Homekit intergration
HDMI 2.0b, USB for Energy & Lengthy-range Wi-Fi receiver
DTS digital sound, Dolby-encoded audio and Dolby Atmos
Distant with energy, quantity and voice controls