In this technological era, it seems like everything ranging from devices to appliances is required to be “smart.” Even our very own television sets aren’t exempted from this seemingly far-fetched dream. To keep up with the increasing need for functionality, tech makers have made varying gadgets that can enhance the implements we already have at home.
Modern televisions have been designed with built-in streaming hardware so the user can watch content from Netflix, YouTube, and other sites. However, older televisions don’t have the feature and need streaming devices such as Chromecast, Roku, and Fire TV to join the bandwagon. You just have to connect the dongle to your TV and you’re good to go!
Chromecast Ultra vs Roku vs Fire TV
Roku was the first one to create a streaming device back in 2008. Google and Amazon followed suit and introduced their own gadgets in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Google Chromecast Ultra, which was released in 2016, packed an additional feature which puts itself on top of its rivals.
The Chromecast Ultra lets you access the TV content using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Search what you want to see from the web and with just a click, it gets cast on the television. Simply put, whatever flashed in your phone or computer screen appears on the TV.
As easy to use as it is, the Chromecast Ultra is certainly a device to consider. However, how does it fare when put against its predecessor, the Chromecast 2? And if you are a proud owner of the Chromecast 2, is it a good idea to upgrade? Let’s find out in this Chromecast Ultra vs Chromecast 2 comparison article.
For most people, the Chromecast dongle’s design isn’t a big deal. Well, it would just spend a great deal of time at the back of your TV so as long as it does its job of casting content well, looks doesn’t matter. Apparently, we’ll still discuss their difference for us to be able to distinguish one from the other.
Google Chromecast 2 Design
When comparing the Chromecast 2 to its predecessor, the first-gen Chromecast, you can spot a lot of differences design-wise. The Chromecast 2 is undoubtedly way more beautiful than the chunky Chromecast clad in a plastic body.
It comes with a rounded chassis with the traditional Chrome logo embellished on the side. It is offered in several eye-popping colors such as Coral and Lemonade and the usual Black paint job.
Google Chromecast Ultra Design
The Chromecast 2 and the latest Chromecast Ultra have the same design language we loved. The latter still retains the circular form factor and has the HDMI cable magnetically attached on its back. The only noticeable difference is that the iconic Chrome logo is replaced by the Google branding. Currently, it is only available in Black hue.
They are similar when it comes to the design. With only the logo as the difference, we can’t tell that one is better than the other. Color variants are expected to expand over time.
More than the physical appearance, considering the internals of a device before the purchase is the best thing you can do. By doing this, you would be able to reflect whether it’s a good choice to shell out some of your hard-earned money on a product or not.
Google Chromecast 2 Specs
The Chromecast 2 flashes content on your TV in Full-HD, that is, 1920 x 1080 pixels. It means that even if your television is capable of 4K videos, the content will be limited to Full-HD. On the other hand, if you’re using an HD TV, the content will be downscaled to 1280 x 720 pixels.
There’s a Marvell Armada 1500 Mini Plus chipset, which was manufactured based on ARM architecture, placed inside the package. RAM is 512 MB while the onboard storage is rated at 256 MB.
Google Chromecast Ultra Specs
As what was previously promised by Google, the Chromecast Ultra arrived with 4K capabilities, also, thanks to the 4K-capable processor running at the helm. To put all your worries to rest, the Chromecast Ultra isn’t exclusive to 4K TV owners. Even if you’re using an HD or Full-HD TV, you can still have the Chromecast Ultra.
The only downside, however, is that the content will still be scaled down to fit your TV’s maximum display resolution. In short, it’s not a good choice to buy this streaming device unless you have a 4K TV with HDR support or planning to purchase one. If you are not, we advise you to stick to the Chromecast 2 and it will save you a few bucks in the process.
Winner: Google Chromecast Ultra
The Chromecast Ultra’s innards are compatible with the best televisions on offer nowadays. With 4K and HDR support, it should make images sharper and offer an experience almost similar to that of a cinema. Apparently, you’ll just benefit from the Chromecast Ultra’s maximum capacity on a compatible television set.
How does a streaming device enables the television to connect to the web? Of course, using Wi-Fi and other connectivity-related mechanisms. It’s one of the most important factors you should consider before you decide to buy one. We’ll see how the Google Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Ultra fare in this category.
Google Chromecast 2 Connectivity
The Chromecast 2 supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. You can connect it to a 5V/1A power supply using a micro-USB cable. If the TV can’t supply power, you can opt to use the adapter and the 1.75-meter cable included in the package. You can also choose to buy an ethernet adapter instead, which will grant a faster and more stable network connection.
Google Chromecast Ultra Connectivity
It’s a no-brainer to think that in order to stream a very high video content such as 4K, you need to have an insanely-fast and stable connection. Just like the Chromecast 2, the Chromecast Ultra comes with support for Wi-Fi 802.11ac at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Better yet, it boasts a 1×2 SIMO antenna and a built-in ethernet port for lightning-fast network speeds and low latency.
Winner: Google Chromecast Ultra
Between the two, the Chromecast Ultra offers a faster network speed and added functionalities which would impact the connectivity aspect greatly. Also, you don’t have to purchase a different ethernet port as the Chromecast Ultra has one available out-of-the-box.
Aside from those mentioned above, the two streaming devices still have a lot more to offer. What are the features that the Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Ultra have in common? How do they differ? Check the comparison here:
Google Chromecast 2 Features
Starting with the Chromecast 2, mirroring is now available on Google’s streaming gadgets. For starters, the mirroring functionality “mirrors” whatever is on your screen so basically, you can’t proceed to do your stuff while your phone is connected to the TV. Casting, on the other hand, only requires to send the content to the television and lets you do your thing afterward.
Google Chromecast Ultra Features
The Chromecast Ultra works perfectly with Google Home smart speaker. Considering that the Chromecast Ultra doesn’t come in with a remote control, the Google Home can function like one by allowing the user to play, pause, and skip videos. The Chromecast Ultra also supports Dolby Vision to enhance the viewing experience even more.
Winner: Google Chromecast Ultra
The Chromecast Ultra has all the features the Chromecast 2 carries and more. The added functionalities should improve the overall experience and complement the setup very well.
Casting My Vote on Google Chromecast Ultra vs Chromecast 2
When asked which one of the two is better, the answer is crystal clear: the Google Chromecast Ultra. Higher-end specs, faster and more stable connectivity, additional features- all these will greatly impact the performance, for the better.
By paying $69, the Chromecast Ultra is all yours. It is worth mentioning, however, that the Chromecast 2’s price is almost doubled. The latter is only priced at $35. While it might seem a little pricey when compared to its predecessor, the Chromecast Ultra’s pricing is still cheap for devices with 4K support.
So, would I recommend the Chromecast Ultra? Yes, if you own a 4K TV with HDR support. Like I said before, you still can get the most out of the Chromecast Ultra if you only have an HD or Full-HD television.
Related: Android Mirror Cast
The Chromecast 2 is a great device as well and it will suit your Full-HD TV even more. For a faster network speed, choose to buy an ethernet cable worth $15. In just a total of $50, you can have a fitting streaming gadget and fast connection, saving you at least 19 bucks.
Did you find our suggestion beneficial? How did this Chromecast Ultra vs Chromecast 2 comparison article help you? Tell us in the comments and we’ll be glad to connect with you.