Google’s latest media streamer — the Chromecast with Google TV — is quite the departure from previous iterations. In a good way. For starters, Google has finally included a remote control, a handy one with useful shortcut buttons for Netflix and YouTube. But more importantly, the latest Chromecast comes with its own user interface, dubbed Google TV. This means the Chromecast is now a standalone media streamer that does not need a separate device (smartphone, tablet or PC) to control it.
- Up to 4K resolution with HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision
- Remote control included
- Android TV platform with new Google TV interface
- Supports Google Assistant
Google TV is currently unique to the latest Chromecast. But underneath this new recommendation-centric interface is the same Android TV operating system used by TV makers such as Sony, Philips and TCL. In short, the thousands of apps on the Android TV platform are but a search away under the Apps tab in Google TV. The Home tab shows your installed apps at the top. Then, you have shows that you have watched halfway and shows that you may like from your streaming services. The key streaming apps are available, such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Apple TV+.
The Google TV interface is responsive with apps opening promptly. Case in point: The Disney+ app works much better than the slow and buggy Tizen version on my Samsung TV. You can also ask the Google Assistant — via the remote control’s microphone — to recommend shows, such as horror movies. However, these recommendations seem to be limited to certain streaming services if you’re outside the US. Picture quality is good. HDR10 videos from Disney+ and Netflix look bright and lively using the Chromecast, which also supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio.
Physically, the new Chromecast is an oval-shaped dongle with a short cable that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. You’ll need to use the included power brick — the Chromecast cannot be powered by the TV’s USB port. I really like the Bluetooth remote control, which can be configured to turn on/off the TV, as well as control the volume on my soundbar.
While Google has yet to launch its latest Chromecast in Singapore, there are plenty of importers that are keen to sell you one online. I bought mine (US version) on Shopee — it arrived promptly in two days — though Lazada, too, has several listings. Expect to pay around S$90 to S$100, which is more than the Chromecast’s US retail price (US$50). The better ones may toss in a three-pin power adapter for free, or even offer their own local warranty. But as with the case with imports, caveat emptor.