Google Chromecast Review 2020: Everything you need to know

What is Google Chromecast?

Google Chromecast is a device that lets you cast videos from your phone or laptop to your TV without sacrificing picture quality. Since it first came out in 2013, Google has made several upgrades and changes to the original model.

The latest version, the 3rd Generation model, works 15% faster than the previous version and plays high definition (HD) videos at up to 60 frames per second (fps) on large screens. So you no longer have to squint to enjoy movies and shows. 

It even lets you mirror your phone or laptop screen, allowing you to surf the web or finish up urgent work with better clarity. With hundreds of Chromecast apps to choose from, this device lets you access media, listen to songs and podcasts, play games, and watch movies and shows.

Google Chromecast pricing

Google Chromecast costs $35. Besides the official Google store, you can also get it from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target for around the same price.

Google Chromecast features 

Google Chromecast packs a punch with powerful features in a compact frame. It competes with high-end streaming devices like Apple TV. Take a detailed look at the standout features of this device to see if it’s a good fit for you:

Compact and sleek design

At just 2.04 inches in diameter, Google Chromecast features a compact circular design that doesn’t take up too much space. The device is sleek and ultra-minimalist, having only the essentials like an HDMI connector and a USB power input. And since it only weighs 1.41 oz, it won’t put too much strain on HDMI cables or the HDMI port on your TV.

Easy setup

The device is easy to setup. Just plug in the USB cable and connect it to a power outlet. Then plug in the HDMI connector to your TV and follow the steps you see on your screen to finish.

Supports HD streaming

Google Chromecast lets you stream HD content on your phone or laptop. The device offers up to 1080p at 60fps image quality, delivering vivid and crisp pictures on both small and large screens. Although this doesn’t measure up to 4K high-dynamic-range (HDR) streaming, you still get an exceptional viewing experience nonetheless.

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Screen mirroring capabilities

Chromecast also comes with the capability to mirror your laptop, mobile, or tablet display, letting you access your media or surf the web on a bigger screen. This provides clear and vivid pictures if you ever need to finish up urgent work, share vacation photos with dinner guests, or take your presentation to the big screen.

Hundreds of apps and lots of content

Chromecast works with hundreds of apps, allowing you to get live sports broadcasts, listen to your favorite songs and podcasts, play video games, and watch movies and TV shows. Some leading Chromecast apps include:

  • TV and Movies – Get access to your favorite streaming services such as Crunchyroll, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. It even comes with dedicated apps for channels like Comedy Central, EPIX, Nick, SHOWTIME, and STARZ.
  • Music and Audio – Listen to your favorite songs and access personal playlists on Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, and YouTube Music. Chromecast also comes with radio and podcast apps like BeyondPod, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Pocket Casts, and Slacker Radio.
  • Photos and Videos – Access your media library and watch videos using AllCast, Chrome, Facebook, Google Photos, TED, and YouTube.
  • Fun and Games – Play popular games including Alien Invaders, Angry Birds GO!, Deer Hunter 2018, and Monopoly: Here & Now. Gamers will also love the ability to access Twitch through Google Chromecast.
  • Sports – Get live updates on the biggest sporting events through CBS Sports, ESPN, FOX Sports GO, MLB.TV, NFL Sunday Ticket, and more. 

Hands-free control with Google Assistant integration

Although Google Chromecast doesn’t come with a separate remote, your phone or tablet will let you control what you see on the screen. It also comes with Google Assistant integration to process voice commands. So you can easily control the device settings without lifting a finger.

Use your voice to access your favorite apps, control volume levels, find content to watch, rewind to a certain part of a show, and more.

Integrates with other Google smart devices

Chromecast works with a bunch of Google smart devices, mainly the Nest series of accessories. For instance, it lets you cast Nest Hello Doorbell and Nest cameras feeds to your TV screen, giving you a clear picture of what’s going on outside. And you can sync it with Nest Hub Max to keep watching the same video when you move from one room to the other.

The same goes for music and podcast streams if you integrate the device with your Nest speakers. The functionality lets you keep listening to songs and podcast episodes as you move from room to room.

The final cut

Considering its competitive price point and powerful features, Google Chromecast is an excellent basic streaming device. It may not offer 4K streaming, but it still delivers excellent picture quality and works with hundreds of apps, including Disney+, Hulu, Sling TV, and STARZ.

That’s more than enough if you don’t necessarily need the premium user experience that devices like Apple TV 4K deliver. You can also compare it with alternatives like the Amazon Fire Stick and the Roku Streaming Stick to see which one fits you best.