Roku Express Review 2020: Everything you need to know

Roku Home Screen

What is Roku Express? 

Roku Express is Roku’s most basic streaming device, but don’t let that fool you. This tiny product packs a punch, and at only $30, it’s the least expensive streaming device on the market.

Consumers love the Roku Express for its outstanding combination of affordability and quality. You can stream high-definition (HD) content from thousands of channels, and even find free movies and TV from Roku’s dedicated channel.

All Roku devices, the Roku Express included, run the Roku operating system. This ensures a bias-free user experience. Roku apps allow viewers to easily search various streaming services and channels to find the latest programs. Amazon Fire Stick and Google Chromecast, in contrast, provide similar functionalities but default to promoting their own programming.

For more details about the Roku Express’s setup and performance, check out the rest of this Roku Express review.

Roku Express with Packaging

How much does the Roku Express cost?

The Roku Express’s cost is one of its major selling points. The device retails for only $29.99, making it the cheapest option on the market. You can purchase it directly from Roku, or you can find it on Amazon. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can take advantage of two-day Prime shipping.

You can also find the Roku Express in most major superstores, including Walmart and BestBuy.

Compare Roku and Chromecast here.

What are the Roku Express features?

It’s not just Roku Express’s price that makes it a best-seller. The device has several standout features that set it apart from its competitors.

Easy Set Up

In a rare instance of making things as easy as possible for the consumer, the Roku Express comes with everything you need to set it up on the spot. That includes a 2-foot HDMI cable, power adapter, and USB power cable. But Roku didn’t stop there! The box even includes 2 AAA batteries for the remote and double-sided adhesive tape for the box.

Setting up the Roku Express is super easy. You have the option to plug the box directly into your TV using the USB cable — if your TV has a USB port. Alternatively, you can plug the Express into the wall using the power adapter.

After that, connect to the internet, and you’ll be ready to start streaming.

dad and daughters watching tv

Roku Express Design

Caught between being a stick and a box, the Roku Express is almost in its own category. Technically, it’s a box, but at just 1.5 inches across, it hardly feels obtrusive. Its size makes it easy to add it to any setup you already have. Use the adhesive tape Roku provides to attach the Express to your TV or media box.

There’s one catch — the Roku Express needs to be in sight of the remote to work. So, unfortunately, you can’t tuck it behind the TV. Still, the Express is so small, you’ll barely notice it wherever you put it.

For those who use Alexa or Google Assistant, the Roku Express is compatible with both devices, as well.

Roku Express Remote

The Roku Express remote design is simple. It has the standard back, home, directional, and playback buttons. They’re labeled and easy to recognize — no one should have trouble navigating this remote.

Each remote has four media buttons that differ upon the country where you’re located. In the US, they provide fast access to ESPN+, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV.

Unlike some of Roku’s more premium devices, there’s no option for private listening or voice searching directly from the remote. That said, you can download the Roku app to your smartphone to gain access to both features.

Roku Express Streaming quality

The Roku Express streams in 1080p and is capable of up-scaling from 720p. This is more than enough for viewing most shows and movies.

That said, if you have a large flatscreen and want to watch in 4K, the Roku Express isn’t going to cut it for you. You’ll want to upgrade to one of Roku’s premium devices, like the Roku Ultra.

Roku Express Content

The full range of content provided by the Roku Express stick is one of its most impressive features. Roku has over 500,000 movies and TV episodes across thousands of free and paid channels.

You can watch most major streaming platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, CBS All Access, Disney+, HBO, Hulu, and Netflix. Cord-cutters can also access live TV services like fubo TV and Sling TV.

Roku also offers free channels, including NBC News, PBS, The CW, and Tubi. Plus, Roku has its own channel, which streams free TV shows and movies (you just have to watch some ads).

stock 23 tv remote

Roku OS

In addition to the wide range of content, the other standout feature of the Roku Express is its operating software. Like all of Roku’s premium devices, the Express runs the full Roku OS, which means you get access to all of Roku’s apps and special functions.

Those special functions include a universal search option and the Roku Feed. If you’re interested in purchasing content, the universal search feature finds the best price on TV shows and movies across all apps. The Featured Free section shows what’s available for free on different services. Plus, the Roku Feed alerts you when new movies leave theaters and become available on different streaming services.

The final cut

The Roku Express is a no-brainer for anyone who wants a basic streaming device at a competitive price. It won’t hold up for serious streamers who need 4K streaming, but for those who just want to enjoy the latest episode of their favorite show, the Roku Express will more than do the job.