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- Roku’s product lineup of streaming devices is getting bigger, and there are many ways to get 4K HDR support at a price point that fits your budget.
- The Roku Streaming Stick+ is very similar to other Roku devices and even has Wi-Fi support, making it great for areas where Wi-Fi can be spotty.
- The Streaming Stick+ is pretty cheap too — you can get 4K and HDR streaming for under $60. It’s a great pick for those who want a simple way to stream without additional hardware.
Roku’s product lineup has expanded a ton over the past few years, and the company basically offers a streaming device for any price range.
The Roku Ultra is a high-end version at $100, and offers smart features, 4K HDR support, voice control, and more. The Roku Premiere is considerably less expensive at $30 but still offers 4K HDR support. Then there’s the Roku Streaming Stick+, which is a nice in-between model at $60 and has some helpful features with more streamlined hardware.
But is the Streaming Stick+ really worth buying, or should you save your money for the Premiere, or pay a little extra for the Ultra? We’ve been using the Streaming Stick+ for a while to find out how it compares to the rest.
That’s to say that it plugs right into your TV’s HDMI port similar to a USB drive, but unlike a USB, it does require power. You can use a USB cable to plug it into your TV’s USB port, if it has one, or an extension cable and a power adapter in case your TV doesn’t.
The Streaming Stick+ itself is pretty sleek. It measures around 3.7 inches long and 0.8 inches wide, and as such it shouldn’t protrude too much from the TV and will only be visible a small amount. For some TV models, it may be better to use a rear-facing HDMI port than a side-facing one, if you have one available.
There’s also the design of the remote to consider, and if you’ve used any other Roku device, you’ll be immediately familiar with it. At the top, there are power and software controls, and playback controls toward the button. You’ll also get a voice button, meaning you can use the remote to control your Roku with your voice. It’s a nice touch and helpful for those who want to use voice commands more often.
Last but not least, there are buttons for apps like Netflix, Sling, Hulu, and PlayStation Vue.
- Stick measures 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.47 inches
- Voice control
- Supports 4K and HDR 10
- Supports up to 60 frames per second
Setting up the Streaming Stick+ is just as easy as setting up any other Roku device.
Plug it into your TV’s HDMI port, then connect a USB or power outlet. The device should then start up so you can set up your account. Doing so involves entering the code on your TV screen into your phone or computer, then logging in to your account, or creating a new one. You’ll then be able to select which apps, or "channels," you want installed on your device — you’ll probably want to deselect most of the ones that are pre-checked to streamline things.
In general, we think the vast majority of people will be able to set up the Streaming Stick+ quickly and easily. As someone who has used plenty of Roku devices before, it took five minutes, but for the uninitiated, we don’t think it will take longer than 15 minutes.
What makes it stand out
There are a number of things that make the Streaming Stick+ stand out, namely that it supports 4K and HDR10 for less than $60. Of course, that isn’t necessarily all that impressive when the Premiere does the same and is cheaper. There’s also the fact that both offer voice control on the remote.
So what makes the Streaming Stick+ unique? It uses better Wi-Fi technology at 802.11ac, meaning it should be a little better at streaming 4K video. It’s one of the faster versions of Wi-Fi, second only to the new Wi-Fi 6. And according to Roku, the device also has an "advanced wireless receiver," which means that it should be better at connecting to the Internet from a further distance.
The extra features, like voice control, are pretty helpful when your hands are tied. We would certainly recommend getting the Streaming Stick+ over the regular Streaming Stick because of the additional voice support, and Roku’s voice recognition is getting better and better.
Wi-Fi trickery aside, the Streaming Stick+ also offers Roku’s easy-to-use interface which is versatile and easy to navigate. That’s good news for those that don’t need all the bells and whistles, but just want to watch their favorite show.
Cons to consider
The Streaming Stick+ is a pretty nice device, but it’s not perfect.
For starters, while the Roku user interface is easy to navigate, it is starting to feel a little dated. Roku hasn’t given the interface a major update in some time now, and we’d like to see something new from the company. This has been a consistent point of feedback from me after reviewing most of the Roku lineup over the years.
The Streaming Stick+ is a pretty nice device but it can be hard to see why you should buy it over other Roku devices. Unless your TV is in a location with spotty Wi-Fi, you might be better off buying the Premiere+, which is slightly cheaper, or an Ultra, which is a little more expensive but also comprehensive, supports better audio, and has more features.
The bottom line
The Roku Streaming Stick+ is an excellent device for those who like the simplicity of Roku’s platform, need decent connectivity, and want 4K and HDR video support.
If your TV is near the router however, then you’re probably better off buying a Premiere+. Alternatively, if you don’t mind using an Amazon device instead of a Roku device, then the Amazon Fire TV Stick is worth considering, plus it’s a little cheaper too.
Pros: Nice form-factor, easy to use, easy to set up, good value for money
Cons: Interface design could use a refresh, alternatives offer similar features for less
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