Two years after the launch of the original Chromecast, Google has released an updated Chromecast: Chromecast (2015), which includes a fresh new design, hardware and accompanied app. It carries the same $35 price as the original Chromecast while improving just about everything.
The design is now like that of a hockey puck with a cable that can be magnetically attached to the base to form a loop, which can be good if you’re going to hang it on something like a backpack. It can be purchased in various colors such as red, yellow, and black. But since it will be plugged in the back of your TV, it honestly won’t matter which color Chromecast you select. So if you’re in the store, don’t worry about picking your favorite color. Trust me, it’s not really worth it. With the fresh, new design, there is now an HDMI cable attached to the base of the Chromecast and it does not require any HDMI extension cable as it should be able to plug into any HDMI port without any issues.
The redesigned Chromecast app may be one of the biggest improvements to Chromecast. It now gives you access to what’s on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, TED Talks, Comedy Central, and other compatible Chromecast apps in general. So you can cast and view content directly from this What’s On section. There’s also a Device section where it will show you all the connected Chromecast devices including Chromecast Audio. This is the tab where you’ll be able to connect a Chromecast device. But what’s new is that you can control the volume and the playback controls of whatever you’re casting directly from the Chromecast app itself. It’s pretty great. But what makes the Chromecast better than the original Chromecast is a century that it’s faster.
The new version adds dual band, 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi which will help load content faster without as much lag and buffering. The highest quality available to stream is 1080p HD video with surround sound audio, no 4K content unfortunately but that won’t probably a deal breaker for most people, I’m assuming; especially considering the $35 price tag of this device.
Compared to the original Chromecast, the new Chromecast is noticeably quicker at pulling content off the Cloud and streaming it. But here’s the thing, you probably won’t notice the difference if you have blazing fast internet. If your internet is roughly 50Mbps or slower (give or take, it’s a rough estimate), then you will notice the difference more. If your internet speed happens to be faster than around 50Mbps, you probably won’t really notice that much of a difference because your internet is fast enough to stream high quality content.
So that’s truly how I want to wrap up this review of the 2015 Chromecast. I want to make it really simple for you. If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly method of streaming content from your mobile smartphone, tablet or PC, then buy the new Chromecast. If you’re considering upgrading from the original Chromecast, I would say it’s unnecessary if you experience a lot of lag and buffering. Since the app has been updated to include the new features to both the new and original Chromecast, I would lean more on the side of not upgrading immediately and maybe wait for some sleek holiday deals where you can get the new Chromecast for even less money. That’s my recommendation.