Google Chromecast review

Smarten up your TV

8 / 10 (Very Good)

by

Test Duration: 4 months

Google Chromecast device

The Good

  • Turns your TV into a Smart TV!
  • Cheap
  • Supports multiple Chromecasts on the same network
  • HDMI CEC

The Bad

  • No dedicated remote control
  • Can be slow to sync up at first
  • Overall app support could be better
  • Needs a power supply which adds bulk

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What is Google Chromecast?

The Chromecast by Google is a small Wi-Fi dongle that plugs into a spare HDMI port of your TV. What it allows you to do is turn any TV into a Smart TV.

It's a really cheap and effective way to watch internet based video services such as Netflix, Now TV & YouTube on your TV.

How does the Chromecast work?

The Chromecast doesn't come with a remote control so how do you operate it? Well it works by syncing up with either a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Your smartphone for example effectively becomes your remote control and your menu system for serving up what you want to watch.

You basically need 3 components for this to work:

  • A TV with a spare HDMI port
  • A smartphone, tablet or computer
  • A Wi-Fi router

Google Chromecast setup guide

Here's how to setup your Google Chromecast

  • Plug the Chromecast dongle into a spare HDMI port
  • The Chromecast requires a power source, so plug the supplied power cable into the back of the Chromecast and either plug the other end into a wall socket, or even better if your TV has a USB socket, it can be plugged directly into that.
  • If you're using a smartphone or tablet as your controller you'll need to download the Google Chromecast app.
  • Once downloaded open up the app and the first thing it will do is scan for your Chromecast
  • When it's been found, a code will appear on your device and your TV. Check that they match before you continue.
  • You can change the display name of your Chromecast (useful if you have more than one, e.g. Living room Chromecast, Bedroom Chromecast).
  • Enter your Wi-Fi password (so make sure you have it handy)
  • And that's it, you're now setup and ready to cast.

If you need an extension for your Chromecast power lead, this TRENDnet USB 2.0 from Amazon comes in 5m or 12m lengths

Design

Google Chromecast - front view
The Chromecast is a nice looking bit of kit

Even though this isn't a device that's really going to be on show, (in fact it'll probably be hidden behind your TV), the Chromecast is a nice looking bit of kit.

It's fairly small (which is what you want) and feels well made. It's only available in black to make it as unobtrusive as possible. It's really a product that you want hidden away as much as possible.

Despite its small size, there is still a chance it could stick out from behind your TV depending on where your HDMI ports are located.

Also the slight design compromise with this is the USB power cable that needs to be plugged into the back. This adds to the overall length and if your TV is mounted to the wall, could actually mean it won't fit.

The length including the USB cable is 200mm so check it will fit if you're tight for space.

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