Technology

Roku Streaming Stick 4K vs. Roku Express 4K Plus: Which Roku Is the Best? Both excellent streamers have very similar features. Here's how to decide.


Amazon Prime Day is here and with it are steep discounts on streaming sticks — including CNET’s current pick as the best streaming device, the Roku Express 4K Plus. The newer Roku Streaming Stick 4K offers Dolby Vision support and is also seeing a big price drop. Which one should you get?

Before we get started, it’s important to note that both the Roku Express 4K Plus and the Roku Streaming Stick feature the same Roku operating system. All Rokus offer an easy-to-use interface that lets you quickly start streaming your favorite shows and movies from Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and other streaming services. Their simple set-up process, excellent search functionality and rich feature set help to propel them ahead of worthy rivals from Google, Amazon and Apple

Of course, the Roku Express 4K Plus and the Roku Streaming Stick have a lot more similarities than just the operating system. Let’s compare the two so you can choose which one is best for you. 

The Express 4K Plus streaming media comes with 4K HDR and thanks to the AirPlay update, is also able to connect your iPhone or other Apple device to your TV. Traditionally, it has been the cheapest Roku to offer 4K HDR — which is the main reason we picked it as the best streaming device overall. 

No, it doesn’t offer Dolby Vision, but that’s a feature that is only useful for people who own TVs that also support Dolby Vision. If you own a Samsung TV, for example, don’t bother — your TV doesn’t support it. And even on TVs that do support Dolby Vision, its improvement over standard HDR is usually minimal.

Instead of a stick, the 4K Plus is a small box that can be affixed to any spot near your TV — even the wall behind it. Unlike the Streaming Stick 4K, you can hardwire the box to the internet through a secondary dongle to allow for Ethernet support.

Lately, we’ve seen aggressive pricing on streaming devices. Depending on when you read this, the Express 4K Plus might be the same price or even more expensive than the Streak Stick 4K. We’re all about saving money here at CNET, so our best advice is to pick whichever one is the cheapest. If that means it’s the Express 4K Plus, know that you’re only missing out on Dolby Vision, which probably won’t affect you anyway. 

Read our Express 4K Plus review.

 

$25 at Target

$25 at Amazon

$25 at Best Buy

Amazon

The Streaming Stick 4K also comes with 4K HDR and Apple Airplay. The main highlight of this newer device is that it includes support for Dolby Vision. If you have a TV that supports Dolby Vision and are looking to stream Dolby Vision content, then this is the pick for you. 

This device might also appeal to those who prefer the stick design to that of a box. This way you can just plug it into the HDMI in the back of the TV and forget about it — perfect for those wall-mounted TVs. 

The Streaming Stick 4K can’t be connected to the internet via an Ethernet cable, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker for most people. 

Normally, the Streaming Stick 4K is slightly more expensive than the Express 4K Plus, but that’s not always the case. We generally don’t think it’s worth paying more for the Streaming Stick 4K, but if it’s priced the same or less than the Express 4K Plus, go for it. Even if you don’t have a TV that works with Dolby Vision, you’ll still get 4K HDR and the convenient stick design. The only thing you’ll be lacking by getting the Stick over the Express is the ability to have an Ethernet connection via a dongle — which, frankly, isn’t a big loss.

Read our Streaming Stick 4K review.

 

$30 at Best Buy

$30 at Amazon

Ultimately, the Express 4K Plus and the Streaming Stick 4K have more similarities than differences. Either would be a good choice for your home. If you have a specific need for an Ethernet connection, then get the Express 4K Plus. If you need a stick design or Dolby Vision, then the Streaming Stick 4K is for you. Otherwise, save yourself time and money by picking the one that’s cheapest.



Source from www.cnet.com

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