Welcome to another review from me. This time we’re taking a look at the actual Chromecast.
I bought this because I enjoyed the simplicity and ease of use of its audio counterpart, and I wanted a way to turn my TV that isn’t smart, smart. This seemed like the easiest way to do it, rather than buying a hole new TV, or buying say, an apple TV. Sorry this review has taken so long to put together, but I’ve been away at college and I don’t have a TV there, plus the network restrictions make things like a Chromecast a pain to use there, so I just got it delivered home. I bought it on black Friday as Google were doing an offer where you got £20 google play credit when you bought one. Plus, it’s 30 quid for a little disk with an HDMI connector that means I can watch Netflix on TV. How can you not?
The box is pretty much the same as the Chromecast audio’s; same design, and the Chromecast is presented the same. The difference between the two is that the Chromecast has a permanently attached little HDMI cable, and the audio has grooves on it, like a vinyl. Under the Chromecast, you have the power adapter with quite a long micro USB cable.
Setup was just as easy at it should be. Plug in to TV, plug in power, switch TV to HDMI, open the Chromecast app and follow the instructions to add a new device. On my phone, like with the Chromecast audio, I had to join a network it had created to get the app to interface with it at first. As soon as that was done, I gave it a name, turned off guest mode, made sure the time and country were right, and joined it to my network. At this point, a small video played on the TV telling me a few things I could do with it, and telling me that I was all ready to go.
The Chromecast app told me I had 3 video apps that were castable, these were BBC iPlayer, Netflix and youtube. I loaded up Youtube, and the TV icon appeared and I connected straight up, found a video, hit play and it started playing out of the TV. You can even make a queue with youtube, and it’ll just play through your videos.
So I started using it on Saturday, and it’s now Monday and I can say I bloody love the thing. Almost as most as I love its audio counterpart. I love how easy it is to load up the Netflix application, find your Chromecast, and watch Netflix on the big screen. I like that the audio described programs are not exempt from casting, (I’m watching house of cards at the minute), and it just goes up their straight away, no problem. This is also true of shows from the iPlayer. Getting audio described programs to play when already connected to the Chromecast on Netflix on iOS can be a bit tricky, as the elements to do this are not currently labeled, nor are any of the controls that are on screen; voiceover sees them, there’s just no label so it’s hard to tell where you are. On my Nexus however, all of this is labeled. I have contacted Netflix to see if they can resolve this. I haven’t tried it yet, but the Chromecast app on my nexus tells me that All4 (channel 4’s catch up service) also supports casting.
I really like the design of the Chromecast, but its glossy finish leads me to believe that it’ll be a fingerprint magnet, but as it’s designed to be one of those things that you set up and leave, I’m not too worried about that. I would have liked to see a removable HDMI cable, even if it was just a small one though, because if you don’t have space for the Chromecast to hang where your HDMI port is, you are going to need a HDMI extender, which I think google do sell, but still. Plus, if that plug breaks, you’ve pretty much got to buy yourself another Chromecast. I do however, like the length of micro USB cable you get with the device, just in case your sockets are quite a way from your TV. I like the idea of the backdrop as you if you have photos stored on google photos, flicker or Facebook, you can have the Chromecast shuffle these. I don’t have it connected to any of these services, and just have it display photos from around the web, and different landscapes and works of art, ETC.
I personally love what Google are doing with the Chromecast line of products. I’ve always liked the idea of the Chromecast, but I wasn’t too sure about the design of the first generation, so I’m glad they’ve completely redesigned it. On my TV, the HDMI port is recessed slightly on the side with all the other ports, so the Chromecast just hangs there. My last thoughts, I think the Chromecast range is a way of smartening up your older not so smart technology that doesn’t need to be replaced as it’s still fully functional on the cheap. Hats off to Google.
You can pick up your own Chromecast from the Google store, or if you’re in the UK I do believe Curries stock them.
Thanks for reading!