In all fairness, the Roku Express is far from bad. It’s just if you’re willing to spend an extra $20, you can find a better device there. For some reason, the Roku streaming stick is more compelling because it has more features, including RF technology. Though it’s a bit more expensive, it’s much faster and offers better Wi-Fi. But then again, for the price the Express does its job well.
It’s slightly different from other streaming devices because it happens to be a box instead of a dongle. Well, it will transform into a dongle once you plug cables into the ports. A remote controller comes in the package. You can use it to select menus on the screen. There are also some shortcut buttons dedicated to Rakuten, Red Bull, Yupp, and Netflix. If you have used the predecessor, you will notice that these buttons used to be assigned to different services. Plastic is the material used to build the body. While it doesn’t deliver the same strength as metal, it’s still sturdy.
What we like about the user interface is that it offers on-screen instructions, so that you can set it up easily. After the setup is completed, the system will help check the display and connection. It will also make necessary adjustments. There’s no hardwiring here, so it relies completely on a wireless connection. What if the connection isn’t fast to begin with? Well, you have to go with anything suggested by the system. The Wi-Fi is an older version, which is 802.11 b/g/n. It’s not really a problem if you watch mainly HD content.
During the setup process, you’ll be required to register the device and add streaming services. This can be done on a Smartphone or a laptop. Once the services have been synced to your account, you can start enjoying content. Although the Roku Express is cheap, we don’t get that impression from the interface because it’s tastefully designed. Everything is properly laid out, so you won’t have a hard time navigating through the menus. The apps have thumbnails on the right, while the main menus are on the left sidebar. The options are also very common and easy to understand. There are Home, My Feed, Search, Streaming Channels, etc. My Feed is a section where popular TV shows are gathered. You can watch them via Amazon or Now TV.
We’d suggest you skip the first model of the Roku Express in favor of the second generation because it brings many improvements especially in terms of speed. The new one is faster, but not the fastest if we take into account other streaming sticks. Image quality is good even at 1080p resolution. Besides, there are a bunch of apps on board, such Bbc Iplayer, Netflix, and ITV Player. If we’re talking about lesser-known apps, then the number will increase significantly.
Games are also included although they are typically simple unlike those available on the Amazon App Store. Oh, and the Roku’s mobile app is also worth-checking out because it supports voice search. It’s not on Alexa’s level, though. To top it off, there’s a option to share content across devices. And if you need exclusivity while listening to audio, just take advantage of the ‘Private Listening’ feature.