Thursday, 10 April 2014

Google Chromecast Hits UK: Smart TV for the Masses [Review]

Google Chromecast: What is Chromecast? 

This week I am reviewing my Google Chromecast, my latest gadget addition to arrive this week. Finally released to the UK market, the 2.8 inch device is essentially an HDMI dongle that plugs into a free HDMI port on your TV or projector and can be powered by traditional power socket or alternatively via USB (which your TV may also have available).  It can then be used to stream content from different sources such as mobile or PC, directly to your TV whilst being controlled from your smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac.

Google Chromecast: Installation & Setup

Their has been much hype on Google's entry into the 'Smart-TV' market but Google has certainly made an impression with this little gadget. Straight out of the box, weighing a mere 34g, I felt the device is small and light enough to carry around with you, or to simply leave connected to your chosen display device. Chromecast comes without a dedicated remote, as it uses your existing computer, mobile or tablet as a remote. You are directed to an app in the app market of your chosen OS (Android/iOS) which once downloaded, guides you through the initial wifi setup. Once completed, the Chromecast updates itself to the latest release of software and it is ready to go.

Google Chromecast: Services

Google has worked hard with a number of service providers to support some of the most popular services in the industry. Netflix, RealPlayer, iPlayer, YouTube, Plex and Chrome are amongst some of the apps that work straight out of the box, simply load the app on your phone and 'Cast' it to your Chromecast. Within seconds, your video is seamlessly broadcast to your TV. Google Chrome for Desktop has also had some additional features added, allowing you to "Cast" an entire tab over to your TV for browsing on the big screen. 
Google Chromeast: Compatible Devices

Chromecast can be controlled with Android, iOS, Windows & Mac.

Google Chromecast: Quality

Measuring 72mm x 35mm x 12mm, this little device certainly packs features into a very tiny form factor. The Chromecast is a pleasure to pick up, touch and carry with you and the sturdy build quality can be seen in all areas of the design. 

Google Chromecast: UK Price and Where To Buy

Google launched the Chromecast HDMI dongle in the US way back in July 2013. After a long wait it is finally available in the UK for a price of just £30. At such a competitive price point, it is now possible to bring the future of streaming media to all devices around the home.

If you're keen to get your hands on one then the device is available to buy from the Google Play store and other retailers including Currys, PC World and Amazon.

Google Chromecast: My Verdict

Google has come to market with a fantastic bit of kit, providing many features offered by Smart-TV's, but at a very competitive price point. Whilst still in its early stages, it's platform is open to third party developers which will bring plenty of new and upcoming services to the platform. It's small size and portability means you aren't restricted to just using this at home and can easily be taken out and about with you, making it ultra portable. It's simplicity and popularity amongst users has made it one of the fastest selling gadgets of 2014 and at only £30 - it's a steal.