Editorials

Review: Roku Streaming Stick+

As more and more people begin to cut the cord on cable, it become more essential to have streaming services at the ready. In comes the Roku Streaming Stick+.

The Streaming Stick+ is the latest dedicated streaming machine coming from Roku. This time around, Roku has developed a more reliable device, capable of streaming 4K HDR10 content.

Design

The Streaming Stick+ has a relatively similar design to the standard stick, albeit slightly longer and more narrow. Regardless, the sleek design is perfectly optimized to plug in to a HDMI port behind your television set and not create an eyesore. This is especially handy if used on a wall mounted set.

In addition to the Stick+, is Roku’s new wireless receiver. Built right into the cord, the wireless receiver provides a much needed boost in reliability and range over its predecessor. This is especially useful if your router and Roku device are far away from one another, which caused some issues in the past.

The Roku remote has also been given a small makeover. One of the most noticeable changes is the inclusion of the power button and volume controls. These were both glaring omissions from the original Roku Stick and are welcoming additions.

Quick select buttons for apps such as Netflix and Cineplex Store can be found on the remote. A microphone is also built in for voice commands.

Roku also has their own mobile app. This enables users to select apps, navigate the channels, and control playback or volume. A neat additional feature is ‘Private Listening’, when enabled allows users to listen to the audio through the app via headphones.

Set Up and Performance

Initial setup of the Stick+ is pretty copy and paste of most streaming boxes. Because of the addition of the volume control buttons, there was a segment dedicated to calibrating volume control.

Afterwards, I was left to my own devices and ready to setup my homepage. Roku offers more than 10,000 channels and apps. However, it goes without saying that of those 10,000, only roughly 10 or so are top-tier streaming services. Some noticeable applications are left out such as Amazon Video, CraveTV. Though, there are some diamonds in the rough (Bob Ross streaming channel anyone?)

The app store is directly linked through a Roku account, which in turn meant all of my selections on the original Streaming Stick were automatically uploaded into the Stick+ and ready to go.

Navigating the app store is pretty intuitive. The UI of Roku devices have always been pretty clean and responsive. Downloading applications, rearranging, deleting other, are all very straightforward.

This is the latest Roku device created with the intent of streaming 4K HDR content. While a lot of 4K/UHD televisions on the market are Smart TVs, Roku Streaming Stick is a wonderful addition for any that do not offer the capabilities of having Netflix and YouTube built in. With the addition of the new wireless receiver, I faced no complications of image quality.

Overall

Roku’s Streaming Stick+ does exactly what it sets out to do. It allows users the ability to stream 4K content with relative ease and provides a method of streaming without forking out the cash for a flashy Smart TV.

The small design of the Stick+ allows users to pick it up and move it from room to room. Users traveling will find this could come in handy as long as a wifi is available. Students that are moving could find a lot of appeal from the device as well since there are a ample selection of free apps and services.

The Roku Streaming Stick+ also comes at a very affordable $89.99CAD, which is very attractive when placed next to the competitive 4K streaming devices.

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Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His enthusiasm and adoration of the video game industry go back to the days of SNES. Find him on Twitter and join in on the escapades.

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