Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What’s The Difference?

Feature | Couple watching a movie | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?
Google may have stepped up their streaming game with their 2016 Chromecast Ultra, but how is it different from the Chromecast 2?

In this article:

  1. What Is Chromecast and How Do You Use It?
  2. Benefits of the Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra
  3. Specifications of the Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra
  4. Which Should You Get? 
  5. Reviews

 

Chromecast Ultra vs Chromecast 2: What You Need To Know

What Is Chromecast and How Do You Use It?

Google Chromecast is a digital media player in the form of a small dongle. You can plug this into your TV’s HDMI port, an A/V receiver, or any other device that can stream video and audio.

When you connect the Chromecast to your display, you can use a smartphone app or Chrome through your computer to set up and control the media.

Using this is easy, as you only need to open the media file in your smartphone or computer and “cast” (send) it to Chromecast. It will then receive and stream your media from your device to your display.

The great thing about Chromecast is, while it can mirror your device’s content, it can also stream directly from the source.

  • When you’re mirroring content from your device, you can’t use the device simultaneously, since it will affect what you see on the display.
  • If you’re streaming Netflix, for instance, Chromecast directly connects to Netflix, so the content doesn’t come from your device. This allows you to continue using your device without affecting what you see on your display.

You can still control the stream using your smartphone or computer, as Google Chromecast does not come with its own remote control. If you want to cast photos or videos from your device to your display, you can also do so using Chromecast.

There are a lot of apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store that are Chromecast-enabled. This includes popular streaming services as well.

The Chromecast Series

  • 2013: Chromecast
  • 2015: Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Audio (the latter is for speakers)
  • 2016: Chromecast Ultra (latest version)

 

Benefits of the Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast 2 Features

Chromecast 2 is a digital media player that offers basic media streaming capabilities. It does the job well, but compared to Chromecast Ultra, it doesn’t give you the maximum viewing experience.

If your TV doesn’t support 4K resolution and HDR yet, you’ll do fine with Chromecast 2. Here are the other features you can enjoy with this version:

  • Content Mirroring — With the Chromecast 2, you can mirror the content you see on your phone to your TV. The downside is, you can’t do anything else on your phone while you’re connected to your TV.
  • Content Casting — Chromecast 2 also allows content casting, which is a more convenient way of streaming. After casting, or sending, the content to your TV, you’re free to use your phone without interfering with the streaming.
  • Ease of Use — This digital media player is small, and it provides an easy setup feature and good streaming quality. Your TV’s USB port can power it, or you can use the power adapter it comes with so you can plug it in an older TV.
  • Works With Google Home — With Google Home, you can activate Google Assistant to act as your Chromecast 2’s remote control.

Chromecast Ultra Features

Chromecast Ultra | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Google Chromecast Ultra Photo by Amazon

Chromecast Ultra has similar features to the Chromecast 2, with a few upgrades. It provides the maximum viewing experience if you’re casting on a 4K and HDR-supported TV.

Here are the features you can enjoy with the Chromecast Ultra:

  • High Resolution — Chromecast Ultra supports 4K (ultra HD) and HDR media content. If you have a stable Internet connection and a TV that supports this resolution as well, you’ll have a better viewing experience.
  • Fast Network Speed — Its 1×2 Multi Input Single Output (MISO) antenna provides fast network speed and low latency.
  • Built-in Ethernet Port — Chromecast Ultra has a built-in ethernet port in its power supply that helps maintain its superb streaming capabilities. No need to buy an ethernet adapter, unlike with the Chromecast 2 which doesn’t come with its own ethernet port.
  • Works With Google Home — With Google Home, you can activate Google Assistant to act as your Chromecast Ultra’s remote control.

Different Devices For Different Viewing Needs

If you’re looking for a media streamer, the Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Ultra are good choices. These digital media players are both capable of mirroring content from your phone and casting content from a streaming service.

The only main difference is that they each provide a different viewing experience. Your preference may vary depending on the display you will use the Chromecast 2 or Chromecast Ultra on.

If you have a 4K resolution and HDR-enabled TV, it’s good to consider getting the $69 Chromecast Ultra. Another thing you should look at, though, is the number of 4K streams you actually consume.

4K and 4K HDR streams are few, and if they do offer them, streaming services often charge more for these types of content. Not to mention they also require a higher bandwidth to sustain.

Chromecast Ultra is worth considering if you’re planning to get a 4K TV. This way, you can stream 4K content and not need to get an extra ethernet adapter should you need it.

If your TV doesn’t support 4K resolution and HDR yet, it’s better to stick to the $35 Chromecast 2. You’ll still get good and reliable streaming quality without shelling out too much.

Should you need an ethernet adapter, though, you would have to purchase one for an additional $15. This should not be a problem if you don’t foresee needing one for the Chromecast 2.

Related: 9 Best Streaming Devices on Amazon

 

Specifications of the Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast 2 Specs

  • Resolution: Full HD 1080p resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)
    • The maximum resolution it can produce for Full HD and 4K TV is 1080p. For HD TV, the Chromecast 2 downsizes the content’s resolution to 1,280 x 720 pixels.
  • Chip: Marvell Armada 1500 Mini Plus
  • Storage: 256MB
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Port and Connector: HDMI and Micro USB power
  • Power Supply: 5V / 1A
    • If your TV is not able to supply power, you can use the 1.75m cable and adapter included in the package.
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz), HDMI, Ethernet
  • Ethernet Port or Adapter: not included
  • Supported Operating Systems: Android 4.2 and higher, iOS 9.1 and higher, Mac OS X 10.9 and higher, Windows 7 and higher
  • Weight: 39.1g
  • Dimensions: 51.9 x 13.49 x 51.9mm
  • Design: Rounded with an embellished Chrome logo and the HDMI cable attached on the back by magnet
  • Available Colors: Black, Coral, and Lemonade

Chromecast Ultra Specs

  • Resolution: 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) and HDR (High Dynamic Range), supports Dolby Vision
    • If your TV is not 4K and you’re not watching 4K content, Chromecast Ultra downsizes the content’s resolution to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels or lower.
  • Port and Connector: HDMI and Micro USB adapter supporting Ethernet connectivity
  • Power Supply: required and included
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 1×2 MISO, 10/100 Ethernet
  • Ethernet Port: included (built-in)
  • Supported Operating Systems: Android 4.2 and higher, iOS 9.1 and higher, Mac OS X 10.9 and higher, Windows 7 and higher
  • Weight: 47g
  • Dimensions: 58.2 x 13.7 x 58.2mm
  • Design: Rounded with an embellished Google branding and the HDMI cable attached on the back by magnet
  • Available Color: Black

Inclusions: What’s In The Box

Chromecast 2

  • Chromecast
  • 1.75m Power Cable
  • Power Adapter

Chromecast Ultra

  • Chromecast Ultra
  • 2m Power Cable
  • Power Adapter with Ethernet Port

Which Should You Get? 

The advantages of Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast 2 over each other will depend on your display and the type of streams you consume. We’ve discussed their pros and cons, so it should be quite easy for you to pick your choice.

If you have, or plan to purchase, a 4K TV, Chromecast Ultra is the better choice. You can maximize your display’s capabilities and enjoy a better viewing experience.

Having a built-in ethernet port in the Chromecast Ultra is a plus for connectivity, too.

If you have a Full HD TV or one with a lower resolution, it’s best to opt for the Chromecast 2. Its streaming quality and speed are just right for your display so you can still enjoy your content.

Reviews

To help you out in deciding between the Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Ultra, check out these reviews:

Chromecast 2

Dei Su Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Rob W. Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Amazon Customer Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

shiva Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Nate M. Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Tech Made Easy

Chromecast Ultra

Sam Beckett Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

friedchicken09 Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Bryan DeRose Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Lee W. Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Kuro Review | Chromecast 2 vs Chromecast Ultra: What's The Difference?

Learn more about Chromecast Ultra in this video from 9to5Google:

Now that you know the similarities and differences between the Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast 2, you can pick the right streaming device with confidence. What’s important is you are able to choose the best option for your budget and long-term consumption.

Take note of the features that are important for you as well as those you can do away with. Then you can better decide between these two superb streaming devices.

Which features of the Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast 2 did you like best? We’d like to hear from you in the comments section below!

Up Next: Most Anticipated Gadgets of 2019

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