Launched in Brazil in September last year, Roku Express came to fight in an increasingly contested market: that of devices that transform your old TV into a smart one.
Competing with models like Mi TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite, Roku Express has some cards up its sleeve that could make it a more interesting option and it’s time to look in depth if this is really confirmed.
Can Roku outperform Xiaomi and Amazon? It’s time to find out in this full review of TudoCelular.com.
The Roku Express box is quite complete, albeit small. Inside you will find everything you need to get started with your device, including:
- Roku Express;
- MicroUSB cable for power;
- HDMI to stream content to the screen;
- Double-sided tape to secure the device;
Construction, installation and connections
The Roku Express is very small (3.81 x 1.91 x 7.62 cm and 31 grams) and unobtrusive, as it is smaller than a traditional credit card, although fatter. It’s all black plastic, with a glossy acrylic finish and the Roku name on the top.
Its connections are all on the back, with a microUSB used to power it, an HDMI 1.4b and a restart button. It also has Wi-Fi b / g / n, that is, it does not work with a 5 GHz network, but since it only supports resolution up to Full HD is not lost.
The installation of the device is very intuitive and fast, just connect the cables on the back and connect them to the TV. It will activate automatically, which is a point we will talk about later, and the initial setup screen will appear.
You will need to choose the desired language, connect to the Wi-Fi network, and wait for the software update process to complete. After that, the device will detect the type of screen to which it is connected to deliver an image accordingly, which will allow the process to go through automatically or choose manually.
You then activate the Roku Express using a computer or mobile phone, which is done by accessing the link that appears on the screen and entering the device activation code. With activation, the channel list will be updated with the options you have chosen, adding it to the home screen for easy access.
Below is a tutorial that will guide you through the control and system, teach you how to choose audio and subtitles, add new channels, and set up your device correctly, and finally you can use Roku Express.
sharing is video
Roku Express supports HD or Full HD content, getting from 720p to 1080p. In general, the images are very good and fluid, even on smaller 4K TVs, which is a hand behind the wheel for those who have models that have already left the system or do not even have a smart system .
As for audio, it offers stereo sound compatible with DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Audio and Dolby ATMOS, which is more than enough to take advantage of the TV’s audio system or even for those with a sound set more complete.
We’ve reached a point where you can define whether Roku Express is for you or not.
The control of the device is very small and concise, with no power button or volume control, which means you will be almost completely a hostage of the TV control. Other points can also be confusing: use an asterisk to access very similar options and arrows to return to the previous screen, or exit the app.
At least we have buttons for media control and quick access to Netflix, GloboPlay, HBO Go and Google Play, but it would be nice to see Prime Video and YouTube here as well.
The keys are soft and the size of the control is fantastic, allowing you to access all the buttons effortlessly.
But what about the system, which goes against what we have on the Fire TV Stick Lite or the Mi TV Stick?
It’s not as complete as Android TV, but it has a very large catalog that should be enough for almost everyone. All major streaming services are here with well-optimized apps, such as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, Spotify, GloboPlay, Deezer, HBO Go, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Pluto TV, Vix, StarzPlay, Plex, Looke , Directv Go, Telecine Play and many more.
According to Roku, there are more than 5,000 streaming channels, with more than 100,000 episodes of series and movies to watch, so there will be plenty of options.
Navigation is very practical and takes out of control what has already been said. We have a side menu with the Settings, Home screen, Search, Channel streaming and Settings tabs. On the home screen you have the channels you have added in large icons, as well as a hint on the right and shortcuts to add new channels or turn off the TV.
This disabled option worked in our tests with LG TVs, but it didn’t work when you connect Roku Express to a traditional computer monitor, so it will depend on the compatibility of your TV. The strange thing is that you don’t have any power buttons on the controller, which means you can even turn off the TV using Roku Express, but you can’t turn it on again.
Like many TV brands, Roku offers an app to control your device, as it is available for Android and iOS devices.
With the app you can achieve much more than controlling Roku Express. One of the most interesting features is to listen in private, where the sound of what is being played comes out on the smartphone and not on the TV, allowing the use of headphones and sharing up to 3 devices.
It also allows you to send content from your phone to your TV, including photos, videos, or music, and use your phone as a keypad, which is especially useful for signing in or searching for streaming applications.
Is it worth it?
Roku Express has a clear focus on transforming the experience of old TVs and does so in an exemplary manner. The system flows very well, the application catalog is huge, the audio and video quality is satisfactory and there is also the application to make everything more practical, it also comes with all the accessories you need to work on the box.
Not all are flowers, with a limited control that does not allow you to give up control of the TV and the lack of 4K resolution, but overall, due to the price close to the 200 reals you are already in, it is a great option to carry the your old TV in the modern world, and a very good alternative to rivals Xiaomi and Amazon.