Chromecast (2013) review

Smart TV in a stick, Chromecast is brilliant

Editor's Choice

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Google's take on an AirPlay like universal streaming service is hugely impressive, not just for its price, but because it works well, on many platforms.

It's possibly the perfect companion device to an older TV with no smart features, and it's certainly the cheapest way to get Netflix up and running in your living room if you can't plug in any other compatible devices.

We hope that developers will also be able to work in some other interesting Chromecast options for the future, provided the technology allows it - something equivalent to the big-screen gaming that AirPlay enables for Apple users would be great to have cross-platform, for example.

That said, this option is now being covered in Google's forthcoming Nexus Player, so don't expect Google Chromecast to get gaming features any time soon.

We liked

Chromecast is brilliantly easy to set up, gave us little hassle after the first few minutes, and then worked really well.

You quickly become accustomed to the idea of just reaching for your phone and beaming something over to it - just like the future should be.

The streaming quality is generally very good, and it's quite reliable, especially for a product that's still fairly early in its life. It's also impressive that it works so well on all platforms.

At $30/£30, we definitely like the price. It's well into impulse-buy territory, and we do think it's worth picking one up just for its potential, even if you already have a way to stream the services it currently works with.

We disliked

The lack of apps was the simple, major problem when Chromecast originally launched. It was fairly well-supported in the US, but elsewhere it needed fleshing out... and it has been.

The only thing you might dislike about Chromecast is its reliance on the phone in your pocket or the tablet on your coffee table. But for anyone who keeps those things with them, it's not a problem and in fact for many it's a more convenient way of arranging things.

There are a few other things we'd like to see, such as a bit more polish to improve things further – faster loading of videos in some apps, broader support in basic Android apps, stronger streaming from desktops, for example.


Chromecast is an inexpensive, easy-to-use way of accessing streaming on your TV. All the major video streaming apps are compatible and you soon find yourself using it on a daily basis.

If it cost more, we'd say it might be worth looking at the Amazon Fire TV or the Nexus Player, but at this price how can you possibly argue? Chromecast is fun enough, robust enough and has enough potential that thoroughly recommend it to anyone without a smart TV.

James Rivington

James was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.