Google Chromecast Ultra review: Save cash on this 4K media streamer


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DEAL ALERT: The Google Chromecast Ultra would have cost you £69 when it first launched, but thanks to an offer from John Lewis you can currently get one for just £54 with a 2-year guarantee included. You can click that link to go to the product page, or read on discover our thoughts on this 4K streamer.

Katharine's original review continues below

If two Pixel phones, a VR headset and an Amazon Echo-like home assistant wasn't enough, Google also announced a brand-new model of its Chromecast media streamer at its #MadeByGoogle launch event. The Chromecast Ultra will be able to cast video in 4K and HDR, and it even offers Dolby Vision support, giving it plenty of flexibility when it comes to providing the very best in picture quality across a wide range of TVs.

Like previous Chromecast models, Chromecast Ultra has a small, compact design that will easily slot in behind your TV. All you need to do is plug it into an HDMI port and you're ready to go. Of course, while Chromecast is traditionally controlled via Wi-Fi from the Google Cast app on your phone, tablet or computer, Chromecast Ultra adds an Ethernet port into the mix to help with all that high-resolution 4K content. You'll find this built straight into the power adapter, giving you the option of using a faster, more stable internet connection than your home Wi-Fi.

It isn't just the resolution that's received an upgrade since last year's Chromecast, though, as Chromecast Ultra is also 1.8x faster than its immediate predecessor, allowing you to get to your content much quicker and play it with fewer hitches in performance. 

You'll also find all the same content and apps you know and love from older Chromecast models, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport and Google Play Movies, making it a great way to add new services to your TV. However, I'm not entirely sure who will actually need these extra features, since most 4K TVs already have several built-in catch-up apps.

For example, Samsung and LG both have Netflix and Amazon Instant Video built in, as well as YouTube, so the need to have these via Chromecast is limited. It might be more useful if you want to cast something to a 4K monitor, but otherwise your 4K TV is going to be fairly well covered. As a result, I'm not sure Chromecast Ultra will have as much appeal as its cheaper, non-UHD siblings. 

The only major service it does have that isn't largely supported on 4K TVs is Sky's Now TV, but it seems like a pretty expensive way to get your Game of Thrones fix. 

Available in November for £69, Chromecast Ultra is far more expensive than a Now TV box, so we'll have to wait and see how it fares once we get one in for review. I'll be updating this article as soon as we have our final verdict on Chromecast Ultra, so make sure to check back soon to see whether it's worth the extra expense over the regular Chromecast.