Google’s Chromecast started off as a low-cost dongle that could add smarts to a regular, dumb TV. Chromecast has now evolved three generations bringing incremental upgrades every year, without any increase in price. Televisions have evolved too, and Smart TVs are now available across the entire price spectrum. Many even have Chromecast built-in. (हिंदी में पढ़िए)

So, is the Chromecast still relevant? Is it a better option than Amazon’s Fire TV stick? We have been extensively trying it for almost a week now and will try to help you decide if this is a dongle you need.

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Chromecast 3 Box Content and Price in India

Google Chromecast 3 price in India is Rs. 3,499 at launch. You can grab it online from Flipkart. In India, the new Chromecast is available only in Charcoal color. The Chromecast 3 box content includes:

  • Chromecast dongle
  • USB Cable
  • Charging adaptor

*Promotional scratch codes for Ganna App and Sony Liv are on the box

What has changed?

The most noticeable change this generation is in the outer design. The Glossy plastic exterior of Chromecast 2 has been replaced by a matte-finish texture that is more in sync with the design of current generation Home products. Since you will hardly ever notice your Chromecast once you have plugged it in, this won’t have a huge impact on user experience – but it still counts as an improvement. The glossy plastic on the Chromecast 2 gets scratched and smudged rather easily and looks kind of cheap thereafter. Another minor change is that the HDMI connector cable no longer clips magnetically to the main body.

Other than that, the Chromecast 3 is still a circular puck with a built-in HDMI cable, has a button that you can use to reset it, and accepts micro USB power input (via charging adapter or any USB port on TV).

Chromecast 3, Chromecast 1

Another major improvement is in antenna gain (50-percent boost, to be precise). Our streaming experience has been more stable compared to the last generation model (didn’t need to re-cast even once while streaming back to back movies or while mirroring screen). Google also claims that the Chromecast 3 shows 15-percent performance improvement over Chromecast 2, but we couldn’t honestly make out the difference.

The software backing the dongle remains the same. Which is to say, if you already are using first or second generation Chromecast, the new version doesn’t have many added features to relish. It’s just that the old stuff works more reliably.

Chromecast 2

If you are invested in Google’s smart home devices, you can simply ask Google Home to play content on your Chromecast connected TV. This works for previous generation chromecast dongles too.

Using the dongle, you can stream up to 1080p content at 60fps. But again, this won’t add any noticeable improvement to your multimedia streaming experience. The Chromecast 3 still can not stream 4k content, but this shouldn’t be a major peeve point in India. Google did launch a Chromecast 4k last year, but it isn’t yet available in India.

Also Read: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Review 2018

Google Chromecast 3 or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick?

While we have been talking a lot about Chromecast 2 and 1 in the last few stanzas, that’s not what the Chromecast 3 is up against. The competition is Amazon’s Fire TV Stick that retails for the same price. Fire TV Stick also has a 4K streaming variant that cost Rs. 5,999.

Amazon’s stick comes with a remote and has a more user-friendly interface for TV viewing. On the other hand, the Chromecast 3 places your phone at the epicenter and uses it as a remote. The idea is to keep all the action on your phone and to just borrow your TV’s bigger screen or more powerful speakers whenever required.

Content is the basic differentiating factor between the two. You can’t cast Prime Videos to your TV using Chromecast 3 (even with screen mirroring), and you can’t properly cast YouTube using Fire Stick (Fire stick has a workaround and you can open browser-version of YouTube, but it’s just not the same).

A Smart TV could probably bridge the gap between the these fragmented ecosystems, provided you have the right one.

In India, Amazon has a significantly better content ecosystem than Google that it packages under its economic Prime membership. Despite being a Prime member, I personally prefer Chromecast just because I consume YouTube content more frequently than media on Prime Videos. Your preferences may defer.

Google Chromecast 3 Review – should you buy it? Yes

Most Smart TVs in India don’t offer a complete experience, and streaming dongles like Chromecast 3 are still very relevant. If you already have Chromecast 2, you need not upgrade to Chromecast 3. If you are using the first generation Chromecast, then the new dongle will offer significantly better performance and higher resolution streaming.

It’s a fun streaming dongle and people who frequently consume content using streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, Gana, etc. on their phones, or are invested in Google’s smart home ecosystem, could definitely make good use of it.

Pros

  • Improved design
  • Google Assitant support for Home users
  • Extensive app support
  • Faster performance

Cons

  • No 4K support
  • Can’t stream Prime Videos

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