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Roku Express 4K: Is it worth it? Hands-on Review

Roku Express 4K: Is it worth it? Hands-on Review

In search of the perfect streaming device to enhance your movie and TV show marathons? Our comprehensive Roku Express 4K review is the go-to guide for tech enthusiasts desiring a superior streaming experience at an affordable cost.

The Roku Express 4K has made considerable buzz for its impressive features and cost effectiveness compared to more expensive models and competitors. In this post, we will delve into the device’s specifications, efficiency, user-friendliness, and design.

Important: This post is about the 4K model of the Roku Express, you can also see our Roku express (non-4k model) review here.

We aim this review mainly at consumers desiring high-quality 4K streaming capabilities, casual viewers yearning for an effortless streaming experience, and individuals deciding whether to upgrade from a previous Roku model.

Related: 7 Best Roku Streaming Devices (For Every Budget)

By the end of this blog post, you will get a clear perspective on why the review of the 4K version of the Roku Express marks it as a competitive choice in the crowded streaming device market.

The main differences between the Roku Express 4K and the regular Roku express (non-4k model)

How the Roku Express 4k vs Roku Express non 4k model compares

Alright, let’s kick off by discussing the core disparities between the Roku Express 4K and the regular Roku Express. The most conspicuous distinction, as the name suggests, is the 4K offering.

Roku Express – Unique features of each model

The Roku Express 4K, with its high-definition prowess, promises visibly detailed, vibrant images that truly bring your content to life. However, the regular express model maxes out at providing only HD quality streaming, a feature which seems adequate, especially for viewers with standard-definition television sets.

Lacking Features in Roku Express and Roku Express 4K

Feature-based Comparison Table

Feature/SpecificationRoku Express (Non-4k model)Roku Express 4K
Picture QualityHD4K, HDR10+, and HD
Wi-Fi ConnectivityStandard (802.11ac b/g/n single-band)Dual-band (802.11ac b/g/n)
HDR SupportNoYes
Remote ControlSimple RemoteSimple Remote with Pre-set Channel Shortcuts
Voice Remote with TV Power and VolumeNoNo
Ethernet PortNoNo
USB PortNoNo
Long-range Wi-FiNoYes
Dolby VisionNoNo
Dolby AudioYesNo
Built-in SpeakersNoNo
Audio Settings FeaturesStandardVolume leveling, night mode
Additional FeaturesHotel & Dorm Connect, Screen Mirroring, Free Roku Mobile AppSame as non-4K model, plus long-range Wi-Fi

Riding the wave of Wi-Fi tech, the Roku Express 4K features dual-band Wi-Fi, meaning it seamlessly connects to both 5GHz and 2.4GHz networks.

Advantage? Say goodbye to streaming lags or pixelated video chunks disrupting your movie marathon. But with the regular model, you are limited to a standard single-band Wi-Fi connectivity.

Unique Features of Roku Express

Unique Features
HD picture quality
802.11ac b/g/n single-band Wi-Fi connectivity
Dolby Audio™ and DTS pass through via HDMI®
Screen Mirroring for Apple, Android & Windows devices
Hotel & Dorm Connect feature
Voice search and control via the mobile app

Table 3: Unique Features of Roku Express 4K

Unique Features
4K, HDR10+, and HD picture quality
802.11ac b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity
Long-range Wi-Fi
Volume leveling and night mode features
Pre-set channel shortcuts in the remote

In terms of the remote control, the 4K edition is enhanced with channel shortcut buttons, providing seamless access to your favorite streams.

Take note that neither model supports the ultra-vivid Dolby Vision, so if that’s what you aim for, both might disappoint you there. Numbers never lie, but when it comes to Roku Express 4K vs. non-4K, it’s the qualitative perks you are signing up for!

Lacking Features in Roku Express and Roku Express 4K

Lacking FeaturesRoku Express (Regular Non-4K)Roku Express 4K
Voice remote with TV power and volumeYesYes
4K video and HDR supportYesNo
Dolby Vision®YesYes
Ethernet port and USB portYesYes
Built-in speakersYesYes
Speech clarity features in audio settingsYesYes

Why get the Roku Express 4K over the regular Roku streaming stick 4K?

Now one might wonder, why pick the Roku Express 4K over the regular Roku streaming stick 4K? Well, the charm of the Roku Express 4K lies in its simplicity and price tag.

For just $39.99, you have a nifty device that features intuitive dual-band Wi-Fi, advanced picture quality, and quick channel navigation.

Roku express 4k versus Roku streaming stick 4k
We also cover: Roku Express vs Roku Stick (Detailed comparison)

With the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, there’s no argument that you gain benefits like the iconic sleek design and Dolby Vision support… but you’ll also be paying to a higher price point that typically ranges around $49.99.

Roku express 4k price
Price may vary, but Roku express is often seen for around $39.99

The question is, do you need the candle on the icing or a fluffy, delicious cake at a lower price will do? In my opinion, affordability often equals practicality, making the Roku Express 4K shine a little brighter when it comes to delivering bang for your buck.

Features of Roku Express 4K

Features of Roku Express 4K

The talk of the town, the Roku Express 4K, packs quite a punch when it comes to its features. Are you game for video resolution reaching up to 4K on compatible TVs? Check. Dolby Audio and DTS pass via HDMI for a superior audio experience? Check. Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi to ensure uninterrupted streaming? Double check.

Comparing Roku Express 4K with Other Models

Comparing Roku Express 4K with Other Models

Let’s bring other contestants into the ring. When comparing the Roku Express 4K to other models like Google’s Chromecast with Google TV or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K, the differences boil down to functionalities.

For instance, while the Google and Amazon competitors boast Dolby Vision, the Roku Express 4K sadly misses out on these. One victory of the Roku Express 4K is its user-friendly interface that makes navigating the sea of channels a breeze, even for a newbie!

In comparison to other models, understand the difference between Roku Ultra and the Roku stick 4k to make an informed decision.

My experience with the Roku Express 4K Review

My experience with the Roku Express 4K Review

Now for a bit of show and tell time from my very own experiences. On unboxing the Roku Express 4K, I was pleasantly surprised by its compact and minimalistic design. The setup was as easy as pie – plugged it in, chose my Wi-Fi network, and voila, ready for the action!

Related: Is the Roku Ultra LT the right choice for you? Check out our review for insights.

The Upsides and Downsides of Roku Express 4K

The Upsides and Downsides of Roku Express 4K

One advantage I quickly noticed was the clear, crisp 4K resolution that truly elevated my streaming experience. However, the absence of Dolby Vision was a noticeable drawback, especially as the regular Roku stick 4K, although pricier, did offer this feature. Is it a deal-breaker? That would firmly depend on how much you value Dolby’s standards of cinematics on your TV screen! In conclusion, the Roku Express 4K blends cost-efficiency, user-friendliness, and high-quality streaming, making it a worthy contender in the budget streaming device arena.

For a balanced viewpoint, you could also consider reading the Roku Ultra review which discusses its upsides and downsides as well.

Performance Analysis: How Well Does Roku Express 4K Stream?

Performance Analysis How Well Does Roku Express 4K Stream

The Roku Express 4K delivers a strong punch in the performance department. But how does this translate into streaming quality? Well, think of a time when you turned up the contrast on your old TV, trying to draw out crisper, more detailed visuals. Now, imagine that experience amplified many times over. This is essentially what you get with Roku Express 4K – vivid colors, sharp images and overall smooth streaming.

One advantage that Roku Express 4K has over its competitors is its ability to stream 4K content at a steady, uninterrupted pace. It does this without overloading your Wi-Fi network, which is a common issue with many streaming devices. How? Well, it has an advanced processor that can manage high-quality streams without causing your network to slow down.

To compare streaming performances, take a look at the Roku Express vs the regular Roku Stick and what the differences are.

Related: How to connect Roku to TV to WiFi without Remote

The short version? If you value top-notch picture quality and uninterrupted streaming, the Roku Express 4K will not disappoint. Would the streaming experience be improved with Dolby Vision support? Possibly, but most users won’t miss it. And for the price point, it’s hard to argue against the excellent performance that the Roku Express 4K consistently delivers.

Connectivity of the Roku Express 4K

Connectivity of the Roku Express 4K

When it comes to connectivity, many devices promise the moon. But in reality, only a few truly deliver. Fortunately, the Roku Express 4K is one of them. This device is built with dual-band wireless technology, which means it can connect to both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. This flexibility can make a world of difference, especially if you live in a crowded apartment complex where Wi-Fi signals often compete with each other.

Side note: if you’ve ever struggled with fluctuating Wi-Fi signals, you’ll appreciate that the Roku Express 4K can intelligently switch between networks for optimal performance and minimal interference. Besides Wi-Fi, the Roku Express 4K also supports HDMI connectivity, enabling you to hook up your device directly to your TV for instant, high-quality video streaming.

See our post on Roku Hacks, where you can see how to Jailbreak Roku for Unlocked Streaming

Not everything is rosy though. Wired Ethernet connection is out of the question as (sadly) the Roku Express 4K doesn’t have an Ethernet port. This might be considered a downside for die-hard fans of cabled connections, but let’s be honest, hasn’t the wireless era already dawned on us?

To better understand connectivity issues, read the post on Roku Stick won’t connect to Wi-Fi.

Remote Control and Voice Commands for Roku Express 4K

Remote Control and Voice Commands for Roku Express 4K

Voice commands and smartphones have been the buzz for the past few years. But voice control on a remote control? Welcome to the Roku Express 4K! The device comes with a simple remote control, featuring Roku’s popular voice command functionality. This allows you to command your streaming device to do things like search for content, launch channels, or even control the TV volume. Handy, isn’t it?

One advantage the Roku Express 4K+ (the big brother in the family) has up its sleeve, is the remote voice remote pro.

This feature takes the convenience of voice commands to the next level with its always-on microphone. The result: a more interactive, hands-free streaming experience. It’s like having a personal assistant who’s always ready to cater to your TV viewing needs.

To explore more on Roku’s remote functionality, you might be interested in how to program roku remote.

As a side note, the Roku remote also includes hot buttons for popular streaming channels like Netflix and Disney+. Quick access to your favorite channels is never a bad idea, right?

Verdict: Is the Roku Express 4K a Good Investment for the money?

Verdict Is the Roku Express 4K a Good Investment for the money

So now the million-dollar question: Is the Roku Express 4K a good buy for your money? The quick answer is, yes. Strong performance, reliable connectivity, interactive voice control, and a reasonable price tag – these are just a few of the things you get with the Roku Express 4K.

Sure, it has no Dolby Vision support, and an Ethernet port is nowhere to be found. But let’s be real: for the average viewer, these limitations may not significantly impact your streaming experience. Keep in mind, the high-quality 4K streaming capabilities as well as the interactive voice command function more than makeup for these minor drawbacks.

For its price, the Roku Express 4K carves its niche in the market as a reasonably priced, feature-packed streaming device. In the world of less-for-more, this streaming gadget definitely gives you more perks for less cash. Sound like a good deal? You bet!

Also see: Even if a device is discontinued it doesn’t mean its not worth it. See our post: Is the Roku Premiere worth it even though its discontinued?

User Feedback on Roku Express 4K

User Feedback on Roku Express 4K

So what has been the real-world experience of individuals who have used the Roku Express 4K? User reviews are valuable as they provide an unbiased perspective on the device’s performance from those who have actually used and experienced it.

Feedback on the Roku Express 4K is generally positive. Users often praise its sharp picture quality and smooth streaming capabilities. Many also laud the easy setup process and user-friendly interface; navigating through different channels and searching for content is a breeze even for teens and the elderly.

Related: Looking for a way to get an internet browser on Roku? After and extended period of research, we found that you can get a Roku Web Browser through many different methods.

But what about criticisms? Some users have raised the issue about the streaming device lacking Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support. This may dampen the spirits of audio and video enthusiasts that seek a cinema-like experience. However, keep in mind that even without these features, the Roku Express 4K still offers impressive audio-visual quality that would satisfy most viewers.

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to consumer products. Overall, user feedback confirms that the Roku Express 4K delivers a comprehensive and satisfactory streaming experience for most users.

Setting Up Roku Express 4K with Your Smart TV

Setting Up Roku Express 4K with Your Smart TV

Getting the Roku Express 4K up and running is easy-go! Your journey to crisp, 4K streaming content begins with plugging the Roku device into your TV via an HDMI cable. You then connect it to power with the supplied adapter. Or, better yet, keep it sleek and tidy by simply plugging it into your TV’s USB port if that’s possible.

See our full article on this: How to Set up & Install a Roku Stick, Express, or Ultra (Tutorial)

Once the device powers on, you’re welcomed with a friendly, easy-to-follow set-up guide. Connect the Roku Express 4K to your home’s Wi-Fi network, and presto, you’re nearly done. But wait, it’s not just about plugging things in here and there. We are talking about a fantastic device that will springboard you into the universe of 4K streaming. So, let’s not rush, shall we?

To conclude this section, you are required to sign in or create a Roku account. Why, you might ask? Well, this account helps keep track of your installed channels and settings. Not to worry though, it’s pretty straightforward. Once you’ve done all that, you are good to go. So, pull out the popcorn and get ready for a world of spectacular viewing!

For a comprehensive guide on setting up, check out the how to set Roku up for installation post.

What Do People Love about Roku Express 4K?

As the saying goes, ‘different strokes for different folks,’ and this device is no exception. People love many aspects of the Roku Express 4K. First, one undeniable thing that makes it a fan favorite is its affordability. People adore that they’re getting a robust gadget that delivers high-quality streams without draining their wallets.

Another feature that stands out is blazing-fast streaming capability. It’s as if the Roku Express 4K has an in-built warp drive! The little device packs a powerful punch with its delightedly fast performance. Efficiency is another word imprinted into its DNA. Maybe think of it like your reliable scooter that takes you wherever you want to go without fuss.

Lastly, the thing about the Roku Express 4K that makes users emit content sighs is the enhanced remote control. Side note: the term ‘remote control’ just doesn’t seem adequate. It’s more like a scepter that lets you command your viewing pleasure.

Should I use the Roku express on my Roku TV or is it only for regular TVs without Roku OS on it?

Ah, the million-dollar question! So you got yourself a spanking-new Roku TV, and you’re wondering whether you need the Roku Express 4K. Here’s the short answer: no, you don’t. Why? Because your TV is a Roku device itself!

Like a swiss-army knife, a Roku TV is the amalgamation of a smart TV and a Roku streaming device. Rest assured, the smart TV you bagged will have you covered. On top of that, remember that both your Roku TV and Roku Express 4K utilize the same operating system. It’s like having two identical captains on a ship!

To better understand this, refer to the article titled Do I need a Roku device with my Smart TV?

Are there any additional costs associated with using Roku Express 4K?

Before diving into the costs associated with Roku Express 4K, let’s answer this critical question: Is the Roku Express 4K a cost-effective way to leap into the 4K streaming universe? Absolutely! But let’s dissect some associated costs so you can prepare accordingly.

While the Roku Express 4K doesn’t reoccur costs on its own, as it’s a one-time purchase, the channels or apps you choose to watch might. There are numerous free channels, but some, like Netflix and Hulu, require a subscription. Of course, these fees aren’t directly linked to your Roku Express 4K but rather are the cost of subscription-based services that you’d have to pay for regardless of your viewing platform.

To clarify any doubts about costs, refer to the article on what does roku cost per month subscription fees.

How reliable is the WiFi connectivity of Roku Express 4K?

Reliability and WiFi don’t always play nicely. But guess what? Roku Express 4K seems to have cracked the code. Fitted with standard dual-band Wi-Fi technology (802.11ac b/g/n), this device makes sure you have a steady and reliable internet connection for your streaming delight. The double bands pave the way for smoother streaming, especially when multiple devices are battling for bandwidth in your home. There’s more to it!

This device adapts to your home’s network signals, selecting the ideal channel to use, avoiding congested channels, and focusing on the less occupied ones. Picture the device as an intelligent navigator, effortlessly finding a path through WiFi traffic and delivering a buffer-free, superior streaming experience at all times.

Don’t worry, even if your router is some distance away, with Roku Express 4K, buffering is not likely to be your nightly guest who overfilled their plate. The takeaway? Enjoy, sit back and get lost in the streaming galaxy!


Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

Ugh rokus ar trash,.the Chromecast with Google TV is way better the rokus are a sad excuse for a streaming box, the ccwgtv have full android app support via sideloaidjng and can be used as way more, like even a games consile

Paul Michael

Thursday 5th of October 2023

While Chromecast with Google TV is fantastic, Roku has a simple user interface and works well for kids, older adults, and anyone that just wants something simple & straight forward. I did enjoy Google Chromecast though and Rokus are well made devices, especially for the price point and use case.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ