This Roku Express Review will delve into the particulars of this budget-friendly streaming device, offering a thorough examination of its many features and limitations.
Potential consumers contemplating the value this product may add to their home entertainment setup will find this review beneficial.
Also see: Roku Express 4K vs Roku Streaming stick
This post will encompass the Roku Express’s design, functionality, compatibility with various platforms, alongside contrasts to other market contenders in the non-4k streaming device realm. Insights will stem from comprehensive user experiences, performance, and product specification.
Many feel that just because the Roku Express is super inexpensive, it’s lacking something extreme – but it’s simply not true… its the best roku device choice for those on a budget.
Related: The 7 Best Roku devices (for every budget)
We aim to demystify the advantages and shortcomings of the Roku Express to aid you in making an informed decision. Join us as we engage in an exhaustive review of the Roku Express (non 4K) model.
- Key Takeaways
- What makes the Roku Express so popular?
- The difference between Roku express plus and Roku express (non-plus).
- Should you use the Roku Express over other Roku devices?
- Roku Express Review: Is it worth it?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Roku Express
- Analyzing the Performance of Roku Express
- Understanding Connectivity and Power Supply
- Delving into Remote Control and Voice Command System
- Why the low cost of the express model is worth it for some
- Comparisons to Draw a Bigger Picture
- Taking a Look at Customer Feedback
- Getting Started with Roku Express
- Analyzing User Reviews
- My Experience with the Roku Express
- Does Roku Express support 4K streaming?
- What applications or channels are available on Roku Express?
- How to set up Roku Express with my television?
- What type of remote does Roku Express come with and does it support voice commands?
- Are there any additional costs associated with using Roku Express?
- How reliable is the WiFi connectivity of Roku Express?
- Can Roku Express be used with other home automation systems like Google Home or Alexa?
- Does Roku Express allow screen mirroring from smartphones or tablets?
- Wrapping Up: Concluding Remarks
- The Roku Express can only stream content in HD and lacks 4K support, but there is a Roku Express 4K model.
- Roku Express provides you the Roku Simple remote, so you’ll need to have the Device not hidden behind the TV unless you grab a remote such as the Roku voice remote Pro
- Unlike its competitors, Roku removed the power brick from its 2022 model, requiring users to have their own.
- The burden to frequently switch remotes due to lack of effective TV control on Roku remote, many use the Roku mobile app instead (see the free Roku remote to control your Roku without the remote
- The modern Roku Express model does not bring any significant changes from earlier models as far back as 2016.
- Many users may feel competitors such as Google’s Chromecast with Google TV HD and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick Lite provide superior features at a similar price range.
Related: 7 Best Roku devices
What makes the Roku Express so popular?
Keeping in mind its budget-friendly price, Roku Express presents a lightning-fast and easy-to-navigate interface with access to thousands of streaming services, making this device a go-to choice for cord-cutters. Compact in size, it easily fits behind your TV unit without involving any complicated setup. Simply connect the Roku Express to your television’s HDMI port, establish Wi-Fi connectivity, and jump into the world of unlimited content!
Related: Roku Hacks: How to Jailbreak Roku Unlocked Streaming (works with Roku express)
An impressive assemblage of free and paid channels embed this device with a versatile selection for every taste. From watching the latest season of your beloved sitcom on Netflix to streaming live sports events or news on ESPN, you have it all.
One advantage Roku offers is the intuitive ‘Roku Channel,’ which comprises content from various streaming platforms, presented in one concise list for a hassle-free experience.
Also see: 2100+ Best Roku Private Channels
Another worth-mentioning feature attracting users to Roku Express is its remote control. Easy to use, this remote cuts back on the clutter of multiple buttons, focusing on basics like navigation and playback. It optionally allows pre-set shortcut buttons for your favorite channels – a small but appreciable feature enhancing user convenience.
For those who are just getting introduced to this streaming universe, explore more about it in the post: what is Roku and how does it work?
The difference between Roku express plus and Roku express (non-plus).
Contrary to their apparent similarity in design, Roku Express and Roku Express Plus vary only slightly…
Also… the plus model offers an additional analog A/V output, making it compatible with older television sets lacking an HDMI port. So if you have an older TV model and are not ready to upgrade yet, Roku Express Plus emerges to be a lifesaver.
If you’re confused about which Roku device to buy, you might find the post on difference between Roku devices helpful.
Should you use the Roku Express over other Roku devices?
Determining whether Roku Express is an ideal choice for you boils down to your viewing needs and TV setup. Undeniably, this device does an excellent job in delivering your favorite shows and movies in HD.
But, if supreme picture quality is what you’re hunting for, higher-end Roku models like Roku Streaming Stick+ or Roku Ultra would serve you better with 4K and HDR support.
Also see: Roku Ultra Review
The notable ease of use and accessibility of the Roku Express model make it a strong contender for individuals new to the streaming world. However, if you own an old TV lacking an HDMI input, Roku Express will not cater to you; instead, it would be worth considering the Roku Express Plus model.
In the case of advanced users who rely heavily on voice search functionality, higher-end Roku devices incorporating voice-assisted remotes would make a better fit. Hence, it’s essential to align your needs with the specifications of these devices before making a purchase.
For a deeper understanding of Roku device options, read the post titled best Roku devices.
Roku Express Review: Is it worth it?
Advantages and Disadvantages of Roku Express
Roku Express brings numerous advantages to the table. Its pocket-friendly price combined with the furnishing of major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more make it a worthwhile investment. Its compact and lightweight structure adds to its portability, allowing users to carry around their entertaining companion wherever they go! A promise of lightning-fast speed adds another feather to Roku Express’s cap, providing users with a seamless, buffering-free experience.
On the flip side, the inability of Roku Express to support 4K or HDR content puts it at a disadvantage when compared to other variants like Roku Express 4K+ or Roku Streaming Stick+ that offer these features. Another setback comes in the form of its remote control that requires direct line-of-sight for operation, eliminating the possibility of tucking away the device out of sight. Finally, the absence of a voice search feature on the remote might be a let-down for users fond of this feature.
To decide if Roku Express is worth investing in, comparing it with others in the post Roku Express vs the regular Roku Stick and what the differences are might be useful.
Analyzing the Performance of Roku Express
Powered by a quad-core processor, Roku Express ensures a speedy performance. The device swiftly responds to remote instructions, and apps load quickly without any noticeable lag. This speedy navigation enhances the device’s ease of use, making it attractive even for people who are not tech-savvy.
When it comes to video playback, Roku Express delivers a solid HD experience. The video quality is sharp, with proper color balance and contrast to ensure a delightful viewing experience. It efficiently streams content up to 1080p, which is great for casual viewers.
However, keep in mind that it lacks compatibility with 4K or HDR content, so if you have a 4K TV and wish to utilize its potential to the fullest, you may need to look at higher-end Roku models. Overall, considering the price point, the Roku Express provides a reliably smooth performance and should satiate the needs of anyone looking for a simple, wallet-friendly way to start streaming.
For performance concerns related to WiFi connectivity, refer to our post on how reliable is the WiFi connectivity of Roku Express?
Understanding Connectivity and Power Supply
One streamer-friendly aspect of the Roku Express lies in its simplistically sleek design. Equipped with one HDMI port, it allows you to connect the device directly to your television, minimizing cable clutter. However, this design also places a slight limitation on the device as it doesn’t provide an Ethernet port for more stable wired internet connections. So, the streaming quality may dip if your WiFi has inconsistent strength.
The connectivity is made user-friendly via a standard Wi-Fi system. Keep in mind that it’s a single-band Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), which means it can function well in low-interference environments. The 5-GHz range that’s common in the dual-band Wi-Fi systems is missing, which might affect the device’s data transfer speeds in a crowded Wi-Fi environment.
Also see: Our detailed review of the Roku Ultra LT provides a deep dive into its features and capabilities.
Regarding power supply, one advantage is that it can be powered directly through the USB port on your television, which eliminates the need for a power cord dangling out of the device. However, Roku Express doesn’t include a power brick in the package, assuming users would either have a spare one or that they’d use the TV USB port for powering the device.
You might need to refer to the guide on how to connect your Roku to Wi-Fi for a better understanding of the connectivity of the Roku Express.
Delving into Remote Control and Voice Command System
Roku Express leverages a simple yet effective remote control system that is minimalistic in its approach. The button layout is user-friendly, with only the necessary ones included, ensuring no confusion for users while navigating. It becomes straightforward for even first-time users of streaming devices, which adds value to the overall user experience.
Taking a step higher in user convenience is the functionality of the voice command system. Although it’s not integrable directly into the remote control of the Roku Express, it’s made available through the Roku mobile app. As you download the app on your smartphone, you get access to a voice command feature that brings in phrases or single-word commands to control the operations.
Side note: While the app offers these voice control benefits, it may not necessarily bring the same convenience as having voice control on the remote itself. Having it on the remote could allow instant access without the need to grab your smartphone every time you want to change a setting or channel.
If you’re curious about the remote control and its capabilities, you can go through our post on how to program roku remote.
Why the low cost of the express model is worth it for some
In this world of competitive technology, one advantageous aspect of the Roku Express that sets it apart is its competitive pricing. At around $30, it offers affordable access to a high-performing streaming device that delivers value much beyond its cost. It makes streaming HD content quite accessible without the need to dig deep into your pockets.
Another reason that upholds its worth is the extremely user-friendly interface that Roku provides for its devices. The intuitive layout and boundary-free navigation are quite notable, making it even easier for less tech-savvy users to operate. The absence of a learning curve associated with new devices brings a sigh of relief for people transitioning from typical television watching.
Also see: Is the Roku Ultra worth the investment? Find out in our review.
Even though it doesn’t include some of the fancier features like 4K streaming or voice control integrated remote, it doesn’t essentially compromise overall user experience. Its value proposition centers around providing an unhindered streaming journey at a budget-friendly price, which it absolutely delivers.
For more insights on Roku’s affordability, you might want to check out our post: What do you get free with Roku?
Comparisons to Draw a Bigger Picture
While understanding how a streaming device operates in isolation is one facet, comparing the Roku Express to other similar devices provides a broader perspective. When contrasted with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick Lite and Google’s Chromecast with Google TV HD, Roku Express exhibits both strengths and shortcomings.
The strength of Roku Express lies in its simplicity. Its no-frills, easy-to-set-up approach caters to a broad spectrum of users, including those who prioritize convenience over high-end features. Unlike Chromecast or Fire TV Stick Lite that provides content recommendation feed on their home screens, Roku focuses more on directing users to their chosen apps.
However, when it comes to features like voice-enabled remote control or supporting HDR content, Roku Express falls a bit short. Both Chromecast with Google TV HD and Fire TV Stick Lite outshine the Roku model in these aspects. Understanding these comparisons can assist users in making an informed choice based on their priorities and preferences.
For a comprehensive comparison between different streaming devices, you can check out our post on Streaming devices that are similar to Roku.
Taking a Look at Customer Feedback
Customer feedback provides precious insights into the real-world performance of the Roku Express. Positive reviews often highlight the simplicity and ease of use that Roku offers. Customers frequently mention how easy it was to set up the device and navigate through its interface. The Roku system’s unbiased approach, which doesn’t push one streaming platform over another, was also much appreciated by users.
However, some users pointed out areas for improvement. The lack of a voice-enabled remote and power brick in the package were mentioned as areas of dissatisfaction. Also, a few customers found the Wi-Fi connectivity to be less stable as compared to devices with dual-band systems.
One advantage of looking at this feedback is that it provides potential buyers with an understanding of potential issues or inconveniences before making the purchase. These reviews often reveal practical aspects that product descriptions may gloss over. This understanding then helps to make better-informed decisions based on personal usage and requirements.
Getting Started with Roku Express
Starting off with Roku Express is quite simple. Once you have purchased and unboxed the device, all you need to do is connect it to your television via the attached HDMI cable. Remember, it does need a power source, so make sure you have an available outlet or a USB port in your TV to plug it in.
Installation and configuration of the Roku Express is smooth and user-friendly. To guide you through this process, Roku has provided a step-by-step guide on their website. However, even without the guide, you can easily set it up. A side note: If you are new to streaming devices or if you want to avoid any hassle, keep their online guide handy.
One advantage the Roku Express has over other streaming devices is that it comes preloaded with popular apps, such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. This eliminates the need to individually download apps that you frequently use. What’s more, you can add as many other apps as you want from Roku’s vast library.
Analyzing User Reviews
If you look up the Roku Express, you’ll find a range of opinions, anything from rave reviews to less-than-glowing feedback. But overall, the device gets the job done— delivering HD streaming at a budget-friendly cost.
Users widely praise the Roku Express for its ease of use and setup — even beginners find it accessible. It’s straightforward and the menus are clear and easy to navigate. One thing many users mention is how efficient the remote is. No fancy buttons or complex settings — just what you need to operate your streaming device.
However, anything isn’t a bed of roses and the Roku Express is no exception. Some users did raise concerns about its functions. For instance, some pointed out that the Roku Express does not have volume or power buttons on the remote, thus necessitating the use of multiple remotes. Others noted the absence of 4K or HDR support, which isn’t a deal-breaker if HD is enough for your streaming needs, but could be a downside if you’re seeking higher quality.
My Experience with the Roku Express
I’ve been using Roku Express for the past couple of months, and it’s been quite a ride, giving me a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of this budget-friendly streaming device. From set-up to daily usage, the experience I’ve had with Roku Express led me to believe that the device does deliver on its promises.
Going into my Roku Express journey, I did expect a bit of a learning curve, but I was pleasantly surprised by how intuitive it was. Setup was a snap, and within minutes, I was popping popcorn and ready to dive into my favorite shows. Side note: I would suggest using the online guide during setup if you’re new to Roku or streaming devices in general.
Personally, I have enjoyed testing and using the Roku Express. Though it’s a budget streaming device, it nails the fundamentals of a seamless viewing experience. Yes, it’s primarily HD and it doesn’t support 4K or HDR, but it’s been reliable, speedy and has yet to let me down when I needed a movie night.
From my usage, I can vouch that it’s a user-friendly device without many complications. Some may find its simplicity refreshing, while others missing out on a few advanced features. However, remember that the Roku Express is definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a low-cost streaming device that covers all the basics.
Does Roku Express support 4K streaming?
One aspect to note regarding the Roku Express is its streaming capability, which is limited to 1080p High Definition (HD) resolution. While this quality is generally sufficient for most users and standard-sized TVs, it does not support 4K resolution. High-quality 4K content, which is increasingly in demand, can only be enjoyed on more premium technologies, such as the Roku Express 4K.
Advances towards 4K resolution were made to accommodate increasingly larger TV screens, and the added detail provides a more immersive viewing experience. One advantage of 4K resolution is that it contains four times the number of pixels as HD, translating to crisper images, better quality, and a more engaging experience for viewers. Keep in mind that while the Roku Express supports HD streaming, those pursuing 4K content might consider upgrading to a more advanced device.
What applications or channels are available on Roku Express?
The Roku Express provides users access to a massive repository of channels and applications, both paid and free. It supports all major streaming platforms and networks, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and many more. An advantage of Roku Express is its ability to cater to a broad spectrum of viewership tastes, whether you’re a movie buff, sports fanatic, or an ardent follower of series.
Users can also enjoy a variety of music applications like Spotify, TuneIn, and Tidal. If you’re cable-cutters, incorporating live TV services like YouTube TV and Sling TV is also feasible. When it comes to free content, the device features the Roku Channel, where users can browse a selection of movies and TV shows without any cost.
Also see: Best free Channels on Roku
How to set up Roku Express with my television?
Getting started with the Roku Express is a straightforward task. Inside the box, you’ll find a Roku Express streaming device, a remote, a USB power cable, and an HDMI cable. To begin setting up your device, simply plug the HDMI cable into both the Roku Express and your TV’s HDMI port.
After that, connect the USB power cable provided in the box to the Roku Express and then into any available power outlet. The device powers up when plugged in, and should direct you to a setup screen on your TV. Set up an internet connection, sign into your Roku account, or create one if necessary. Choose your preferences and you’re all set to stream your favorite content!
What type of remote does Roku Express come with and does it support voice commands?
The Roku Express includes a simple infrared remote that is easy to operate and navigate. However, it does not support voice commands. Users wishing to use voice control may need to use the Roku mobile application or upgrade to a model like the Roku Express 4K, which comes with a voice-enabled remote.
Are there any additional costs associated with using Roku Express?
The Roku Express device itself incurs a one-time cost, but consider that some of the services or channels you wish to access might have their subscription fees.
The device involves no additional compulsory costs for its operation. Free content can also be accessed through various channels, ensuring enjoyment without any added expenses.
How reliable is the WiFi connectivity of Roku Express?
One key factor that contributes to the popularity of the Roku Express is its reliable WiFi connectivity. The device operates on standard Wi-Fi connectivity.
This includes 802.11ac b/g/n single-band, thus providing an uninterrupted and seamless internet connection as you stream your favorite shows and movies. Internet connection stability is a fundamental factor for streaming devices, which Roku Express seems to have prioritized, making sure users don’t experience buffering issues or content loading delays.
Can Roku Express be used with other home automation systems like Google Home or Alexa?
A distinguishing feature of Roku Express is its adaptability when it comes to integrating with various home automation systems. It integrates smoothly with popular virtual assistant platforms such as Google Home and Alexa.
This allows you to voice-control your Roku Express via your home automation system, taking your hands-free usage to another level. Therefore, if you’re a tech enthusiast who enjoys streamlining and unifying your smart home, the Roku Express won’t disappoint.
Does Roku Express allow screen mirroring from smartphones or tablets?
A useful feature offered by the Roku Express is its screen mirroring capability. This allows you to cast your smartphone or tablet screen to the TV, providing a larger and more immersive visual platform for your mobile device content. Whether it’s sharing photos with your loved ones, showing off that new game, or conducting presentations, this feature comes in handy. Keep in mind that, with screen mirroring, the enjoyment of your mobile device content becomes a shared experience.
Wrapping Up: Concluding Remarks
The Roku Express proves itself to be a viable contender amongst budget-friendly streaming devices on the market. It combines simplicity, functionality, and performance into one compact package. With its high definition streaming ability, solid WiFi connectivity, compatibility with popular virtual assistants, and screen mirroring functionality, it offers a good value for its price.
One advantage of its integration with smart home systems is that it facilitates effortless hands-free control of your streaming experience. This integration, along with screen mirroring abilities, contributes to a versatile and immersive streaming environment.
Nevertheless, potential buyers need to keep in mind their specific use cases and expectations. If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-navigate streaming device that also includes some handy features, the Roku Express could be a substantial choice. But, side note: For those wanting more advanced features like 4K or HDR capabilities, considering other Roku models or competitor brands might be more beneficial. Overall, the Roku Express stands as an affordable and consumer-friendly device that packs in a solid streaming experience.