Google held a big press conference at the end of last month to present its latest news. If the American giant took the opportunity to lift the veil on new phones, it also presented the Chromecast 2 . The question some of you may be asking is whether or not it is worth the investment. This article should interest you.
I got into the habit of dividing my tests into two separate sections with a grip on one side and a slightly more complete file on the other. This time, things will be a little different and you will have to content yourself with this article.
Be reassured all the same because it will stop on the main characteristics and on the main functionalities of the product. With a little unboxing video as a bonus.
Packaging, Design & Ergonomics
The Chromecast 2 comes in a fairly compact box.
There is a product visual on the front, instructions on the left side and a scenario on the back with pictograms symbolizing compatible products and supplied accessories.
On this side, Google has not broken its head because the device only comes with a usb cable and a charger unit.
To open the box, you will have to remove the band which surrounds it. It will also act as a quick start guide with all the steps to follow to put the badge in place.
After removing the headband, all we have to do is open the box cover to come face to face with the Chromecast 2.
It does not look like its predecessor at all. The key has been replaced by a colorful badge connected to a rigid cable terminating on a traditional HDMI connector. Google stuck a magnet on it to allow us to hook it to the device. Smart.
The micro USB port is located on the other side. It comes with a power button and another button that can be operated with a pinhead. It will allow us to reset the device in the event of a problem.
The supplied cable is long enough but it will be possible to wind it on itself using the supplied tab. Not much to say about the charger unit.
Installation & Performances
Installing the Chromecast 2 is child's play.
You must first connect it to the TV's HDMI socket and to a power source. There, you will have the choice and you can either rely on a traditional socket, or connect the cable to the USB port of your TV.
After that, all you have to do is turn on the device and wait for the home screen to appear. Then take your phone, open your browser and go to chromecast.com/setup to be guided.
Google will suggest that you download a mobile application on your terminal. It will allow you to manage your different Chromecasts and connect them to the WiFi network of your choice.
The device is powered by a Marvell ARMADA 1500 Mini Plus processor coupled with 512 MB of RAM . It is not a power monster, of course, but it is also equipped with an 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac WiFi chip and it is ultimately this that will make all the difference because it is compatible with 5 GHz networks.
What does it mean ? Quite simply, it will offer better speeds and that also means that it will take less time to display the contents on the screen.
I did the test using an application that runs a lot at home: Netflix. The first Chromecast took an average of 15 seconds to display a movie, compared to 6 seconds for its successor. I saw the same differences with Plex or even with YouTube.
Basically, the little macaroon is about twice as fast as the key.
During the presentation, Google had also indicated that it offered better cache management. I didn't see any noticeable difference.
Finally, this is not entirely correct. With Plex, the Chromecast sometimes tended to cut the stream and stop streaming my vacation movies after 35 minutes. I didn't have the problem with the new model.
Some of you have also contacted me to ask if the Chromecast 2 tends to heat up. This is not the case with mine.
Functions & Applications
Google took advantage of the launch of the device to completely review its mobile application. It is more pleasant to use, of course, but above all it integrates an application catalog.
Thanks to it, the user will be able to discover all the tools compatible with the small wrench… sorry with the badge.
I mentioned Plex and Netflix a little earlier but there are many more. It is impossible to list them all here but TuneIn Radio is one of the lucky ones, the same for Red Bull TV , Vevo , TED , Twitch , beIN Sports , France TV Pluzz or even… YouTube .
Another point and not the least, Spotify is now compatible with the Chromecast too. This applies to the new model but also to the old one.
The operation of the device has not changed. Everything will happen on the phone. The user will only have to launch the application of his choice and press the button dedicated to this purpose to display a window listing all the Chromecasts on the network.
There, it will be enough to press on its name and the display will automatically switch to television.
It is perfectly possible to connect several phones to the device and use them all as a remote control. Better, your friends will not necessarily need to connect to your WiFi network to share their content. They will only have to enter the numeric code displayed on the screen.
So of course, these functions were already available on the first version of the key. And they still are, by the way.
The Chromecast 2 is a very good product, it is undeniable, but it ultimately brings few new features compared to the first version.
If the key gives you complete satisfaction (especially in terms of debits), then it will not be necessary to take out your credit card.
On the other hand, if you haven't taken the plunge yet, you can go for it headlong. It's hard to find better value for money these days anyway. After that, there are also alternatives, like those offered by Roku .
Otherwise, the product is rather pretty to look at, it's true, but its “form factor” leaves me quite perplexed. The device is quite intrusive with its cable. If you connect it to a USB port on your TV, then you might end up with quite a bit of mess behind the TV.
After that, you can always invest in a smaller cable, of course.