Whether you call them streaming sticks or streaming dongles, it doesn’t really matter. They are all the same thing, or are they? We are going to give you a streaming sticks comparison, that lays it all out so you can choose which is best for you. Will the final winner be the Roku Streaming Stick, the Amazon Fire Stick or the Chromecast?
Streaming Sticks Comparison
Let’s find out who wins this streaming sticks battle!
Streaming Sticks Size
Sometimes size does make a difference, it all depends on your system layout. You may find that one fits better than the other.
Google Chromecast: This is the shortest of the streaming media sticks, it measures 72mm x 35mm x 12mm. Size however can be deceptive as it is the heaviest of the bunch at 34g.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: If space is your issue, then this is not the one for you as it is the longest at 84.9mm x 25mm x 11.5mm. It might be bigger than the Chrome, but at 25g it’s a lightweight in comparison.
Roku Streaming Stick: This one sits quietly between its competition in length measuring 78.6mm x 26.8mm x 11.3mm. However, when it comes to weight this is the lightweight at a mere 18g.
Streaming Sticks Connectivity
All three units require and HDMI connection and an external power source which would be via a micro USB cable. All three units also connect via a WiFi connection, which is where a big difference comes into play.
Chromecast: To its shame this unit can only connect via 2.4GHz connection.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: Is a dual band compatible unit, meaning that it can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz connection. This unit is also capable of Bluetooth connectivity.
Roku Streaming Stick: Is a dual band compatible unit, meaning that it ca an connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz connection.
Face it, this is the part most of your interested in.
Chromecast: It has no built-in apps and must be connected with a smart phone, tablet, iOS device, PC or laptop to acquire any content. Those connecting devices must also have Windows 7 or Mac OS Lion as their minimum system base.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: This comes loaded with several free apps such as YouTube and Vevo. You can also download several subscription services such as Netflix. They have a variety of available games that range from free to about $10. One of the big difference on this unit is that you can ‘fling’ content from your devices onto the Fire Stick. Amazon also has an additional feature called ASAP which allows it to automatically download content that it thinks you would be interested in, based off of your previous habits. The one thing missing off of the Amazon Fire Stick that I would miss is Vudu. If you have any videos stored there, you will have to resort to other methods to watch them.
Roku Streaming Stick: This comes loaded with several free apps such as YouTube and Vevo. You can also download several subscription services such as Netflix. There is also a variety of available games that range from free to about $10.
Chromecast: There are none, all controls are handled through your attached device.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: It comes out of the box with a wireless remote controller with all the standard features you would expect. It will also work with Amazon Fire TV Voice Remote and you can get a Wireless game controller for it.
Roku Streaming Stick: It comes out of the box with a wireless remote controller with all the standard features you would expect.
Chromecast: This unit with Android, Windows, iOS or Mac OS systems.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: Works best with Fire OS devices, but also works with Android smart phone and iPhones.
Roku Streaming Stick: You will need to download a third-party app to do it, but you will be able to use your Apple or Android devices to control Netflix and YouTube.
Besides content this is the key things you are looking at, and for many of us this is what makes our final decision. However, the price difference isn’t enough to be the make or break, the pricing is close enough that you can really chose them based off of features, rather than price.
Chromecast: This unit comes out slightly cheaper than the other two at $35, standard retail.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: This sells on Amazon for roughly $39.
Roku Streaming Stick: This is the priciest of the trio at $49.99.
When it comes to a streaming sticks comparison, Amazon and Roku seem to leave the Chromecast in the dust. Choosing between those two is more difficult. If you like gaming on the unit and you don’t mind missing Vudu, then the Amazon Fire TV Stick would probably be more your style, as I like Vudu, I tend to lean towards the Roku Streaming Stick.