Chromecast with Google TV HD, review: economical and simple

Chromecast with Google TV HD is the new Google TV Stick of which we present today in our review. This device is the little brother of the Chromecast TV 4K with maximum resolution 1080p.

In the new Chromecast with Google TV HD we find the SoC Amlogic S805X2, a processor sufficient for use with streaming applications. We have the Android TV 12 with all the streaming certification, that operating system can be controlled through a Bluetooth remote, also integrates a microphone to give orders to the Google Assistant with which we can control this device. As usual we have Chromecast system and the necessary certificates to see for example Netflix 4K HDR and also supports HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos.

Let’s test in our review this new Chromecast with Google TV HD and see what it offers us compared to its rivals.

  • Chromecast with Google TV HD can be purchased at Amazon or Walmart only for $29.98 with shipping cost included.

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Product details for Chromecast with Google TV HD

 

Chromecast with Google TV HD (GA03131-US)
SoC: Amlogic S805X2 Quad Core 4x ARM-A35 @ 1.8GHz (64bit) / GPU Mali-G31 MP2 / 12nm.
System: Android TV 12 (32bit).
Memory and network: 1.5GB RAM LPDDR4 / 8GB eMMC / Wifi ac + Bluetooth 5.2.
Ports: HDMI 2.1 / 1x USB-C 2.0 OTG.
Extras: BT Remote / Manual / HDMI Cable / DC Adapter 5V 1.5A (7.5W).
Certificates: Netflix / DRM Widevine L1 / HDR10+ / Dolby Atmos.
Materials and measurements: Plastic / Status LEDs / 6.40 x 2.40 x 0.50 Inches / 56.7 gr.

Unboxing

The small Chromecast with Google TV HD comes in a cardboard box with the usual Google design and the product image in the upper area. Inside we find the TV-Stick, remote control, AAA batteries, HDMI cable, 5V 1.5A power unit and a first steps manual.

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Description

This Chromecast with Google TV HD has the same exact design as its 4K big brother. The design is oval and only has the Google logo at the top as a differentiating mark. On the front we have the HDMI cable to connect to our TV, in the rear area the USB-C OTG port, on the back we have a status LED and a reset button.

  • Reset: hold down the rear button for a few seconds until the LED flashes.

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This Chromecast with Google TV HD offers us its classic Bluetooth remote control that also has IR emitter to control our TV with the volume keys, off and signal output. On the remote we have a crosshair, OK button, home, mute, Youtube, Netflix, the aforementioned controls for our TV and on the back two volume buttons. At the bottom we have the integrated microphone hole for Google Assistant and a white status led.

  • Remote Control: BT+IR remote control with keys for TV / Compatible with partially with keyboard and mouse.
  • Alternative control: It has a control app for Android TV.

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The new Chromecast with Google TV HD has a USB 2.0 Type-C OTG port that allows us to connect a USB-C HUB with power connector, this allows us to connect peripherals and expand the internal storage with a USB stick. The speed of this post allows us to reach up to about 350 Mbps and the Android TV system perfectly detects this connector in the settings.

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System and Performance

Environment and Android system

We connect the Chromecast with Google TV HD to the power and it starts automatically. We will go through a setup wizard where we can connect it with the Google Home app to our network of home devices, we can adjust the Wi-Fi, configure the IR remote keys with our TV and streaming apps to be installed.

Finished the configuration we get to the new Google TV launcher based on rows with tabs of the contents or shortcuts to the installed apps. By default the system comes with many rows that can not be disabled, we have many recommendations and little own content, we can change the launcher if we want something without advertising. The overall performance is good, not as fast as the 4K version but perfectly usable.

  • Launcher: We can change the launcher / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking NOT available / Notifications the upper icon.
  • Languages and Google Play: All the international Android languajes / Google Play for Android TV installed.
  • Check our Android TV User Manual to install classic Android Apps, prevent screen rotation and much more.

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If we like the system as the classic Android TV we have the option to activate the Application Only Mode that allows us to have only the row of our apps, so we will have a much cleaner desktop. Keep in mind that to install some extra apps we have to disable this mode and return to normal Google TV mode to install it. We can also block the change of settings to certain users in the profile settings.

  • Activate Applications Only Mode: Go to User profile > Applications only mode > Activate
  • Allow to install external APKs: Enable Developer Mode in Settings > System > Information > Click 5 times on Compilation

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System

We review the system data and the options included in terms of root, we also note that power systems allows us this device. When starting the Google TV system we directly enter several OTA updates that fix bugs and jump to the Android 12 version.

  • On/Off Controls: Sleep mode / Shutdown settings available.
  • System and root: Android TV 12 (32 bit) / NO root / CPU S805X2 / Model Boreal.
  • Support: Google OTA support / IMG firmware NOT available, only OTA update.

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Network, storage, RAM and ports

The small Chromecast with Google TV HD offers us as memory 1.5 GB of RAM and for storage we have only 8 GB eMMC that fortunately we can expand it with a USB memory. It has a USB Type-C 2.0 port where we can connect an external HUB-C with different peripherals.

In the network section it has a Dual Wifi ac Dual + Bluetooth 5.2 wireless adapter and you can connect an external USB Ethernet adapter that reaches USB 2.0 speeds. As we can see in the tests the results give good figures and the wifi reaches a sufficient speed for streaming and moving through apps, although the performance of the 4K model is better.

  • Network: Internal Wifi antenna / Range -45 dBm / Link 5G 433 Mbps / Ethernet USB 2.0 / Bluetooth OK.

chromecast google tv hd review sc12We found that the storage performance has good speed even though it is not the fastest, the system moves quite smoothly, on the other hand the RAM memory offers better results than other boxes. The performance of these components is noticeable in the speed at which apps start or in the switching between different sections of the device.

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Power and performance

The engine that drives the Chromecast with Google TV HD is the Amlogic S805X2 Quad Core chip with ARM Cortex-A53 processors up to 1.8 GHz and in the graphics section a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU which is in the mid-range. This processor is bit better than the classic S905W2 which is somewhat inferior to the S905X3 or the superior S905X4, but it is not bad at all. As can be seen in the results we only have a small improvement in single-core performance, it is well positioned equal to Fire TV-Stick 4K and somewhat below the Googlecast TV. A hardware that is below the Chromecast with Google TV 4K but not so much.

  • CPU performance: Min 0.5 GHz / Working  1.2 GHz / Max 1.8 GHz

Chromecast Google TV HD test eng 06 GeekBench

In the games scenario we can run games medium/low quality and also cloud gaming services like NVIDIA GForce Now or using the APK to install it. In the emulators section we can get at most run some Wii titles, but we will not have problems with 2D games of classic consoles with emulators like Retroarch or using KODI, the full OS EmuELEC is not compatible.

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This SoC is manufactured in 12nm, has a fairly low power consumption and the cooling system maintains very low temperatures in normal use. The processor manages the speeds correctly so as not to heat up excessively.

  • Thermals: Min. 40ºC / Working 42 ºC / Max. 65ºC / Maintains performance up to 78% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db
  • Consumption: Off 0.9W / Min 3W / Working 3.2W / Max. 6W

Video and Audio test

Video playback test

On the video playback side the Chromecast with Google TV HD supports most modern formats such as h.265, VP9 with native 1080@60fps HDR resolution support and is compatible with the recent AV1 codec but only with streaming apps such as YouTube or with the internal media player. We have good performance with 10bit color formats with HDR support and also with HDR10+. In the settings we can disable the HDR effect, we can also activate the Game Mode, which improves the lag of games. Now we also have auto refresh change in Android TV 12, but it is not yet functional in many apps.

In the audio section we can play DD and DTS sound up to 7.1 through its HDMI port with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS 5.1 codecs. The Chromecast system works perfectly with all compatible services including apps like Netflix. It is possible to use players such as, IPTV, KODI or PLEX without the slightest problem by installing them directly from the Android TV store.

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Video and audio results

Formats Result
h.264 / 1080i / 8bit OK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bit OK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) Frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bit OK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bit OK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR OK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bit OK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR OK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDR OK
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bit Only in streaming apps such as Youtube and internal player.
Max. Bitrate 100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have have some frameskip in very heavy files.
Support Format
Native Dolby 5.1 – Plus – Atmos / DTS 5.1
Core Dolby – HD / DTS MA – HR – X
PCM All
  • PCM – Stereo only with downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby or DTS base system / More info

Streaming services

We performed several tests on streaming services to check how the most popular services work. The Chromecast with Google TV HD offers maximum compatibility with all current streaming services. As we have checked Netflix allows us to watch 1080p content with HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos certificates. We also have Disney+ without sound problems and Prime video, Apple TV or HBO Max in good quality installable from Google Play if we look for it.

Streaming service Calidad / Audio
Youtube FullHD (1080p) / 5.1
Google Play Movies FullHD (1080p) / 5.1
Netflix FullHD (1080p) / 7.1 / Netflix Guide
HBO Max FullHD (1080p) / 5.1 / HBO Max Guide
Disney+ FullHD (1080p) / 7.1 / Disney+ Guide
Apple TV+ FullHD (1080p) / 7.1 / Apple TV+ Guide
Prime Video FullHD (1080p) / 7.1 / Prime Video Guide
DAZN HD (720p) / Stereo
IPTV FullHD (1080i) / Stereo

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Conclusions and buy links for Chromecast with Google TV HD

Score

Opinion

After testing the Chromecast with Google TV HD we can say that we are facing an Android TV Stick with good results for its price compared to the Chormecast TV 4K. Thanks to the Amlogic S805X2 SoC we can use any streaming application, simple games, emulators up to 16/32bit. It is also possible to use IPTV apps, run systems like KODI where we can play 1080p HDR video without problems. This hardware is compatible with all streaming apps in high quality, plays without problems Netflix or other streaming services with HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos system, it does not have Dolby Vision.

In terms of connectivity the Chromecast with Google TV HD has a Wifi aC + BT 5.2 adapter with correct speeds for streaming, but if we want to connect it via Ethernet we need a USB-C OTG Hub. This new Stick as we have tested does not get very hot in continuous use. The operating system is Android TV 12 Certified, it offers stability and moves smoothly, this hardware also integrates Chromecast to send content from our mobile to the TV and is controlled with a Bluetooth remote with integrated microphone compatible with Google Assistant.

As we see the new Chromecast with Google TV HD is a TV-Stick with Android TV 12 economic and functional. A device that allows us to play all paid streaming services, IPT or KODI if we do not need high power.

Where to buy

  • Chromecast with Google TV HD can be purchased at Amazon or Walmart only for $29.98 with shipping cost included.

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Chromecast with Google TV HD

0.00
7.6

Hardware

7.0/10

System

9.0/10

Connectivity

6.5/10

Design

8.0/10

Price

7.5/10

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Google TV 12
  • Good Google support
  • BT remote
  • Alls streaming DRM

Cons

  • 1080p max
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csell

Hi.
First time I read: ‘As usual we have Chromecast system and the necessary certificates to see for example Netflix 4K HDR,’ did I read that it was able show Netflix 4K HDR? 
And I wonder if the 4K part in the ‘Video and audio results’ is correct? 

What App can I use to play 4K?

Regards Carsten.

Kultus

Hi your review are pretty good, I bought Chromecast HD for my old TV. What is the apk for measuring droped frames in videos and other measurements in your screenshots? THX

Mário

Are the benchmark screenshots correct? They have Realme 4k stick highlighted and no Chomecast HD in them.

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