Over the years, I’ve owned several different brands of smart TV devices like the Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, TiVo Stream 4K, and Chromecast with Google TV. Still, I kept finding myself going back to my original choice back in 2011: Roku. Here are several reasons why I think the Roku is the best choice.
In an increasingly disposable technology world, it’s refreshing that Roku continues to support and update devices beyond five years. My Roku 3 from 2013 still gets updates and can run the latest Roku OS. Sure, it isn’t the fastest, but for a device nearing 10 years old, it’s very impressive. It makes me feel at ease investing into the Roku ecosystem.
- It’s a Neutral Device
If I decide to switch from iPhone to Android again, the Roku is the only device to allow for both Apple and Android devices to mirror their screens to the Roku. Plus, the Roku app is on both iOS and Android, so it’s easy to switch phones without switching everything else.
- The Best Features
In my opinion, the Roku has the most features that you’ll actually want to use. The Roku Ultra has a remote finder button; once pressed, the remote will play a pinging sound so you can easily find it. Plus, you can buy a hands-free voice command remote so you can control your Roku anywhere in the room. Not to mention you can also buy a remote with a headphone jack, so you can watch TV without bothering anyone else. You don’t even need to buy the remote as the Roku app also has the private listening feature, so you can connect your Bluetooth headphones to the phone and wirelessly listen to your TV.
- Stability and Speed
Something I never got over with Android-based devices, whether it’s a phone, tablet, or smart TV device like the Chromecast with Google TV or Amazon Fire TV, is the jittery feel of the operating system. Animations are rarely smooth when going from an app back to the home screen, even on the high end Fire TV model. The Roku just feels faster and smoother with its animations going from app to home screen, and other menu selections. Sure, my old Roku Express which was underpowered in 2016 is not as smooth today with animations on the latest update, but opening apps and then going to the home screen just feel more composed than on older, slower Fire TV devices.
- An Easy Ecosystem
No matter what you may feel about Apple devices, you cannot deny that the ecosystem is a major reason why many stick with the company. Things just work. I feel the same is true with Roku. With cross-platform usability, AirPlay works just as easily as screen mirroring on a PC or Android device. Roku sells surround sound speakers and soundbars that make it easy to improve the audio quality on your TV. And the settings menu easily lays out how to add new remotes, and adjust other settings that are not as intuitively set up on competing devices. The Roku is an easy recommendation for both novice and advanced users.
With my Roku Ultra on my main television, and Express 4K+s on the other televisions, I’m just overall happier with the smoother feel, ease of use, and better features on Roku. Apps just feel better crafted on Roku, and the operating system just feels more connected with the apps than on competing Android devices.