The Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Streaming Stick 4K+ are the two of the latest entries in Roku’s lineup — but which one is ultimately worth buying? Buying a smart streaming device in 2021 is one that comes with a lot of decisions to make. Roku has plenty of options to choose from, but so do Amazon, Apple, Google, and others. There are various models available from each company, different specs/features to consider, and more.
While it’s difficult to buy a bad streaming gadget in 2021, sticking with Roku is the best bet for many shoppers. Why? It has access to the most streaming apps, its interface is easy to use, and its products are always priced extremely competitively. Among the entire Roku family, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ are two of the most compelling options. If someone’s having trouble deciding which to buy, here are a few tips to make that decision a bit easier.
As the nearly identical names imply, the Streaming Stick 4K and Streaming Stick 4K+ have more than a few things in common. Both gadgets have a new quad-core processor for 30 percent faster performance over the old Streaming Stick+ they’re replacing. A new Wi-Fi chip also enables up to 2x faster wireless speeds, allowing for smoother video and audio streaming. That streaming goes up to 4K UHD for both models, along with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Tying all of this together is an included remote that controls the Roku interface, TV power/volume, and supports voice commands with the press of a button.
The Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ Has One Key Advantage
The Streaming Stick 4K and Streaming Stick 4K+ are effectively the same devices. The one key difference lies in the remote that comes with the latter. Along with all of the features outlined above, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ includes the Roku Voice Remote Pro. In addition to the remote features mentioned above, the Voice Remote Pro has a few extra goodies — one of which is a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening. Want to watch a show without disturbing other people in the house? Just plug in a pair of earbuds or headphones to the Voice Remote Pro and start watching a show like normal.
Another key feature is support for hands-free voice controls. Instead of having to press the voice button, users can say ‘Hey Roku,’ followed by their command for completely hands-free control of their TV. That hands-free functionality also enables the lost remote feature. If the remote happens to become lost, say ‘Hey Roku, where’s my remote?’ to automatically trigger a loud audio cue from the remote’s built-in speaker. Combine all of that with a rechargeable battery (the regular Streaming Stick 4K remote uses AAA batteries) and customizable shortcut buttons, and the Voice Remote Pro has quite a bit to offer.
Last but certainly not least, there’s the matter of price. The Streaming Stick 4K retails for $49.99, whereas the Streaming Stick 4K+ kicks things up to $69.99. Given that the streaming stick itself is identical across both models, this really comes down to how much someone wants the Voice Remote Pro. If someone thinks they’d benefit from private listening, hands-free controls, and the lost remote functionality, spending an extra $20 for the Streaming Stick 4K+ is a good idea.
If none of those things matter, there’s no harm in saving some cash by picking up the regular Streaming Stick 4K. It’s just as fast, has the same upgraded Wi-Fi, and the 4K HDR content will look every bit as good. Not to mention, if someone buys the regular Streaming Stick 4K but finds themselves wishing they had the fancier remote, they can always buy the Voice Remote Pro on its own for $30. In other words, don’t stress this one too much.