Which Chromecast should you buy?

Chromecast Ultra

The Chromecast Ultra is the Chromecast you could buy. It's future-proofed, with support for 4K resolution, and should remain Google's gold standard for a while to come.

Who should buy the Chromecast Ultra?

If you want a simple way to watch video found with a phone or tablet — but you want to watch it on your TV — then this is the device for you. It works with Android and iOS and web browsers.

Is it a good time to buy this phone?

Chromecast Ultra was introduced in November 2016. While Google could release a successor at any time, this is a sort of long-term product with basic internals that shouldn't require a major refresh anytime soon.

Reasons to buy

  • East to set up
  • Easy to use
  • Supports 4K video

Reasons not to buy

  • If you don't like using your phone to control video

Chromecast Ultra is the best Chromecast you can get

Chromecast — both the hardware and the protocol behind it — maybe is one of Google's most important products of the past few years. If you've ever watched a video on your phone and wished that you had an easy way to watch it on your TV, Chromecast is the answer. And, perhaps more important, it's a relatively inexpensive answer.

Chromecast Ultra is a simple device — an HDMI dongle. You plug it into your TV's HDMI port, and plug in the included power connector, set it up in the Google Home app, and you're done. You'll want to be sure to use the included power brick with the Chromecast Ultra , as 4K video needs a little more juice to keep all that data flowing.

Chromecast Ultra an inexpensive, long-term way to watch 4K video.

In addition to supporting 4K resolution, Chromecast Ultra also has support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, the two competing standards of HDR video.

Chromecast Ultra also should be future-proofed for the foreseeable future. The 4K video standard isn't going to change anytime soon. So even if you don't yet have a 4K-compatible television, you should still spend a few extra dollars on Chromecast Ultra now for when you do get an upgraded TV.

Alternatives to Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast Ultra has a little brother — simply named Chromecast. It was refreshed in 2018 but still tops out at 1080p resolution. If you need a Chromecast but know that you won't be needing it with 4K video anytime soon, then this will be the Chromecast you want to get. (Say, for a secondary TV in a guest room.)

They work exactly the same way, it's just the end result that's different. Chromecast Ultra does 4K video with HDR, the "regular" Chromecast doesn't.

It's as simple as that. This Chromecast is the same as the Chromecast Ultra, only its video tops out at 1080p instead of 4K, and it's less expensive. If you know you won't be needing 4K video on a TV, then this is the Chromecast to get.

If you have a stereo receiver that's great but doesn't include any sort of connectivity to it, this is an inexpensive way to stream music.

Bottom line

Chromecast Ultra is the Chromecast to get if you need 4K video today, or if you know what you'll need 4K video on a 4K TV at some point in the future. It's easy to set up, and easy to use.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide