Best Roku Android Central 2021
If you're looking for the best Roku streaming devices, then you've come to the right place. Roku has a bunch of different streaming products that are so easy to set up and use. You'll get access to thousands of movies and TV shows with devices that are compatible with smart TVs and for those of you who still have dinosaur-aged TVs. We love using Roku devices and have picked out our favorites for you in several categories, although our favorite is the Roku Ultra.
- Best overall Roku streaming device: Roku Ultra
- Best value Roku streaming device: Roku Streaming Stick+
- Best smart Roku streaming TV: TCL 6 Series
- Best multipurpose Roku streaming device: Roku Streambar Pro
- Best Roku streaming speakers: Roku TV Wireless Speakers
- Most affordable Roku streaming device: Roku Express 4K+
Best overall Roku streaming device: Roku Ultra
The Roku Ultra is the company's premium streaming set-top box. It offers all the high-end specs you'd expect in such a device, like 4K UHD and HDR, as well as support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It also has some killer usability features unique to the Roku brand, such as a Lost Remote Finder on the box. The next time that pesky remote slips between the couch cushions, all you have to do is press a button, and it will make a sound to help you locate it.
The Roku Ultra also has a built-in headphone jack on the remote and includes premium JBL headphones with the device so that you can listen to your favorite program without disturbing those around you. The device has a built-in Roku assistant to help you navigate the interface and find programming. You can still use Amazon's Alexa or Google's Assistant if you prefer, although it's not hands-free.
Roku fans are Roku fans because the company has an open approach to allowing content from all kinds of services onto their devices. Their products are also fairly customizable compared to the competition, and the Ultra is one of the only streamers we know of that offers expandable storage via a USB port. The newest version of the Ultra also allows you to customize the functionality of two of the buttons on the remote. Flexible indeed!
- Cheaper than competing boxes
- Built-in headphone jack for "night listening"
- Lost remote finder
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- No HDR10+ support
- No hands-free smart voice assistant
Best value Roku streaming device: Roku Streaming Stick+
As with many of these categories, Roku was among the first to bring streaming technology downmarket from fancy, expensive boxes to no-frills streaming sticks. You can certainly find a whole range of streaming sticks on the market today for less money, including our Most Affordable pick at the end of this list, but Roku feels there is room at the high end for a top-performing stick. Plus, what you get for the price adds up to a great value.
The Streaming Stick+ is a svelte, Juul-looking device that plugs into the HDMI port on the back of your TV and can thus be tucked out of sight. Don't let its small size fool you, though. This device can support HD, 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos so that you can enjoy all of your favorite content from all of your favorites services at the highest standards. It also has long-range wireless support and comes with Roku's beloved smart remote.
However, you won't get some of the Ultra features, like the remote finder or the headphone jack, but those omissions justify the lower cost.
- Affordable entree into 4k, UHD, HDR streaming
- Can be tucked away for distraction-free viewing
- Advanced wireless receiver
- Doesn't support HDR10+ or Dolby Vision
- Doesn't include remote finder or headphone jack
Best smart Roku streaming TV: TCL 6 Series
We're starting to sound like a broken record here, but Roku was also one of the first to make deals with third-party TV manufacturers to include its Roku OS on smart TVs. Many TV manufacturers did, and still do, ship TVs with their own proprietary smart software, but in general, those efforts have been met with a collective meh. What the market has seemed to respond to over the past few years are the manufacturers that collaborate with the likes of Amazon and Roku to bring more established and refined, smart TV operating systems to smart TVs for a more reasonable cost.
Roku has partnerships with multiple manufacturers on hundreds of Roku Smart TVs, including TCL, Sharp, JVC, Philips, and others. The one that we've had a good experience with, which also happens to be lauded by critics and Amazon reviewers alike, is the TCL 6 Series of Roku smart TVs.
The TCL 6 series is available in 55, 65, and 75-inch versions. It features a 4K, UHD MINI-LED QLED screen with support for Dolby Vision and all of the ports and accessories you'd expect, as well as the famous Roku remote. You can use Roku's voice search or connect Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to the device for added functionality.
- Competitive pricing for a larger 4K UHD screen
- Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Brushed metal design stands out
- Complaints of screen banding
- You're basically forced into the Roku interface
Best multipurpose Roku streaming device: Roku Streambar Pro
Roku has felt enough pressure recently from other device manufacturers to begin expanding its ecosystem and product offerings beyond streaming sticks, boxes, and TVs — and into speakers. After introducing its first speaker product, the Roku TV Wireless Speakers, it added the Roku Wireless Subwoofer and Roku Smart Soundbar to the fold in 2020. In 2021, it rebranded the Smart Soundbar as the Roku Streambar Pro.
The Roku Streambar Pro combines Roku's streaming players' goodies and turns it up to 11 with amazing sound integrations. The Streambar Pro also pairs with the new Wireless Subwoofer to improve the sound quality's breadth and depth. And unlike the previous Smart Soundbar, the new Roku Streambar Pro also works with the brand's TV Wireless Speakers.
The Streambar Pro comes with the upgraded Roku voice remote, with Google Assistant integration and buttons to control your TV, streaming, and sound all from one device. It also supports 4K, HDR, and Dolby Audio and can be used as a regular Bluetooth speaker to stream from one of the many music channels on the Roku or directly from your mobile device.
- Two devices in one!
- Can act as a stand-alone Bluetooth speaker
- Compatible with Roku TV Wireless Speakers
- Not compatible with Alexa
- Most expensive Roku streaming device
Best Roku streaming speakers: Roku TV Wireless Speakers
The beauty of these speakers is that they promise to deliver great sound at an affordable price point. They are bundled as a stereo pair and are incredibly easy to set up. They come with their own Roku Touch remote so that you can adjust the volume and sound settings independent of your viewing experience. They also support Bluetooth streaming so that you can enjoy your favorite audio from any compatible Bluetooth device.
The biggest drawback to the Roku TV Wireless Speakers previously was that they couldn't be paired with the Roku Smart Soundbar; however, they're now compatible with the new Streambar Pro. You can also pair the TV Wireless Speakers to Roku's other new audio accessory, the Roku Wireless Subwoofer. As a result, Roku sets itself up to be a competitive player in the wider home theater space with an expanding audio lineup.
- Affordable quality sound
- TV remote and speaker remotes included
- Pairs with Roku Streambar Pro
- Won't work with other ecosystems
- You might need mounting accessories
Most affordable Roku streaming device: Roku Express 4K+
New in 2021, the Roku Express 4K+ streaming device keeps both the improved design and great starter price of the previous Roku Express. The updated design is supposed to help the Express blend in with the TV it's attached to, especially since Roku says that its USB ports can power the device without plugging into a power outlet.
While the original Roku Express topped out at HD resolution, the new Roku Express 4K+ streams HD, 4K, and HDR content. It also features a more powerful processor, dual-band Wi-Fi support, and an upgraded voice remote. Unlike the previous remote, the upgraded Roku voice remote allows you to navigate the streaming service and control your TV's power and volume from the same device.
Roku is marketing the Express 4K+ as "the most affordable way to stream in 4K," and it's not wrong. The device is also easy to set up, making it a great option for first-time streamers. However, experienced streamers who want to add a high-quality and affordable streaming device to every room with a TV should also consider grabbing a Roku Express 4K+ or two.
- Great value for the price
- Streams HD, 4K, HDR content
- Upgraded voice remote
- No Dolby Vision HDR support
- Wi-Fi performance could be better
Roku aims to be your one-stop shop when it comes to home entertainment. With an ever-expanding product portfolio that stretches from cheap streaming sticks to high-end streaming boxes, integrated smart TVs, and audio solutions, you can go crazy outfitting your home with the latest and greatest from Roku.
Our top choice for Roku streaming products is still the Roku Ultra. It's priced below competing boxes from Apple and Amazon and offers a great video experience. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, the TCL 6 Series TV is a good value for a great TV. Alternatively, if you're getting into high-definition streaming, or if you want to outfit multiple spaces, you can't go wrong with the updated Roku Express 4K+.
If you're looking for something a bit more substantial, however, then the new Roku Streambar Pro may be the best option for you. A larger and pricier version of last year's Streambar and the successor to Roku's original Smart Soundbar, The biggest perk of the Streambar Pro may be the virtual surround feature, which the company says "creates spacious sound that moves around the room for an enhanced audio experience." The Streambar Pro is also compatible with the Roku TV Wireless Speakers, which wasn't the case with the previous Smart Soundbar model.
We hope this list was helpful to you if you're considering picking up a new Roku device soon. Whatever you choose, we wish you happy streaming!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. He loves playing with all kinds of tech and then writing about it. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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