Roku Express 4K+ vs. Roku Express 4K: What's the difference?

Roku Express Plus
Roku Express Plus (Image credit: Best Buy)

Roku Express 4K+

Roku Express 4k

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The Roku Express 4K+ allows users to stream their favorite content in HD, 4K, and HDR with sharp resolution. It also includes an updated, point anywhere voice remote that makes navigating your favorite apps even easier.

Roku Express 4K+

Affordable 4K streaming

Roku Voice Remote
Dedicated power button
Private listening on mobile
More expensive
Limited Wi-Fi range
Not released in all regions (yet)

Roku Express 4K

Roku Express 4k

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The Roku Express 4K allows users to stream in HD, 4K, and HDR content optimized for your TV. While it offers the same features as the Roku Express 4K+, it comes with a simple remote that's not enabled for voice commands.

Roku Express 4K

The cheaper 4K alternative

Cheaper than cable
Comes with Ethernet adapter
Private listening on mobile
Simple remote
Limited Wi-Fi range
No power/volume buttons

Both the Roku Express 4K+ and Roku Express 4K allow users to watch HD, 4K, and HDR content from top-tier streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Vudu, ESPN, Disney+, Apple TV, and Sling. But if having a voice remote is important to you, you'll want to upgrade to the Express 4K+.

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Roku Express 4K: Prices and features

The new Roku Express 4K+ retails for $40, making it one of the most affordable streaming boxes on the market. A step up from the previously-released Roku Premiere and the Roku Express 4K, the Express 4K+ is enabled for streaming content in HD, 4K, and HDR. The device also features dual-band 802.11ac wireless, which promises a smoother streaming experience when multiple devices are connected to the same network.

The Roku Express 4K+ also comes with an updated voice remote that allows users to power the TV, adjust volume, and mute from the same device. The new remote also allows users to search across channels and turn captions on using the voice search feature. It adds a dedicated button to launch the Apple TV+ streaming service, joining buttons for Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu.

In comparison, the Roku Express 4K retails for $35. While the Roku Express 4K offers an almost identical streaming experience as the Roku Express 4K+, it comes with a simple remote that isn't voice-enabled and doesn't allow users to turn off their TV or adjust the volume with the same remote.

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Roku Express 4K: Who should buy the 4K+?

The Roku Express 4K+ is a small streaming "box" that features better hardware than previous 4K-enabled Roku devices and is compatible will any television featuring an HDMI connection. All you need to do is connect the HDMI port with a cable and connect to your TV's USB port with another cable to power the device. You can also connect the device to a regular power socket instead of the TV's USB for power.

As mentioned above, the Express 4K+ comes with the upgraded Roku Voice Remote and utilizes the new Roku OS, which is compatible with AirPlay 2. That feature enables users to share videos, photos, and music from their Apple devices to their TV.

It's worth pointing out that, while the Express 4K+ offers up to 4K resolution with HDR10 and HDR10+ support, it doesn't support Dolby Vision. As such, TVs with HDR10+ will make per-scene changes to color output while streaming compatible content, but TVs with only Dolby Vision support will not.

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Roku Express 4K: Who should buy the Roku Express 4K?

Roku Express 4k

Source: Roku (Image credit: Source: Roku)

The Roku Express 4K streaming box is identical in size to the Roku Express 4K+ model at 3 by 1.6 by 0.83 inches but is a tad cheaper, making it the most affordable way to stream in 4K on a Roku device right now.

Like the Express 4K+, the Express 4K boasts fast wireless performance for streaming 4K and vibrant HDR content and a customizable home screen that puts favorite Roku channels front and center. The Roku Express 4K also runs on Roku OS and allows users to cast videos and photos, and more from your Apple device using the latest version of AirPlay.

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Roku Express 4K: Which Roku device should you buy?

Both the Roku Express 4K+ and the Roku Express 4K are among the best Roku devices out right now. The biggest difference between the devices is the remote.

As mentioned above, the Express 4K+ comes with a wide-range voice remote, while the standard Express 4K comes with a simple remote with fewer functions. While neither the Roku Express 4K+ nor the Roku Express 4K remotes include a headphone jack for private listening, users can buy a Headphone Edition version of the voice remote via Roku or download the Roku mobile app and listen privately by attaching headphones to their mobile device.

Keegan Prosser is a freelance contributor based in the PNW. When she's not writing about her favorite streaming apps and devices for Android Central, she's listening to a true-crime podcast, creating the perfect playlist for her next road trip, and trying to figure out which fitness tracker she should try next. You can follow her on Twitter @keeganprosser.