It’s been absolutely no secret that Walmart has been working on a duo of Android TV streaming devices, but the lead-up to launch has been a little odd to say the least. Now, though, Walmart has officially started selling its onn-branded Android TV streamers, and we’ve spent a few days with one of them, too.
After being on the retailer’s website for over a month now, Walmart confirmed today to 9to5Google that sales have officially started on the device. Customers have been able to buy the device for about a week if it showed up in their store, but as of this week the streamers should both be available in stores. As for online orders, Walmart tells us that the 4K model, which costs $29.88, should be available for purchase online, but the $24.88 FHD version is still being finalized for online orders. Your results may vary, then.
To recap these devices, the 4K device is a streaming box with a form factor similar to Google’s ADT-3 developer device. The FHD device, meanwhile uses the streaming stick form factor popularized by Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google’s original Chromecast. Both run the standard Android TV platform, not the newer Google TV. They also both ship with a Google-designed remote based on the G10 design.
I’ve been using the 4K option from Walmart’s lineup for the past few days and, frankly, I’ve been rather happy with it so far. For being so inexpensive I fully expected the experience to suffer considerably. However, I’ve only been happy with just about everything so far. Overall performance is solid, to say the least, with apps generally feeling snappy and the Android TV homescreen running just as good as any other box/stick I’ve used. It’s easily on par if not better than the Chromecast with Google TV in that aspect.
The highlight has been the remote, of course. This is the first use of the Google-designed G10 remote in the mass market, and it’s a very, very good design. It takes just about everything that was good about the remote included with the new Chromecast — the IR blaster, the input button, the clicky buttons, etc. — and makes it more comfortable with a longer, slightly flatter design.
It’s not all good news, though. I have run into a few bugs that I’d consider more than minor. The remote has had disconnection issues on multiple occasions, specifically with the streaming box disconnecting from the remote. This left me unable to control the box at all, with a reboot being the only solution, a pain when the box was mounted behind my wall-mounted TV. On another occasion, HBO Max seemingly crashed the device, but that issue only cropped up once.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with what Walmart is bringing to the table. It’s a snappy, capable box that delivers Android TV without any major compromises. At just $30, it’s a tremendous value and is basically an impulse buy when you need a streamer. Is it worth it over the Chromecast at just $20 less? I think there’s an argument to be made, but I’ll have more to say about that in a full review soon.
More on Android TV:
- Stadia is coming to Chromecast w/ Google TV and select Android TV devices on June 23
- Apple TV app is now available on all Android TV devices, too
- YouTube for Android TV adds playback speed controls in latest update
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