Roku has increasingly impressed us with its set-top boxes this decade – they’ve been adding functionality, usability, and extra features that people actually want. But the latest Roku player may be the most impressive yet, and that’s saying something. If you are looking for an excellent entertainment box to pair with the best LED TVs of 2018, then you may want to stop here.
The newest line of boxes includes the Roku Express, Roku Express Plus, Roku Premiere, and Premiere Plus…as well as the impressive Roku Ultra. At first glance, the most impressive thing here is the size of these models – if you thought that the Apple TV was tiny, you haven’t seen anything yet. These tiny boxes and their remotes will fit anywhere, particularly the Express models. The Premieres are larger by offer Ethernet connections, headphone jack, microSD card compatibility, and other physical extras that make sense.
However, the software here also impresses. The Express models are fairly basic, but like the entire line they received a processor upgrade to make them faster. The Premieres are, to no surprise, designed more specifically for 4K content, which is growing more common on Roku-friendly platforms like Netflix and YouTube. The Wi-Fi has also been upgraded to a dual-band option for busier Wi-Fi networks, and there are HDR capabilities for greater content control. The Ultra model, meanwhile, has all this plus a high-end optical audio port and voice search capabilities, as well as a USB port for expanding your storage.
However, despite all the feature upgrades – which are great for minimalistic set-top boxes – the most impressive spec is probably the price, which manages to outdo the competition without breaking a sweat (at least so far). The Express will only cost you $30. The Premiere models are $80 and $100 respectively, and even the Ultra only goes up to $130. Those are prices well within the reach of the average consumer, which makes Roku’s options even more attractive. You can preorder now on the Roku site if you’re interested, but the units will be shipping in October.