Our Summary and Conclusion
Our time with the Google Chromecast was mostly trouble-free. The Chromecast app for Android devices installed in seconds and sending YouTube videos up to the Chromecast “just worked”. Once the Chromecast is configured, all that’s required to send videos up to the TV is the tap of a button. The same held true using the Google Cast extension for Chrome. Sending content from a browser window requires nothing more than a couple of clicks. Image quality was also quite good, depending on the quality of the source material, of course.
It was during the installation and setup of the Chromecast in only one environment that we had any issues. Connecting the device directly to a Netgear R6300 router at a distance of about 15 feet worked properly. Connecting to an ASUS RT-AC66U router through a couple of walls at a distance of about 30 feet also worked properly from the get go. Trying to connect the Chromecast to an older Linksys WRT-310N router or to a Hawking Range Extender (which was paired to the same router) at distances of about 20 – 40 feet, however, did not function properly. We were not able to establish a reliable connection to fully configure the device, even after multiple attempts. This is probably an isolated problem, but something we thought we should point out nonetheless.
The bottom line is that the Google Chromecast is absolutely awesome for the money. If you want the ability to quickly and easily share multimedia content from your mobile device or PC to a big screen TV, spending the $35 for a Chromecast is a no brainer. It’s not a very powerful device and certainly can’t compete with more expensive media streamers or HTPCs, in terms of flexibility or functionality, but for under 40 bucks, who cares?