Friday, July 9, 2021

Onn UHD Streaming Device fails the test

Recently, I tested the Onn FHD Streaming Stick. It didn't go well.

Then, I got the Onn UHD Streaming Device to test it. I have to admit, it went a lot better. But it still didn't go well.

I'll give you the ending now: okay device, but I recommend the higher priced Chromecast/Google TV for a similar platform, or a Roku Express 4K+ for a similar priced streaming device.

Let me tell you what I liked about it first.

The price. The price of under $30 is a good. And it may be worth that price. Maybe.

It's not much more than the Onn FHD Streaming Stick, but it's a much better device. So, for the money, the Onn UHD Streaming Device is much superior to the FHD Stick.

It's noticeably faster, and much more stable. As with the Stick, setting up and downloading updates was actually pretty smooth. Like the Stick, the device is an Android TV powered unit. It included the option to use an Android phone to set it up, but I don't use an Android phone. Even so, manual setup was easy enough. The only problem came when running apps for the first time. I had to configure each, signing in with my account, but that's not a major issue at all for me. That's true for almost any device. Bottom line is setup was easy, and didn't have the sluggishness of the FHD Stick.

Also, unlike with the FHD Stick, the UHD Device responded well to the apps. At least, it didn't hang up nearly as much. I was so frustrated with the FHD Stick that I cut the testing short, after I had tried the features and used it for a few days. I didn't want to keep using the Stick. The UHD Device was a much better experience. However, it wasn't up to my standards.

In the week I tested the Onn UHD Streaming Device, I had to power cycle -- unplug and plug it back in -- the Device as many times as I normally have to do a Roku in a year. That's not an exaggeration. I rarely ever have to unplug a Roku device to restart it. In the last year, either three or four times. I think three. In the past two years, maybe six times. Perhaps seven. But no more that that in a 12 or 24 month period.

I had to unplug and restart the UHD Device five times this week alone. That's over 50 times more than a Roku on average over a period of time. And that's not acceptable.

Still, I have to say it's a huge improvement over the FHD Stick. But not enough. Once testing was done, I disconnected the Onn UHD Streaming Device and reconnected the Chromecast/Google TV, which is my secondary device, behind Roku.

Oh, there's one other thing I like about the Onn devices. The remote is pretty good. I actually like it better than the remote that comes with the Chromecast/Google TV device. If the Chromecast/Google TV came with the Onn remote, it would be a much better experience. Almost enough to threaten Roku as my go-to device. Yes, I like the Onn remote that much.

Why? The layout of the remote makes more sense to me. I don't have to look as much as often to see what button I'm hitting. The Chromecast/Google TV remote team could take lessons from the Onn design team.

Oh, there is one thing, and one thing only I don't like about the Onn remote. There is no pause button. You have to press the center button, which functions as an OK button, a pause/play button, and probably something else. I prefer the separate pause/play buttons.

So, as I said, I won't recommend the Onn UHD Streaming Device, but if I found myself using one, I would be okay with it. At least, a lot more okay than with that Onn Stick. If not for the almost daily hangups of the device, I would put it in the "yeah, its a good device, go ahead and get one" category. As it is, I won't try to scare people away from it, but I won't encourage it either. My Streaming Life doesn't need an unreliable device.

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