Which Roku Should You Buy?

Which Roku Should You Buy?

It's getting to be that time of the year again when media streamer sales once again go through the roof. While there are several Roku models to choose from, here's how to find the right one that meets your needs.

///// Just Added - Winter 2019 Roku Model Comparison Guide /////

All Roku models now use the same ARM Cortex A53 quad-core CPU running at @ 1.2 GHz. They will all be equally as snappy navigating through the menus and in overall performance.

Which Roku Should You Buy?

Roku sells several different standalone models across its product line. Starting at a mere $29.99 for its entry Roku Express model and topping out at $99.99 for its flagship Roku Ultra.

Compare all the current Roku models here - here

While CPU speed is now equal across all Roku models, some do have more RAM and NVM (flash) storage space for channels than others. This can make a big difference in how many Roku Channels can be loaded on your Roku all at once. The Roku Ultra alone offers a Micro USB slot for additional channel storage.

Memory Specs For Roku Media Streamers

Roku ModelRAMNVM (Flash) Channel Storage
Roku Express 512 MBNVM 256 MB
Roku Streaming Stick 512 MBNVM 256 MB
Roku Roku Streaming Stick+ 4K 1GBNVM 512 MB
Roku Premiere 4K 1 GB *UnconfirmedNVM 256 MB
Roku Premiere+ 4K 1 GB *UnconfirmedNVM 256 MB
Roku Ultra 4K 1 GBNVM 512 MB
* RAM AND NVM Specs on the brand new Roku Premiere and Premier+ aren't published yet. Since they are 4K, most likely they have the same memory specs as the Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra which are both 1 GB.

Screen Resolution - This is another important factor and depending on which TV you own and the type of content you typically enjoy watching content in 1080p vs 4K HDR can make a huge difference.

The Roku Express and Roku Streaming Stick both use a 720p HD User Interface (UI) on the Home Screen and the Roku Ultra, Premiere and Streaming Stick+ all use a 1080p HD UI which looks significantly better overall.

WiFi - This is what can make the most difference when choosing a new Roku model. Only the Roku Ultra offers both AC WiFi and Ethernet. All other models offer 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz WiFi but only 3 Roku models offer Wireless: 802.11ac dual-band MIMO. These are the Roku Ultra, Roku Streaming Stick and Roku Streaming Stick+. Between the Roku Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick+ the Plus model offers much better WiFi range because the antenna is actually built into the USB power cable. This is important as Streaming Sticks are buried behind a TV which can decrease their WiFi range.

Remote Control - Another important consideration between the various Roku models is the included Roku Remote control. The Premiere+, Stick, and Stick+ all come with a Roku remote control that has the voice search feature. They also allow you to adjust the TV volume and turn your television on/off. This remote is WiFi Direct, so you can point it anywhere or hide your Roku inside a cabinet or behind the TV and it will still operate your Roku. The Ultra comes the same remote but also adds the Roku private listening headphone jack, along with a nice pair of JBL headphones.

These Are the Roku Models We Would Choose

For the better WiFi, increased storage space both RAM and NVM along with a better remote we would choose either the Roku Streaming Stick+ or the new Roku Ultra with JBL headphones. Granted these both cost a little more than some of the less expensive models, but you get so much more for your money. In the long run will have a Roku model that should last quite a bit longer than if you scrimped over a few dollars. At some point, more and more content will be available in 4K and even if you don't yet have a 4K TV, both these models offer enough features that make it worth the price to splurge on much nicer Roku model.

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