The Roku Express is Roku’s entry-level set-top streaming device, and it’s getting an upgrade. The new Roku Express 4K+ adds 4K video resolution along with support for the HDR+ video standard. While the device won’t be available until May 16th, 2021, you can preorder now at a retail price of $39.99. But, before you pull the trigger on a new device purchase, let’s take a look at what the Roku Express 4K+ brings to the table.
- Roku Express 4K+ Price: $39.99
- Is the Roku Express 4K+ Worth It?: It is definitely worth buying if you’re looking for a streaming device with 4K video resolution and HDR support. It’s even a better buy than the Roku Streaming Stick+.
Difference Between Roku Express 4K+ and 4K
Roku is actually releasing 2 new versions of the Roku Express, the 4K and 4K+. The Roku Express 4K will only available at Walmart, where the Express 4K+ can be purchased online. The only differences between the Roku Express 4K and Roku Express 4K+ are the price and the remote included with each device. The Roku Express 4K+ comes with a voice remote with TV controls, while Roku Express 4K comes with a simple remote that doesn’t feature voice or TV controls. Roku Express 4K will be priced $5 cheaper, retailing at $34.99.
The following features are included for both Roku Express 4K and 4K+:
- 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless
- Works with Alexa and Google voice assistant
- Works with Apple AirPlay and HomeKit
- 720p, 1080p, and 4K UHD with HDR and HDR+ at 60 frames per second
- IR receiver for universal remotes
- Dolby Audio pass-through via HDMI and DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI
- Includes HDMI cable
Improvements Over Previous Roku Express
The previous iteration of the Roku express was released in 2019. Here are the key differences when comparing the Roku Express 4K to its predecessor:
- wireless connectivity has been upgraded to 802.11ac dual-band wireless from 802.11 b/g/n single-band wireless
- Roku Express 4K+ supports 4K UHD at 60 frames per second with HDR, supporting HDR10/HDR10+ with HLG, or Hybrid Log Gamma. The 2019 Express maxes out at 1080p resolution with no HDR.
- Roku Express 4K+ has 1 GB of onboard RAM vs. 512 MB with the Roku Express
- Roku Express 4K+ includes a better remote (voice remote with TV controls)
- While the Roku Express 4K+ doesn’t have an Ethernet port, you can use a third-party Ethernet adapter to use the Roku Express 4K+ on a wired network. If you try this, you must connect the Ethernet adapter to the power adapter included with your Roku player and plug that into a wall outlet to provide power to your Ethernet adapter.
Roku Express 4K+ CPU Fact Check
Be very careful what you read online. I’ve seen several websites claim that the Roku Roku Express 4K+ has an updated CPU compared to its predecessor. This is false. The previous versions of Roku Express (Models 3930X and 3931X) have the same central processing unit (CPU) as the new Roku Express 4K (Models 3940X and 3941X. The confusion is due to the previous Roku Express 3930X and 3931X listed the CPU as the ARM® Cortex-A53 quad-core CPU. The new Roku Express 4K+ lists its CPU as the “Realtek 1315.” The Realtek 1315 is a system on chip (SoC) that contains several components like a CPU, GPU, media encoders, networking components, and more. If you look into the Realtek 1315 specifications, you will find the CPU is the ARM® Cortex-A53, the same exact CPU used in the previous iteration of the Roku Express.
What’s in the Box
The Roku Express 4K+ comes with the following:
- Roku Express 4K+ streaming player
- Voice remote with TV power, volume, and mute buttons
- Two AAA batteries
- USB power cable
- Power adaptor
- Premium High Speed HDMI® Cable
- Adhesive strip for mounting (optional)
Roku Express 4K+ streaming player weighs 1.6 ounces (44.6 g) and has a size of 0.8 in X 3.4 in X 1.5 in.
The power consumption is 2.5W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD video and requires 5V – 1A power supply. There are only 2 ports on the device, an HDMI port to connect to your TV and a micro-USB port for powering the device. There is also a USB reset button for recycling power to the device.
Is The Roku Express 4K+ Worth It
The Roku Express 4K+ is perfect for entry-level streamers that want access to 4K video in HDR at a great price. If you already have a streaming device with 4K capabilities, I would pass on this device. But if you are looking for 4K capability in a Roku, the Roku Express 4K+ even has a few advantages over the Roku Streaming Stick+. The Express 4K+ boasts better wireless capabilities and supports HDR10+ with HLG. While The Streaming Stick+ supports 4K video with HDR, it does not support HDR10+ or HLG. This makes the Roku Express 4K+ my recommended streaming device for those not looking for a top-of-the-line device like the Roku Ultra.
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