The fourth and latest generation of Google’s Chromecast is one of those rare devices that’s quite difficult to review, simply because it just does exactly what it says it does, and does it well.

When we finally bought a new TV, we put the older borrowed Samsung smart TV into a cupboard, storing it for the owner.

There wasn't much point having it out. It was the same old story: the TV was slowing down, apps were going unsupported, it was freezing constantly.

The first few generations of smart TVs are smart no longer – brain-dead and good for nothing more than watching that most ancient of content, "terrestrially broadcast television".

When Google sent me a 2022-model Chromecast with Google TV 4K, which retails for about $110, it was like being sent a new brain for the ageing telly.

Easy to use

The pocket watch-sized device can instantly update any TV with USB or Bluetooth into something state of the art, at least the software side with Google’s new TV operating system, aptly named Google TV.

The Chromecast and Google TV are fantastic – super easy to use and with an interface so smooth that, with a little set-up support, anyone over the age of two should be able to operate it.

Never janky and almost never laggy, it comes online just moments after I turn on the TV and is ready to deliver whichever streaming service I have loaded.

The new Chromecast comes with a neat little remote that is compact and makes complete sense, unlike some Apple TV remotes I could mention. Unusually, it has independent YouTube and Netflix buttons that I will never use but could be nice for some people.

Connected to wifi, it had no problem keeping up with streaming at 4K.

It just works.

Sleek and simple – just like Google TV itself. (Image: Supplied)


In addition to the major streaming brands such as Spotify and Disney+, the app store offers Kiwi-specific apps such as TVNZ+, ThreeNow (terrible app, though that’s not the Chromecast’s fault), Spark Sport and Neon. If it streams, it’s probably there.

If you are a Google Photos user, you can install the app and, for example, share your collection of high-res images of telegraph poles when you host a gathering of the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society.

You can find apps that will allow you to screen-cast your computer screen so you can seriously look at a document without having to muck about with cables.

It also has Google Assistant built in, so it can be part of any Google-centric smart home systems.

The voice control and voice search all work as well as any other voice control. For people who struggle with fine motor control, this could mean bringing a greater level of access to a TV that was previously tricky to control.

Google accounts

To use the Chromecast, you do need to have at least one Google account.

While this means that you’re likely to be sharing all your watching-habit data with Google, this can be avoided by setting up a new account and using that instead.

On top of that, you can have multiple accounts if you want to differentiate between who is using the TV at any time.

There is also the option to set up a kids account that sits within a main account, which functions as a separate profile that limits app access to specific options Google deems child-friendly. Using the Family Link app, you can set up what is (or is not) available, and monitor what has been accessed on that account.

I’d like to say more, but I can’t seem to set up a kids account for some reason. I get so far and it says it’s not available on the account I’ve used for the Chromecast. I’m sure I could figure it out but it’s not important enough to me to make the effort.

Final word

For $110, this little dongle can make your old TV new again, and it will do it magnificently.

That’s it. That’s the whole pitch for the Google Chromecast with Google TV 4K.

And it’s actually a bloody good one.