I’m a sucker for a sale; have always been, and will probably die clicking or tapping away furiously on a “Buy Now” button. Sometimes I think I would show up to a discount ice sale in the Antarctic, or a half-price tree sale in the middle of the Amazon… the jungle, not the company… though I will say some of the Prime Day sales feel just as pointless. The point is, even if I didn’t get suckered into buying things, I would certainly be interested in all of these pointless sales, because they mix two of my favourite things in the world – discounts and technology!
In one such moment of weakness, I found myself craving a new content source for the new 50-inch LCD that I had bought in… well… another such moment of weakness. I spent days online looking at options, and not being satisfied. Eventually, I gave in and bought a Chromecast, thinking “I’ve heard terrible things, but it’s Google; how bad can it be?” I wish I hadn’t challenged the gods of fate, because the answer is nightmarish! To make matters worse, I even sprung extra for an additional Chromecast Audio, which doesn’t improve things at all.
Setting up Chromecast is a minor pain in the gluteus maximus – in this age of plug and play, it’s just a little too plug and pray for me. And then what? Nothing. Literally, nothing. There is no UI. It’s basically a wireless hookup from your phone to your TV, and Chromecast does nothing by itself. Nothing. If I’m playing a movie for the family, and get a call and have to leave the room, *poof* bye, bye family entertainment. I essentially bought a long HDMI cable for 3k! No, wait, I essentially bought an HDMI cable and then decided, “Wait, 3k isn’t enough! Let me flush another 3k down the toilet and buy an overpriced audio cable as well!” And then people wonder why I’m always in a bad mood…
Could it get worse? You bet. With a cable, I might trip over it, fall and break my neck, or the dog might strangle itself to death on it… you know, all of those very desirable things… but at least I wouldn’t have to deal with *ugh* lag! You know that feeling you get when you’re driving peacefully and a bunch of lunatics in a car who are out for a joy ride cut you off? You get so enraged you want to follow them home and run them over when they get out of their car… twice… just to be sure.** That’s the feeling I get when I find I’ve paid 3k to experience lag between scrubbing on my phone and the result showing on the TV…
I decided to sleep on it. They say everything is better in the morning. It wasn’t – my mattress is lumpy, and I think they just add an “Orthopaedic” sticker on to bad batches at the mattress factory! There are terrible connection issues with these damn things. I was connected last night, why do I have to connect again? I literally just went 15 feet away to the bedroom – I live in Mumbai, this is my way of shamelessly showing off how big my flat is! When they do connect it’s like most of my relationships… on again, off again, and very frustrating.
The WiFi chips in these things seem to be terribly hand-assembled by very incompetent Chinese children in whatever sweatshop makes them. In 2017, when you’re 10 feet away from your TV (another shameless plug of my big, beautiful Mumbai flat), seeing “Buffering” is even more upsetting than lag!
Chromecast supports Plex, and I thought that would be a saving grace, it wasn’t. It’s so difficult to scrub videos properly on a phone UI. The Amazon Fire Stick is almost the same price and while I hate it too, it at least has a decent UI and a remote. And the Chromecast doesn’t even support Amazon Prime Video! That was the last straw.
I’m told all reviews need an assessment of build quality. It’s not really important here because it will dangle from the back of your TV, but they do feel flimsy. Don’t touch them when they’re operating though, or you will get first degree burns!
So what’s the bottom line? Buy this only if you want to eventually throw them on the ground and stomp the electrons out of them as a way of relaxing yourself. Google says “Don’t be evil”, but they’re going to hell for unleashing these abominations on the world!
Anyone interested in buying a Chromecast + Audio setup? As good as new…
** Editor’s note: Booman has been advised to seek professional help for his road rage. It’s not normal to have those feelings.