Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick review: Access to the Google TV experience at an affordable price
With so many new TVs with built-in smarts even in the budget segment, you wouldn’t think that many streaming devices are needed anymore. However, a lot of people are still using old TVs that aren’t smart, smart TVs with limited capabilities, or smart interfaces that don’t work as well as they used to. In such cases, a good streaming device will allow you to enjoy the benefits of up-to-date smart functionality without having to upgrade to an expensive and otherwise functional television.
Among the latest affordable streaming devices in India are Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick, is valued at Rs. 3,499. With its compact form factor, Ultra-HD and HDR streaming capabilities, and Google TV user interface, it’s one of the hottest options you can buy for less than Rs. 5,000 right now. Did it meet expectations? Find out in this review.
Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick Design and Specifications
Like Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Mi TV Stick, the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is a small, simple device that plugs directly into the HDMI port of your TV and hopefully stays out of sight for the rest of its life.
The streaming stick has an HDMI plug and a Micro-USB port for power, and comes with a USB cable and wall adapter for you to plug in. I was able to power the Realme TV Stick directly using the USB port on my TV during the process but this meant that the device took a few seconds to boot up once the TV was turned on. It is recommended that you use a wall adapter when possible for a stable power source independent of the TV.
Also included in the sales package are an HDMI extender, remote control, and AAA batteries to power the remote. While the unit can plug directly into most TVs, an extender can be useful in certain situations, such as when the TV is wall-mounted and space in the back is limited, or if the ports very close together because the bar is quite wide.
The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick supports HDMI 2.1 and can stream content at resolutions up to Ultra-HD at 60Hz. In addition, it can handle high dynamic range content up to the HDR10+ format. There is no Dolby Vision HDR, but Dolby Audio is supported. This device is equipped with a quad-core CPU, has 2GB RAM and 8GB internal memory for apps and application data. It uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 to connect.
Features and Remote Control Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick
Like most standalone streaming devices, the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick comes with an official Bluetooth remote. It’s pretty much the same as the remote that came with Realme Smart TV range, with controls for navigating the interface, adjusting volume and settings, and hotkeys for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and YouTube Music. The remote is powered by two AAA batteries.
There is HDMI CEC support on the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick and this worked fine for me when using it with Hisense Android TV. While I was able to use the Hisense remote to control the Realme TV Stick for most functions, the home key is a notable exception; This tap will return to the main screen of the TV and not the home screen of the Realme device, which makes it a bit more difficult to navigate without using the Realme remote.
The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick also comes with built-in Google Chromecast and Google Assistant functionality. The voice assistant is fully equipped and fetches personalized information, specific content from apps on the device, etc. The microphone on the remote works well enough that the device can interpret commands. phone correctly.
Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick Performance and Software
The standout selling point of the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is its software; To my knowledge this is the first streaming device in India running the Google TV UI, launched with Chromecast with Google TV; Google Chromecast is not officially on sale in India yet. The UI works on Android TV, with the Realme TV Stick running Android version 11. There’s also access to the Google Play Store for Android TV, allowing users to install any of the apps. more than 5,000 apps optimized for the big screen.
Many popular apps are pre-installed, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, YouTube and various Indian streaming services including MX Player, Alt Balaji, Zee5, Sun Nxt and Sony Liv . Helpfully, you can uninstall most of these apps if you don’t need them. Hotkeys on the remote work as expected to launch applications on the interface. The apps themselves are exactly the same as I’ve seen on Android TV devices; Google TV simply changes the look and the way you access apps and content.
Google TV is significantly different from the original Android TV user interface in that it puts content first and offers recommendations and cues that help you pick something to watch on the fly. Of course, like before, you can always go directly to specific apps if you already know what you want. This is similar to Xiaomi’s PatchWall UI, although the management is significantly less India-focused and more general in nature.
Features large banners for content, organized listings for categories, the ability to mark specific movies and TV shows as part of your ‘Watch List’, and an easy guide to how to access content in the watchlist. While the system will try to suggest how to stream free content, in some cases you may be taken to Google Play Movies to rent or buy movies. You can also pause and resume live viewing of content from various apps through the Google TV user interface.
A key aspect of Google TV is its integration with various streaming services, with the system detecting which services you have installed and making content recommendations based on that. I found recommendations from Amazon Prime Video, Disney + Hotstar, Apple TV, and MX Player. Oddly enough, Netflix isn’t built into the system, so I can’t see any management that includes Netflix content. Of course, I could just launch the Netflix app and watch whatever I want, but this lack of integration in India has been a bit of a letdown.
In addition to the user interface, the settings and other menus also have a changeable appearance. However, the core of the operating system is still Android TV and works exactly the same, even the Google Play Store looks practically the same as it does on TVs and streaming devices with stock Android TV.
The device itself responded and worked as expected for me; while it’s not a particularly fast or smooth experience, it’s certainly not slow or buggy. However, I had some issues with HDR streaming; for example, I couldn’t play HDR content in Ultra-HD at 60Hz on the two TVs on which I tried the Realme TV Stick. Dropping the frame rate to 30Hz in Ultra-HD fixed this, but it’s definitely a bug that Realme must look into and try to fix with a software update.
It should also be pointed out that my review unit inexplicably stopped working properly shortly after completing testing, but before publishing this review; the UI failed to upload or didn’t allow access to the Settings menu, even when I tried the device on three different TVs. I was able to complete this review using a second device submitted by Realme, but the cause of the problem with the first device remains unknown.
The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is unique in that it provides access to the Google TV user interface that is still very popular. However, in most other ways, this is a normal streaming device, even for the price. While you get a convenient form-factor, Ultra-HD streaming, and HDR10+ support, the lack of Dolby Vision leaves you a bit disappointed. Google TV’s lack of Netflix integration for recommendations in India is also worth pointing out here, although this isn’t a flaw of the Realme TV Stick.
It is worth considering this device as an alternative to Mi Box 4K similarly likely, if the more convenient form factor of the Realme device appeals. However, if you can increase your budget a bit, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K remains our top pick in the segment thanks to its Dolby Vision support, and you might as well consider Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
Price: Rs. 3,499
- Android TV 11 with Google TV UI
- Convenient form factor
- Ultra-HD and HDR streaming at a great price
- No Dolby Vision
- Some bugs in the software
Rating (out of 10):
Design and specifications: 8
Value of money: 8