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Roku vs Roku Express - whats the difference

Roku vs Roku Express – Comparison Guide 2021

Roku Express is a streaming device from the Roku family that turns ordinary TV into a “smart TV,” with the ability to stream online platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and hundreds of other streaming services. The Roku family has released a couple of devices with updated systems and features. The Roku Express was originally intended to compete with the Google Chromecast, so how do the Roku vs Roku Express compare?

The Roku Streaming Stick comes with a long-range wireless receiver for increased range and seamless streaming. It is a small smart device that plugs into your television to allow you to watch movies, TV shows, live sports, news, and other content over the internet.

The Roku Express and Roku Streaming Stick are both relatively low-cost streaming solutions. Both rely on Wi-Fi to stream content, and both use Roku’s popular operating system. However, most people get’s confused and might interchangeably mistake these two devices. So what are their differences and similarities? All this is covered in this Brief.

Roku vs Roku Express

Roku Express includes a High-Speed HDMI cable and a simple remote. There is no monthly equipment fee needed and no contracts. It is also unbiased, making it simple to find entertainment for free or even at the lowest charges possible.

It streams 4K and HDR video from Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, Vudu, Apple TV, and others, comes with worthwhile features like a voice remote with buttons that can control your TV’s power and volume, and runs Roku’s best-in-class streaming system.

A Roku Streaming Stick is hooked up to the television, similar to a cable or satellite set-top box. Unlike those devices, a Streaming Stick does not need any connection from a coaxial cable in the wall or a satellite dish on a roof. Instead, streaming content is delivered over the home network from services such as Netflix, NOW TV, and BBC iPlayer

Pros of Roku

  • It is easy to set up the device.
  • It is easy to use and operate the device.
  • It is cheap to purchase the device, thus making it affordable to everyone.
  • It is an extensive free movie channel that can save on extra expense.

Cons of Roku

  • Roku only supports HDR-10.
  • Voice control doesn’t work as expected.

Roku express Pros

  • Roku express has a lower base price compared to other competitive devices.
  • It is also easy to find free content in the free mode devices.
  • It is a user-friendly interface.

Roku express cons

  • There are no remote commands needed in operating.
  • It has limited remote capabilities

Hardware design

Roku offers a variety of hardware options, such as streaming players and smart TVs. This document contains key requirements for these items that should be considered when creating Roku channels.

The hardware products are first grouped by their production status in this specification. Currently available: Roku is currently producing these items, which are completely supported. Updatable: While Roku no longer makes these items, they can still be modified with the most recent Roku operating system. Legacy: These variants have been discontinued by Roku, and they are no longer supported by newer versions of the Roku operating system.

This grouping is useful for comparing channels on different Roku devices. Your test suite can include a mix of current and updatable devices with varying performance depending on CPU and RAM.

Under the hood, I would rate the Roku streaming Stick as the most effective and powerful of the two related devices. It has a quad-core processor which is not the case with the Roku Express. This is actually the main hardware difference between these two devices. The two of them don’t support 4K Video. If you need 4K Video, you have to step to the Premiere and Premiere + and other multifunctional devices.

The two devices are very small in design. However, the Roku Express is better looking though this might depend on individual tastes and preferences.

Roku express Features

  • Roku express has no 4K support.
  • It has no Dolby Vision Support.
  • It has no expandable storage.
  • It has a remote control.
  • It is Google assistant compatible.
  • It is Alexa compatible.
  • Uses 1.5 by 3 by 0.75 inches dimension.

Roku stick streaming stick Features

  • Roku streaming stick has a 4K support.
  • Has no Dolby Vision Support.
  • Has no expandable storage.
  • It has a voice remote control with TV power, volume and mute buttons.
  • It has a Google assistant compatible.
  • It’s Alexa compatible.
  • Uses 1.4 by 3.3 by 0.7 inches dimensions.
  • Has power input of 5V-1A
  • It has a weight of 0.9 ounces (25.5 g) and a model 3810R

Ease of use

Roku is a more conventional streaming device that comes with a physical remote and a complete user interface on your television. Streaming applications are accessible from the interface, and this configuration is a perfect choice for those who are familiar with app-based systems. Anything you see on your phone or tablet can be “cast” to your TV. The remote itself is very simple and easy to use by the customers who rarely face any technical problem while operating it.

On purchasing the Roku device according to the customer comments on the platform, it has been realized that it is simple to set up and use this device. Those faced with the challenge of setting-up the device, but are usually assisted with little effort, therefore, making the Roku device convenient to use to everybody.

Additionally, the Roku streaming stick will require just a simple internet connection in order to facilitate its streaming operations. An area with advanced internet connectivity will greatly benefit from this device and it will also be of use to those with WIFI preferred source of internet.

Lastly, both the Roku express and Roku streaming stick are very portable to the customer who might opt to be relocating the device from one place to another as frequently as he or she may want. This will help reduce extra burden or incurring extra expense in case the customer wants to relocate it.

The Main Differences From Roku to Roku Express

HDMI connection: In order to connect, Roku express and Roku streaming stick will require an HDMI port on the television. The good news is that they both come with an HDMI cable.

With the exception of 4K content, which we’ll discuss later in the article, both devices should provide access to all of your favorite live streaming channels (YouTube TV, Sling, and others) as well as popular streaming services. When I was testing the devices, I mostly used YouTube TV, and I couldn’t tell the difference between one Roku version and the next. The user experience remained consistent.

Roku app: It’s worth downloading the free Roku app on your phone regardless of which device you choose between the two. There are some useful features, such as the ability to use your phone as a remote control, a voice search device, or a private listening device when watching TV and don’t want to disturb others.

You can use either of these devices to connect to the internet in a hotel or a dorm. Both have the ability to bypass those pesky public Wi-Fi logins that can be a stumbling block for streaming devices.

Both Roku express and Roku streaming stick rely on Wi-Fi to stream content, and both use Roku’s popular operating system.  The Roku Streaming Stick has a quad-core processor, which the Roku Express lacks, and that’s the main hardware difference between the two.

Remote features

Although both remotes look similar, the Roku Streaming Stick’s is a “point anywhere” remote, meaning it can control the system without having to be pointed at it. Since the Roku Streaming Stick is built to be hidden behind your TV, this is a good thing.

The Roku Express, on the other hand, requires you to aim at the device. That might seem insignificant, but it can be irritating when you’re used to the point-anywhere remote, as we mentioned in our review.

Aside from that, both remotes are almost identical. They’re both equipped with headphone jacks for private listening and shortcut buttons for common streaming services.

Roku vs Roku Express: Prices and Cost to get started

Roku Express is the less expensive and most affordable of the two options. The Roku Express will set you back $29.99, while the Roku Streaming Stick will set you back $49.99.

Value of money

Look no further than the Roku Express if you’re looking for Roku’s most affordable unit. The cheapest Roku streaming box is just $29.99. The cost is so low that you may not even realize it’s gone from your account.

Moving on the Roku streaming stick, costs a little more at $39.99. It does, however, have more value due to its 4K streaming capabilities. In reality, it’ll be difficult to find a less expensive (and more portable) streaming device that can play Ultra High Definition content (UHD).

Customer comments and reviews

Most customers are concerned with Roku express has trouble remaining on and even with the provided power supply keeps requiring a reboot when it thinks it’s not getting enough power. Additionally, they are facing the problem of connecting Roku express with the WIFI.

Others are also commenting that the Roku Streaming Stick remote also supports voice commands which is one of their favorite options for the remote. Much easier than using the remote to select each character with the arrows and the Express remote does not support voice commands.

There is a raised alarm on the overheating of the Roku streaming stick and the advice given was to shut down but he could not handle the device because it was too hot.

Recap: should you get a Roku streaming stick or Roku express?

If cost is your primary concern, the Roku Express is the way to go. The output differences are minor, and the Express is 40% less expensive. Because of its form factor, the Roku Streaming Stick could be the better option if you’re worried about aesthetics or portability. Roku streaming stick been adaptable and portable facilitates ease to move and relocate the device swiftly without the need of incurring extra expense.

How to pick the best Roku device

Roku devices are the most common TV streaming boxes for a reason: its simple to use and have a large selection of streaming channels. It’s not so easy to choose which one to purchase. There are four different Roku streaming devices available right now (excluding TVs and soundbars), and there are plenty of older versions on Amazon and other sites. Rokus also have common names and seem to be almost identical, making it difficult to distinguish between them.

For instance, when picking a Roku stick it ensures that it has voice search, TV volume and power control, and dual-band Wi-Fi that has a longer range and can connect to 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz networks. Check the back of your TV to make sure your HDMI ports can handle a 4-inch item sticking straight out of them before you buy it. If they don’t, you’ll have to look into a different Roku or an HDMI extender. You will receive one from Roku, but there will be a delay.

When picking the Roku device go for the one that is:

  • Affordable: purchase that device that caters to your expense.
  • How easy is it to use the
  • Device? Has all the features that you require especially to connect with your gadget.
  • Requires low maintenance therefore you won’t incur extra expense.
  • Easy adaptability i.e. to any environment.


Have you noticed any difference in speed between the two devices when using the OS, like when navigating the streaming channel menu?

No, probably there’s no visible difference between these two devices, especially when using OS. The two of them operates almost the same. However, their performance might slightly vary.

Why don’t I see more comments on the lack of volume control on the Express remote?

The device automatically controls the volume and power directly on your TV. This means that there are few people complaining about it.

Can you use the express or the stick with an older TV that doesn’t have a USB port?

There’s no way you can use a Roku device with analog TVs that don’t have a USB port. However, there are other alternatives that you can pick today.

 Do you have to plug the streaming stick into power source?

Probably not, these devices directly link with the TV and use the TVs Power. This clearly shows that you don’t have to connect the Roku Devices to the power.

Final Verdict

Since I’m not concerned about having the best streaming quality or extra capacity, the Roku Express is the way to go. It’s the most affordable Roku model available, and for $29.99, it comes with plenty of content to keep you occupied. You’ll also have access to the same Roku interface as everyone else, as well as a convenient remote. However, you’ll have to make up your mind depending on the information shared here.

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