Google Chromecast 3
At a time when Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have become an integral part of our daily entertainment routine, it’s easy to imagine that ‘casting’ (devices) have been here forever. They haven’t. Google just unveiled the Google Chromecast 3 about two years after the debut of the second generation Chromecast 2. After spending a few days with the newest iteration of the Chromecast, we think that this is a welcome update.
First, it’s the design language. It’s not a radical overhaul and yet it is more in sync with the Made by Google family that has grown since the debut of the Chromecast 2. This family now includes Google Home and the Pixel smartphones. There are subtle tweaks to the hockey puck inspired design. This one wears a matte finish, sports the G logo and also features a flexible HDMI cable like its predecessor. It’s currently available in a charcoal colour variant in India. And then it’s the hardware. The new Chromecast claims a 15% faster performance that its predecessor, it’s not something you might notice. But the improved video streaming at full-HD (1080 p) resolution is certainly something that you will. This is a significant jump from the HD resolution of the Chromecast 2.
The Chromecast essentially delivers three key features. It’s a screen mirroring device – you can share the screen of your smartphone or laptop (with the Chromecast and Chrome browser). It’s a casting device that uses Wi-Fi connectivity to bring online content to your TV with a Micro-USB port (for power). Just like the earlier two generations, it works equally well with iOS and Android devices. It also works as a Google Assistant accessory that pairs with your Google Home speaker that can play YouTube content on your TV with a simple voice command.
Google’s Pixel Stand caught our attention during the launch of the Pixel 3 and 3XL. These twins have impressed us with their design aesthetics, stellar lowlight camera and user interface. The Pixel Stand is a Qi (the open interface standard for wireless chargers) wireless charger with a cool bag of tricks. We dig the elegant, minimalist design – a simple obelisk where you can rest your Pixel or any smartphone with wireless charging capabilities. But it comes in just one colour – white, so tough luck if you’re looking at matching your phone with the charger.
First things first, the Pixel stand is primarily a wireless charger and a very good one at that. It offers fast charging (at 10W) and can charge any smartphone (like the iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9) that is compatible with the industry standard Qi technology. It’s faster than most wireless chargers and powered up the Pixel 3 in about 2 hours flat.
It comes with some other cool features that will work with your Pixel 3 device. We like the digital photo frame option that transforms your Pixel into a photo frame. You can pick a photo album from your Google Photos stream And then there’s the Google Assistant Mode that automatically prompts you with small bubbles on the screen and can update you on the News and weather.
The Google Chromecast 3 costs Rs 3,499 (along with a one-year Sony LIV Premium subscription) and the Pixel Stand costs Rs 6,900.