The best Chromecast alternative is a streaming box many of us can’t buy

For the first time in a while now, I find my consumerist self jealous of not living in the US. The reason? Walmart, and more specifically, the latest Walmart Google TV streaming box. The new onn 4K Pro box is, by far, one of the most exciting Google TV streamers launched in recent years and one of the best Chromecast alternatives out there. The only problem is that it’s available in the US, and… well, that’s it. We won’t be getting it in Europe or other countries either.

Are you buying Walmart’s onn 4K Pro Google TV streaming device?

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Walmart’s new onn box caught my eye ever since the first leaks started. Contrary to previous onn sticks and streaming devices, this one was clearly not aiming for the very low-end $20 market. Instead, it seemed packed to the brim with features and specs that just made me look sideways at my 4K Chromecast and sigh, “Why not you?”

First, we’re looking at 3GB of RAM compared to the Chromecast’s 2GB, and 32GB of storage versus its measly 8GB. That’s already an improvement when I have to go in and prune apps from my Chromecast every few months because of the “storage full” warning. The extra RAM should also help with the occasional hiccups.

But that’s not all. The new box acts like a Nest Mini speaker with hands-free controls and packs a couple of ports that are nowhere to be found on the Chromecast. You get USB 3.0 for local file transfers from a USB stick or hard drive — and potentially peripheral control if you have a USB mouse or keyboard — and an Ethernet port to wire it in and benefit from your full home connection.

Google TV magic button AFTVNews 3

It also comes with a spiffy new remote that can be located when lost, is backlit (some versions are, others not, it’s not clear yet), and has Google TV’s new magic button for launching your favorite apps or cycling through the TV’s input sources.

The only downsides, as far as I can tell, are the AC power port and the less-than-ideal processor. Why can’t we all just move to USB-C power for small electronics? That is beyond me.

Walmart’s onn box hits a lot of correct notes and offers features that would never appear in a Chromecast.

All in all, there are a lot of exciting features in this box — many of which aren’t available on the current Chromecast and are unlikely to make it onto the next one, whenever it’s announced. (I just don’t see Google adding a USB 3.0 port to any future Chromecast, for example.)

This makes me a bit envious of my friends in the US who can pick this up, test it, and potentially switch to it if it is as good as the specs and features suggest. Sadly, all I can do is wait for Google to release a proper Chromecast follow-up. Hopefully soon, eh?

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