We’re coming up on 2 years since Walmart first jumped into the Android-based streaming hardware game, and that first attempt was quite good. As a matter of fact, we recommended the original Onn. Streaming Box pretty regularly, even though the software experience was a bit less approachable than what you get with Google’s more-expensive Chromecast.
And software/UX was always the primary differentiator between the two. While price has always been a bit better with the Onn. streaming box, the bigger separation remained the software, and Google’s Chromecast with Google TV simply did the entire TV experience better. I still have one TV with the original Onn. Streaming Box attached and though it gets the job done, I still don’t love the overall software experience.
The new version has arrived with Google TV
However, things started to change quite quickly this year as Walmart put out a brand new version of the Onn. 4K Streaming Box with Google TV on board. And it’s only $20 MSRP. That means you don’t have to wait around for a deal or some other incentive to get one: it’s that price all the time. But that didn’t answer the biggest, lingering question surrounding this new 4K streamer. In the end, if the software was still mediocre, that would continue to hamper this as a proper substitute for the Chromecast with Google TV. So, we went and bought one for ourselves, and the results are staggering.
As you can plainly see in the video, this little $20 streaming box contains the full-blown Google TV experience and pulls it off so convincingly that I’d challenge anyone to bounce around the UI and definitively tell me whether this is the Onn. 4K Streaming Box or the Google Chromecast interface. They are literally one and the same at this point.
The internals are nearly the same on both with a paltry 8GB of storage, but let’s be honest: I didn’t really expect any wild hardware upgrades at this sort of price. For your $20, you are getting the same experience you’d have with the 4K Chromecast while enhancing your remote a bit (I always liked the Onn. remote better than the Chromecast). And with that being the case, I just cannot find a single reason to tell anyone to buy the $50 Chromecast instead.
Walmart has this device in stock both in the store and online, and with the ongoing $20 price tag, you could buy 2 of these little 4K streaming boxes for the price of one Chromecast, get the exact same experience, and have $10 left over to spend on something else. While I don’t think the Chromecast is a bad device, per se, I simply can’t recommend it any longer. The time of the $20 Onn. 4K Streaming Box with Google TV is upon us. Now, they just need to work on naming and branding a bit.