Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick Review: Enough to douse Amazon’s Fire?

Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick Review: Enough to douse Amazon’s Fire?

The Smart TV category in India has suddenly taken off in the past few years. Thanks to brands like Xiaomi, Vu, TCL, and now more recently — Realme, consumers have been able to purchase smart TVs at affordable prices. This wasn’t really the case a few years back when mainstream brands like Sony and Samsung dominated the market. If you don’t have a smart TV though or if you have one with a barebones interface, a streaming stick or a box is generally the way to go to enjoy OTT content or apps on your TV. While there are several streaming devices already available in the market, Realme wants to give you another option with their latest product — the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick.

Realme 4K google TV stick

This streaming stick from Realme is the first device in India to ship with Google TV. For those of you who are unaware, Google TV is a revamped interface on top of Android TV that focuses on content recommendations. At its core, it’s still Android TV but with a new UI that looks more modern and decluttered. This is one of the major selling points for the Realme TV Stick. Does it make it worthy enough to recommend over existing devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K though? Does it have more features than it has syllables in its name? Let’s find out.

Initial Setup

HDMI port

Just like every single streaming stick or box, the Realme TV Stick connects to your TV via the HDMI port. Since the stick is a little chunky, you might find it inconvenient to plug into some types of TVs based on the location of the HDMI port. To address this issue, Realme bundles a small HDMI male-to-female extender inside the box. The HDMI port doesn’t provide power to the stick though so you’ll need to attach the included micro-USB cable to the stick with the other end either going to a USB-A port on your TV itself or an external wall adaptor. Once you’ve made these connections, you’re ready to set up the stick.

HDMI adaptor for Realme 4K stick

The setup process is quite simple and straightforward

The first step after the TV turns on is to pair the included Bluetooth remote to the streaming stick. You can then follow the on-screen instructions and download the Google Home app to complete the setup process. It’s quite simple and straightforward. Note that you will be asked to choose a Google account to sign up with and all your content recommendations and watch history will be synced to that account. The Play Store along with Google’s apps and services will also use the same ID.

Connectivity

HDMI CEC on Realme Google TV stick

The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick supports HDMI 2.1 with CEC which means you can use the remote to control both the stick as well as your TV. 5GHz Wi-Fi networks are also supported which is nice to see since most affordable devices skimp out on this. You can also connect headphones or peripherals like mice and keyboards to the Realme TV Stick with the help of Bluetooth 5.0.

User Interface

Google TV homescreen

The Google TV UI is surely a breath of fresh air

The first thing that you’ll notice once you boot into the new Google TV is how different the UI is. If you’ve used an Android TV, you know how cluttered the UI looks. The Google TV UI is surely a breath of fresh air. It looks more modern and resembles the UI on the Fire TV Stick. The homescreen is populated by content recommendations from various services. The available services are Apple TV+, Hotstar, and Prime Video. While the Netflix app is available, you cannot see recommendations from the service on the Google TV homescreen.

Apps

Google TV apps screen

Apart from content recommendations, the homescreen also shows you app recommendations. These are generally streaming apps along with some lightweight games that are optimized for Android TV. Moving to the left of the homescreen brings up the search option which you can use to look through the installed service for a particular movie or show that you want. To the right of the homescreen sits the Apps tab. This section shows all the installed apps along with recommendations. There’s also a convenient Apps from my other devices section to help you install apps that you’re already familiar with and use.

Library

Google TV Library

Finally, there’s the Library tab that lists all your rentals and purchases along with a Watchlist. You can add movies or shows that you want to watch later to the Watchlist. Adding something to the Watchlist via your phone also syncs it across to the TV if you’ve signed in with the same Google account. You can add content to the Watchlist by looking the show or movie up on Google and hitting the Watchlist button. For some reason, I couldn’t find this option on an iPhone while it worked fine via an Android device.

System UI

Settings app on Google TV

I'm glad Google decided to revamp the UI since the older interface had begun to look stale.

Apart from the homescreen, the quick toggles UI and the Settings app have also received a visual overhaul. It resembles the look of Android on a smartphone and looks much better than what it was like on Android TV. If you’ve used a Fire TV Stick before, the Google TV UI will feel familiar and easy to use. I’m glad Google decided to revamp the UI since the older interface had begun to look stale.

Performance

Homescreen on Google TV

Unlike a smartphone, you’re not going to multi-task or run graphic-intensive games directly on a TV stick. Content streaming apps do not require a lot of horsepower to run which is why most streaming devices have fairly basic internals. The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick uses a quad-core chip from Amlogic paired with 2GB of RAM. The new Google TV interface seems to be well-optimized to run with this hardware since I didn’t notice a lot of lag while navigating through the UI. I noticed occasional stutters and frame drops but that’s present on most streaming devices and Android TV as a platform in general.

Performance on Realme 4k stick

If you’re going to play some lightweight games like Beach Buggy Racing or Hill Climb Racing, you are going to notice some stutters here and there. On the other hand, the Fire TV Stick 4K seems to perform slightly better when playing games. Overall, I feel that the Fire TV Stick 4K offers a smoother experience.

Picture Quality

Image quality

The Realme TV Stick can stream content in up to 4K. This is across all your apps and services like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, etc. There’s support for HDR 10+ streaming too for added visual appeal. However, Dolby Vision is absent on the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick whereas there is support for it on the Fire TV Stick 4K. There’s no Dolby Atmos either and that too is something you get with the Fire TV Stick 4K.

4K picture quality

The Fire TV Stick 4K produces better visuals than the Realme TV Stick

The picture quality, in general, seems pretty good on the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick. While the quality of the panel used on your TV also plays a major role here, the ability of the stick to process colors is good. In this regard too, however, I would say that the Fire TV Stick 4K produces better visuals than the Realme TV Stick plainly because of the presence of Dolby Vision.

Remote Control

This is one area where the Realme TV Stick scores high and does better than the Fire TV Stick. The remote control that you get with the Realme TV Stick has the traditional set of buttons including power on/off, mute, navigational keys, back, home, settings, and volume controls. You also get dedicated buttons to activate the Google Assistant and to launch YouTube, YouTube Music, Netflix, and Prime Video.

Realme TV Stick remote

The Fire TV Stick 4K, on the other hand, does not come with dedicated buttons to launch any streaming app, not even Amazon’s own Prime Video. It’s also worth noting that Google Assistant is a considerably better voice assistant than Alexa present on the Fire TV Stick.

Verdict: Should you buy the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick?

Realme Google TV stick

The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick gives you a taste of Google TV for a price of ₹2,999. It’s a good streaming device that performs smoothly and is a gateway to stream 4K HDR content. However, for the same price at the time of writing, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K provides better value by including support for Dolby Vision. It also has a smooth UI and can do everything that the Realme TV stick does. You won’t get the new Google TV UI but you’re not going to miss out on much because of that. If given a choice between the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick and the Fire TV Stick 4K, I would pick the Fire TV Stick and you should too. Unless you really want that new Google TV, that is.

    Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick
    The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is a streaming device that comes with the latest Google TV UI and support for 4K HDR streaming.

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    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
    The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has a nice UI and can stream content in 4K with Dolby Vision.

About author

Sumukh Rao
Sumukh Rao

A tech fanatic with a hunger for knowledge in the ever-growing field of science and technology. An avid quizzer and a gadget critic who loves simplifying tech for the masses has a keen interest in modding Android devices.