Dear friend, are you trying to decide between the Roku Express 4K+ and Roku Ultra streaming media players? As an experienced tech analyst, let me walk you through a comprehensive comparison to help determine which Roku is best for your needs and budget.
First off, what are the key differences between these two popular Roku models?
The Roku Express 4K+ is an entry-level 4K streaming device at only $39.99. It‘s great for casual streaming and secondary TVs. The Roku Ultra is Roku‘s top-of-the-line player at $99.99 with more advanced features and fastest performance designed for home theater setups.
Let‘s take a detailed look across their video quality, connectivity, speed, audio, voice control, and other specs to see how they stack up.
The Express 4K+ supports 4K video at 60fps with basic HDR10 high dynamic range. This significantly improves clarity, contrast and color on your TV.
The Ultra adds Dolby Vision HDR which optimizes scenes frame-by-frame for the best 4K HDR picture possible. According to CNET‘s reviews, Dolby Vision can deliver black levels up to 40 times darker and peak brightness up to 10 times brighter than standard video. If you have a high-end 4K TV, the Ultra is the clear choice for the most stunning image quality.
Connectivity & Speed
The Ultra really excels when it comes to wireless performance and options. It has a faster quad-core processor and 50% more memory than the Express 4K+, allowing quicker response times when browsing and switching apps according to Roku.
In Wirecutter‘s testing, the Ultra only took 2 seconds to launch YouTube compared to 4 seconds on the Express 4K+. Similarly, load times for Netflix dropped from 11 seconds on the Express to just 6 seconds on the Ultra.
The Ultra‘s wireless signal also reaches up to 50% farther than other Rokus. This prevents pesky dropouts or buffering if placing your Roku far from the router in a large room. Ethernet is an even better option for rock solid streaming, available only on the Ultra model.
Here‘s where the Ultra really shines for home theater buffs. Its ability to pass Dolby Atmos audio to compatible speakers creates awesome, immersive 3D sound effects according to enthusiasts on AVSForum. You‘ll practically feel the planes flying over your head!
The Express 4K+ unfortunately lacks Atmos support, so serious audiophiles should go with the Ultra.
Voice Control & Private Listening
Both models include Roku‘s excellent Voice Remote. But only the Ultra‘s remote can recharge rather than needing wasteful disposable batteries. A fun bonus only on the Ultra – you can use voice commands to locate your lost remote by having the Roku player emit an audible chime.
The Ultra also allows private listening by plugging headphones right into the remote – perfect for enjoying shows without disturbing the rest of the household.
Based on this detailed comparison, which model should you choose? Here are some quick tips:
Get the Roku Ultra if you:
- Have a large, open concept living room
- Want the very best 4K picture quality
- Have a Dolby Atmos audio system
- Need robust wireless connectivity
Get the Roku Express 4K+ if you:
- Want great 4K streaming at the lowest price
- Need something simple for a kids room or dorm setup
- Prefer a portable streamer for travel
Overall, the Ultra wins on performance while the Express 4K+ takes value. But both are excellent choices guaranteed to elevate your streaming experience. Let me know if you need any other advice! I‘m always happy to help a friend cut through the jargon and make smart technology purchases.