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Roku Ultra review

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Allconnect

Oct 1, 2020 — 7 min read

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What is Roku Ultra?

Currently one of the most high-end Roku devices, the Roku Ultra is a streaming media player that lets you watch compatible movies and shows in 4K HDR (High-Dynamic Range). It comes in a set-top box design, which separates it from the rest of the contemporary Roku Stick devices.

The Roku Ultra makes up for its higher price with premium features that mainly focus on the remote. Along with enhanced voice controls, it also offers features like the lost remote finder, which isn’t available with any of the other Roku devices. On top of this, it works a tad faster than the less expensive models.

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Pros and cons of Roku Ultra

Pros

  • Comes with 4K HDR support for brilliant picture quality
  • Offers superior connectivity for seamless streaming
  • Comes with enhanced voice remote with customizable shortcuts
  • Built-in lost remote finder for added convenience

Cons

  • Pricier than any other Roku device
  • Doesn’t offer Dolby Vision support
  • Speed upgrade is limited
  • Sluggish voice-programmed shortcuts

Roku Ultra pricing

The Roku Ultra sells for $99.99, making it the second priciest of all Roku streaming devices after the Roku Premiere Plus. Still, it doesn’t cost as much as some of the other high-end streaming devices such as the NVIDIA SHIELD TV and the Apple TV 4K.

How much you pay for the device also depends largely on which store you get it from. Although it’s available at the official Roku website, you could also get great deals at Amazon. In addition to matching the price on the official site, Amazon regularly offers special discounts and offers, especially for Prime members. At the time of writing this post, you can get the Roku Ultra for $79 through Amazon.

Alternatively, you can also get it from other retailers such as Best Buy and Kohl’s. But these stores may not have as great a deal as on Amazon.

Roku Ultra features

Easy and straightforward setup

Setting up your Roku Ultra device is pretty straightforward. You just need to connect the device to your TV using an HDMI cable and to a power outlet using an adapter. Once that’s done, turn on the device to begin setting it up. On your TV screen, you’ll get step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, and it won’t take you more than a few minutes to complete the setup.

You’ll also need to set up the enhanced remote to use it for TV controls. During set up, just select “Check remote settings,” and this will automatically complete the setup. Now you can use the Roku remote to change the volume or control the power on your TV. 

Sleek and deluxe design

Although the Roku Ultra comes as a set-top box, the design is far from clunky. At just 4.9 X 4.9 inches and 0.85 inches tall, it’s a sleek and compact device that won’t take up too much space. And with minimal buttons and accessories to mess up the design, it has a smooth and luxurious feel that fits right in with your other home entertainment devices.

Access to thousands of high-quality apps through leading services

When it comes to content, the Roku Ultra offers easy access to live TV and on-demand movies and shows through leading streaming providers. You get apps for Apple TV+, fuboTV, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV and more. Plus, it even has private (or unlisted) channels that offer free content access, including Home Movies, StreamNowTV, The Odeon Theater and The Silent Movie Channel.

Enhanced voice remote with customizable shortcuts

The enhanced voice remote is the biggest highlight of the Roku Ultra as you won’t get it with any of the other Roku devices at the time of writing this post. For the most part, this remote works just like the rest of Roku’s voice remotes.

It has the same set of control buttons that you see on other remotes plus dedicated shortcuts for streaming services like ESPN+, Hulu, Netflix and Sling TV. So if you subscribe to these services, the Roku remote makes it easier to quickly access all your favorite streaming apps. Note that you won’t have the option to re-program these four shortcut buttons.

However, Roku comes with two programmable buttons that you can set to repeat any voice command. So you could set up a shortcut to open up your favorite streaming app or instantly perform frequent video searches. Programming these buttons is easy, as you just need to press and hold them while giving your voice command. The remote will give a beep once the setup is complete.

Although the programmable buttons give a much-needed boost to the Roku remote, they could do with some improvement. When you press the button to send the custom command, the device will count down for several seconds before completing the action. You have the option to skip this step, but as other Roku Ultra reviews have noted, it adds unnecessary disruption to the whole experience.

Supports 4K HDR streaming

The Roku Ultra lets you stream up to 4K HDR on a compatible device, offering a sharper resolution and much more vivid colors than High Definition (HD). This allows you to enjoy your favorite movies and shows in stunning detail and outstanding clarity. But if you want Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Offers superior connectivity

Another major highlight of the Roku Ultra is the dual-band wireless support, which offers much stronger connectivity than any of the previous Roku models. So you no longer have to deal with choppy connection and constant buffering, and instead enjoy seamless, uninterrupted streaming.

Better yet, you can even use the Ethernet port to enjoy wired streaming instead. This could give you the reliable connectivity you need to stream live TV programming and especially sports events.

Comes with built-in remote finder

If you’re prone to misplacing your remote, you’ll love this next feature. The Roku Ultra device comes with a built-in feature that allows you to easily search for your remote, so you never have to tear the whole place apart again. Just press the button on your device, and the remote will play a sound so you can easily find it. Although this feature may not make up entirely for the higher cost, it’s still good to have as it allows enhanced convenience.

Roku Ultra review

The Roku Ultra may be one of the priciest Roku devices, but it comes with a few premium features to make up for it. Not only is the device a tad faster than the other models, but it also comes with dual-band wireless and Ethernet support for superior connectivity. So if you want reliability on your side and enjoy uninterrupted streaming, the Roku Ultra makes sense.

Plus, the 4K HDR support delivers better clarity and more vivid colors than HD, which further enhances your streaming experience. This further makes the Roku Ultra an excellent choice for those who want a significantly better picture quality than HD.

Its enhanced voice remote with programmable buttons offers an added bonus for those who enjoy customizability. You can set these buttons to follow specific voice commands depending on your preferences and streaming habits. 

Overall, the Roku Ultra may cost a bit more than other Roku devices, but it may be well worth the price for those who want to enjoy superior, uninterrupted streaming. And the added convenience of the lost remote finder and the programmable buttons further bring more value to the device.

FAQs

Is the Roku Ultra worth it?

The Roku Ultra is worth the $99.99 price tag depending on what you’re looking for. If you want to enjoy superior picture quality and uninterrupted streaming, the device makes a lot of sense. But if you just want a budget-friendly option, you may be able to find more affordable alternatives.

What does Roku Ultra do?

The Roku Ultra lets you watch movies and TV shows from your streaming service or your local library on your TV. And with 4K HDR support, it allows you to stream compatible videos in vivid details.

Which is better, Roku Ultra or Roku Ultra LT?

The Roku Ultra and the Roku Ultra LT share similar features in almost every aspect, with the only difference being the brand of earphones included and the additional USB port. While you get premium JBL earphones with the Roku Ultra, you get a regular pair with the Roku Ultra LT. The Roku Ultra also comes with a USB port, which the Roku Ultra LT is missing.

Additionally, the Roku Ultra LT remote doesn’t come with the programmable buttons you get with Roku Ultra. And the two devices have a $20 difference, although you do get occasional deals on the Roku Ultra, bringing it down to around the same price as the Roku Ultra LT. Considering all this, the Roku Ultra may be more worthy of the investment compared to the LT.

What are the Roku Ultra specs?

In addition to 4K HDR support, the Roku Ultra comes with 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless and 10/100 Base-T Ethernet. It also has a MicroSD slot and a USB port to support storage expansion and local playback, respectively. The Roku Ultra even supports Dolby Audio and Dolby ATMOS for superior audio playback on a compatible device.

The bottom line

For $99.99, the Roku Ultra may not be the cheapest streaming device on the market. But it comes with a few premium features and enhancements that make the device a great option. In addition to the 4K HDR and Dolby Audio support, the superior connectivity makes it an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy superior, uninterrupted streaming.

With that said, you might want to look for other options if you want to get Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support for even better picture quality. But overall, the Roku Ultra still offers good value for money compared to some of the more high-end streaming devices on the market.

By Jacqueline Zote

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