Cheap Android TV stick from Wal-Mart – Testing out the Onn. streaming stick

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onn. FHD Streaming Device

What can $25 really get you these days? Not much! The promise of a decent Android streaming stick for such a small price tag seems impossible. I took the new Onn. FHD Streaming Device for a test in my home.

Hardware

The Onn. stick looks like most stream sticks from other companies like Roku or Amazon, it’s has the appearance of an oversize thumb drive with an HDMI plug protruding from one end. There is a micro-USB port on the side for additional power and a tiny hole for performing a hardreset with a pin. There are tiny slits on the Onn. logo and the backside, I’m assuming these help with airflow and cooling issues. They also give it a cool look.

The included white remote is a 100% standard Android TV remote. In fact, it’s identical to the Google reference design. This is a good thing! Google basically said, “this is what we think an Android TV remote should look like,” and Onn. went with it. It has the standard navigation buttons, a Google Assistance voice search button, shortcut buttons to Youtube, Netflix, Disney+ and HBOmax as well as buttons to control your TV’s power and volume. I also like the added bookmark and settings buttons.

My only complaint about the hardware is that the stick itself is a little large. If you have multiple HDMI devices and your TV keeps those ports pretty close together, you may run into issues. I tested it on an HDMI switcher and had to pull out the HDMI device next to it for it to fit. Not a huge deal for most people if you’re only using one HDMI device but something to know about.

Setting it up

The biggest complaints I have read about the Onn. streaming stick are about the setup process. I was anticipating this to be a pain point but honestly, for me, it wasn’t. I will admit the that 600mb+ update that was required when I first powered up the stick definitely took some time to download and install. This didn’t bother me, I’d rather my device be up to date. I used my Android phone to setup the Onn. stick and I had everything up and running in about 15 minutes.

The Android TV experience

If you’ve used Android TV before then you likely know what to expect from the Onn. FHD streaming stick. It runs a stock Android TV experience which means that Wal-mart didn’t change much from what Google puts out. Personally, this is what I prefer. You have access to most apps in the Google app store, you’ll feel right at home with the Android home screen suggesting shows and movies. If you’ve never used an Android TV device before, it’s about as self explanatory as it gets.

Not the best, not the worst

I want to be clear here, you’re paying $25 for this streaming stick! Keep your expectations realistic. The interface may be standard Android TV but if they don’t give it enough horsepower, this can quickly turn into a bad experience. Luckily, the FHD stick seems powerful enough. It’s not the snappiest Android TV stick I have ever used but it’s definitely not the worst. Menus seemed smooth, apps loaded quickly and most importantly, streaming on apps like Netflix and Disney+ was great. Looking for a powerhouse Android device? Look elsewhere. Looking for something that’s cheap but works well, this is a good option.

No 4k? Dealbreaker?

This is important, the Onn. FDH streaming stick does NOT support 4k. Wah wah. Wal-mart does offer a small streaming box for just $5 more that offers 4k. The real question is, does it matter? If you’re using a 4k TV, yes, I think you should find a 4k box. Why not, right? Thing is, most people who are going to buy this stick are probably using it with an older TV that doesn’t have built-in streaming or has an outdated system. If that’s the case, this is a perfect affordable stick. Have an older TV that you want to throw in the garage but need to added “smarts” to it, this is the PERFECT stick for that. Need an updated smartTV system for an old 32″ for the kid’s playroom? Again, this is PERFECT!

Conclusion

For $25 – you’ll have a hard time finding an Android TV streaming stick as capable as the Onn. FHD streaming stick. Sure, it’s not a powerhouse but it offers plenty of power for anyone who needs to add streaming to an existing 720p or 1080p TV. If you want something with more umph and are willing to spend more, I’d go with the Chromecast with Google TV (double the price at $50) or my favorite high-powered Android TV box, the Nvidia Shield.

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