Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick review


The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is Realme’s first attempt in the streaming device category. While the company has launched a few smart TVs, the streaming stick takes a different path in terms of software experience. The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is India’s first and only streaming device to come with Google TV experience out of the box. 

Google TV is based on Android 11 and brings all the goodness from Android TV along with refreshing UI, content suggestions and faster performance. The stick can essentially turn any non smart TV to a smart TV given the TV has an HDMI port. In case your smart TV UI feels boring, this tiny gadget can bring Google TV experience at an affordable cost. 

The stick gets most things right with a quad core CPU, 2GB RAM, Google Chromecast built-in, dual band Wi-Fi, and a remote with lots of hotkeys. In terms of visual experience, the Realme stick can play videos up to 4k at 60fps and also supports HDR10+, but it misses out on Dolby Vision playback. Also, 8GB onboard storage might fill out even if you download a few additional apps. 

Barring these two letdowns, the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is a solid product to recommend. As for alternatives, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K brings support for Dolby Vision, but it misses out on Google TV experience. 

Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick price and availability

The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is priced at Rs 3,999 and is currently available on Flipkart and Realme.com. During the festive season, you can get it for Rs 2,999. 

With this pricing, the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick will rival the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Mi Box 4K priced Rs 2,999 and Rs 3,499 respectively. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Initial setup

Before we start talking about the setup process, let’s see what we get in the box. The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick box comes with the streaming stick itself, Bluetooth remote, a micro USB power cable, power adapter, and an HDMI extender.

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

It’s just a plug and play device, you connect the stick to your TV’s HDMI port directly or by using the extender if your TV has a HDMI port on the bottom. Next, you need to connect the micro USB cable to the side of the streaming stick and plug the other end to the adapter. Connecting the adapter to the power socket will start the setup process. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The setup process is simple and straightforward. Once you turn on the TV with Realme stick, you will get a QR code to scan and you will be taken to the Google Home app to complete the setup by following the on screen instructions. In case your Wi-Fi connection is slow or slightly far, the setup will take longer or might fail. In that case, you can connect to Wi-Fi manually by entering the password. 

Once the Wi-Fi is connected to the TV and setup and preferences are set, you will be taken to the Home screen. 

Design

Realme 4K stick

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick has a simple design, the stick weighs just 30 grams and measures 29.8 x 90 x 14.5 mm. The size of the stick can be compared to small Five-star chocolate. The stick comes with an HDMI port on the top end which connects to the TV and you also get a micro USB port on the side that goes to the power outlet. Unlike the Mi Box 4K, the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick doesn’t offer a USB port for connecting a pen drive or a hard disk. It has a LED light and Realme engraving as well. 

The design is quite simple and compact making it easy to carry in case you need it while you are travelling. The extender helps for those who have HDMI ports on their TV in a weird place where the stick can’t be plugged directly. The microUSB cable isn’t too long which means the best place to connect the stick is to the TV’s USB port unless you have a plug close to the TV. 

Once this setup is done, the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick will be hidden behind the TV forever. 

Remote

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The remote control here is similar to the Realme TVs. The remote is made up of plastic and has a nice matte finish. The remote is slim on the top and is thicker at the bottom 一 this offers a better grip and hand feel. It takes two AAA batteries to operate which are provided in the box itself. 

Talking about the layout, you get power and a dedicated mute key on the top. There’s a D-pad to move around along with a select button at the centre with a yellow ring around it (so Realme). Just below the D-pad, you get back, home, and settings keys. Further, you get four hotkeys for Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and surprisingly for YouTube Music. We would have liked to see a hotkey for DisneyPlus Hotstar instead of YouTube Music. 

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Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

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Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

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Lastly, the volume keys sit right in the middle of the Google Assistant key. To access the Google Assistant on your TV, you need to long press the key and talk to the assistant. It works seamlessly. 

The remote connects via Bluetooth 5.0 which means you don’t have to direct it to the TV while operate 一 it works in all directions. 

Performance

Realme 4K stick

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is powered by a quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. The stick also comes with a dual-core GPU. For connectivity, you get support for dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5, and HDMI 2.1. 

The performance is smooth and intuitive as the new Google TV is refreshing compared to the Android TV or even Fire TV OS. The stick runs on Android 11 out of the box and should be able to update when Google updates the Google TV platform 一 but Realme hasn’t promised anything yet. 

While 2GB RAM is a welcome addition to the streaming stick, the 8GB storage is something that you will be stuck with forever. Out of 8GB storage, you get about 4GB for apps and games 一 which is less considering the platform comes with over 5000 apps and games. Installing about 4 apps and a game took away most of the storage and we were left with just 600MB of space. Wish Realme had offered 16GB storage. 

Apart from the lack of storage, the stick’s performance is smooth and fast 一 we liked it even more than the Mi Box 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K’s interface and performance. The stick fires up in 40 seconds once to turn on the switch and it wakes up from sleep mode in under three seconds. 

Features

Let’s talk about the start of the show here first, the Google TV. Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is the only streaming device in India to offer Google TV experience. In short, the Google TV platform takes all the goodness from Android TV OS and adds brand new features to take the experience to the next level. It’s a lot more user-friendly, offers intelligent content suggestions, and more. 

In terms of the user interface, Google TV offers four tabs on the top 一 Search, Home, Apps, and Library. Let’s take a look at each of them in detail. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Home is where you land once you turn it on. This screen offers top suggestions for you from multiple OTT apps except for content from Netflix. You also get the list of apps installed on your stick in the second row while the third row is to watch movies/shows from where you left off and it says “continue watching”. Again, Netflix shows/movies won’t show up here. 

Scrolling down, you will get suggestions like 一 popular shows, popular movies, kids collections, top Bollywood movies, family favourites, recommended videos on YouTube, etc. However, these might vary based on your subscription and preferences. Long pressing on any movies/shows will give you more options like 一 Watch, Add to watchlist, watched it? like, dislike, and view details. To the bottom of the screen, you get an option to manage services, but sadly there are only three options 一 Prime Video, Apple TV, and Hotstar. 

Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The Apps tab as the name suggests is a place where you can find all your apps and also download more apps either by recommendation on the screen or you can simply search for the app you want. Unlike Android TV, you don’t get a dedicated Play Store here. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The search tab allows you to search for any movie, show, apps, and more. You can also use the suggestions on the screen to get weather updates and any other updates or just talk to Google Assistant. This screen also offers content suggestions based on genre.

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Lastly, the Library tab will list down all the movies/shows that you have added to the watchlist. You can add any movies/shows you want from other devices like your phone, tablet, or laptop. Simply search the name of the movie/show on Google and add it to the watchlist. Once added, it will appear on this screen. All the content suggested by the Google TV platform will have a rating on the bottom which allows you to decide if you should watch or skip. If you have purchased or rented any movie/show, those will appear here as well. 

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Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

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Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

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Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

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In terms of content quality, the stick can output up to 4K 60fps and also HDR10+ content. It also supports 1080p and 720p playback. The device misses out on support for Dolby Vision which seems like a big miss considering the Amazon Fire TV stick at Rs 2,999 offers Dolby Vision. Having said that, the HDR10 Plus playback is good, but the tone mapping could have been better. 

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Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

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Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

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Watching content like Squid game, Extraction, Formula 1 Drive to survive with 4K HDR on Netflix was eye-pleasing and we did enjoy it. Under the display setting, you get to pick a dynamic range and colour format 一 we had this set to HDR and 12-bit colour depth which offered us the best experience. This setting will offer you wide colour space and eye-popping colours. Apart from that, the usual watching experience was good and we were pleased with the Google TV UI which looks slick and modern.

In terms of other features, you get a built-in Chromecast to cast content from your phone to TV directly. There’s also Ambient mode which allows you to pick photos from your Google photo collection or art gallery as a screensaver. Lastly, the stick also supports HDMI CEC which allows you to control your TV with it. 

Verdict

Realme 4K stick

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Overall, Realme has done a nice job with the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick 一 keeping the experience simple and clean. For the price of Rs 3,999 (initially Rs 2,999), the Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick brings a lot of features like a brand new Google TV interface, built-in Chromecast, Google Assistant, 4K HDR playback, snappy performance, and vast app collection. The other close competitions are the Mi Box 4K and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. The Amazon streaming stick brings support for Dolby Vision, while the Mi Box 4K brings an additional USB port. 

The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick is an easy product to recommend from us if you are in the Google ecosystem and the new Google TV interface is worth checking out. 

First reviewed: October 2021

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