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You can finally order Walmart’s $50 Chromecast with Google TV killer

Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device box.
The Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device has an unassuming name and very tempting price. Walmart

Google I/O is just around the corner. But for all the new Googley goodness we expect — and a ton of that’s going to include the letters A and I — one thing we’re not planning on seeing is a successor to the venerable-but-aging Chromecast with Google TV. That’s why this $50 box from Walmart’s in-house Onn brand has had folks excited. Because in addition to just being … not new — the current Chromecast basically is four years old — it’s always been pretty underpowered for what it does.

Some folks supposedly were able to pick one up in their local Walmart. I was never able to do so, but it’s now finally live to order on Walmart’s website. (And in its app.) And so now you can snag yourself the rather plainly named Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device.

There are two big differences between this and Chromecast with Google TV. First is that it’s actually more akin to the Amazon Fire TV Cube in that it has a built-in microphone array, so it’s truly hands-free. That is, you don’t even have to find the remote control to interact. Second is that the remote control has what’s referred to as the Magic Button. That really just means “customizable button,” and that in and of itself is hardly a new thing on a streaming device. But it’s new for a Google TV device, and nerds are gonna nerd.

Another upgrade comes in the wireless networking. Chromecast, thanks to its age, is locked in with Wi-Fi 5, or 802.11ac. The Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device (someone needs to give this thing a better nickname ASAP) steps things up to Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax. Whether that will have any actual user-facing benefits remains to be seen, but newer is better. Of course, if you don’t have a Wi-Fi 6-enabled router, that’s largely moot.

As far as other specs you might care about, there’s support for 4K resolution, of course. And the whole thing is powered by quad-core Cortex-A55 processor, with a Mali-G31 MP2 graphics processor. On paper, that’s not far off from the Chromecast, actually. But it has more RAM at 3GB, and comes with four times as much on-board storage, at 32GB. Plus there’s built-in USB-3 and Ethernet, so someone’s going to have some fun with this thing. And Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are both supported, too, so those boxes are checked.

The real question comes down to how well the whole thing works. Is it going to be dog-slow, like Chromecast with Google TV? Is it going to be so laden with Walmart cruft as to be disappointingly unusable?

We’ll find out soon.

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