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Interface


It’s all about the streaming with the Roku 3, which impressively wins us over with its diversified selection of ‘channels’ and no hassle navigation. While the visuals aren’t as slick as its rivals, it makes it up with its peppy response. Like seriously, this things moves like how the wind flows through our hair during a windy day – it’s just that swift! From moving through the interface, to launching a ‘channel,’ everything is accompanied with a ton of snappiness.



More impressively, you have the three most popular streaming services – Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video. Deepening its portfolio, too, are the various cable television network apps that solidifies its reputation for having such diversity. And it’s the only notable streaming box that offers live TV streaming if you happen to be a Time Warner Cable subscriber. You won’t find anything remotely close to what the Roku 3 delivers when it comes to the ecosystem.

In addition to the popular streaming services, the Roku 3 has its own movie/TV store where we can purchase content. From new releases to the classics, it’s yet another portal to think about if you’re really craving to see something in particular.

Roku app


There’s also a mobile app that works with the Roku 3, which is available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Essentially, it’s a utility app that transforms your smartphone to the ultimate control center. For example, there’s a virtual remote that has all of the same functions as the standard, physical remote – though, we extremely adore how inputting searches is made easier using our phone’s on-screen keyboard, as opposed to using the navigational pad to select each letter individually with the remote.

Secondly, there’s an option to stream photos, videos, and music stored on our smartphone directly to the Roku 3 (think Chromecasting something). And just like the Chromecast, we can do things like search for videos with the YouTube app on our phone – and then proceed to stream it to the box.

Connectivity


Wireless or wired, it’s a matter of preference to what’s most ideal for you. In our case, we went with the hardwired Ethernet connection because it’s within close proximity to our router, but as an alternative, the wireless Wi-Fi route is there as well.

Performance


Both Apple TV and the Google Nexus Player might look more visually appealing, both in design and in how their respective interfaces are laid out, but the Roku 3 impresses us with its simple operation and the diversified selection of apps it has to offer. There’s just no comparison, as the Roku 3 caters to a wide range, not only for the expected services (think Netflix), but even additional ones that some folks wouldn’t be aware about.

Sure, there’s stiff competition around, but when you have a streaming box that delivers an outstanding experience, it’s undeniably just underrated in the face of what’s out there. Don’t underestimate this thing, it works really well and its top-notch performance is something worth bragging about. In all fairness, it doesn’t miss a beat – whether it’s loading a movie, or just moving through the interface.

Conclusion


Right there with the gang, the $100 cost of the Roku 3 is priced accordingly enough to make it a viable option if you’re looking to pick up a versatile streaming box. The entire package, we feel, favors function over form. While some take pride in design, it’s not really something that we feel as being an important quality for something that’s rarely going to be seen by people. At the core of it, though, the Roku 3 delivers meaningful experiences with one of deepest roster of streaming apps at its disposal – while also adding small features as well, like the private listening via the headphone jack. Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and Google, they all better watch out because the Roku 3 manages to hit the bullseye mark!



Pros

  • Diversified apps selection
  • Incredibly responsive
  • Simple operation
  • Private experience using the headphone jack
  • Accurate results with voice search

Cons

  • Bland looking design
  • Relies on old school menu/list system
  • Weak gaming selection

PhoneArena Rating:

9.0

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