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Reviewing the $25 Onn streaming stick
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Reviewing the $25 Onn streaming stick

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The Onn FHD Streaming Stick comes with a microUSB power cord and wall plug adapter, an HDMI extension cable and a voice remote.

If you don’t have a smart TV and you want to stream movies or cut the cord, you’re going to need a streaming device.

Streaming boxes and sticks can cost anywhere from $20 to almost $200, and the offered features within that range differ a lot, too.

The $25 price point includes this review’s target: the Onn FHD Streaming Stick, available only at Walmart.

The Onn streaming stick runs the Android TV operating system, so it has the Google Play store. Users can add most of the video streaming apps available there.

Top-level streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+ and YouTube are supported. Cord-cutters will find streaming bundle services like YouTube TV, Hulu Live and Sling TV.

Specs

The Onn FHD Streaming Stick measures 3.81 by 1.39 by 0.61 inches, and it plugs into your TV’s HDMI port.

If that port is awkwardly placed, you can use the HDMI extension cable included with the streaming stick, which also needs a USB connection to provide power.

A word of caution: Don’t lose the included microUSB cable. The microUSB port on the stick is recessed a bit more than normal (at least mine was). The cable that was included worked, but other microUSB cables I tried didn’t.

The stick connects to both 2.4- and 5-gigahertz Wi-Fi networks.

The Onn stick has Dolby Audio and supports Full High-Definition video output (1080p at 60 hertz). The stick should automatically adjust to the best resolution for your display.

The remote control features a round click wheel with up/down/left/right buttons, simple up/down buttons for volume and channels, and quick access buttons for Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ and HBO Max. It has a built-in microphone to help you search for apps and shows.

The stick has Bluetooth so you can connect a game controller.

Setup

Once the stick is plugged into an HDMI port and connected to power, press the power button on the remote. You’ll see the Onn boot screen, followed by a Google Android TV boot screen.

The program will guide you through connecting to your Wi-Fi network and logging in with a Google account. (If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to set one up.)

The setup wizard will show a list of popular apps and ask you to check which ones you’d like installed.

After those apps are installed, you’re presented with the easy-to-navigate and customizable Android TV home screen. Note: When you first start using the home screen, you may notice some lag. This is due to the stick loading up the apps and downloading any updates and data for those apps.

If you want to add other apps or games, you can find them in the Google Play store via the home screen. You can also access the Google Play Movies and TV store to rent or buy videos.

Extra features

The Onn streaming stick comes with Google Chromecast built in. This may benefit users who want to use apps that are unavailable in the Google Play store.

Chromecast devices allow your TV to wirelessly “broadcast” video from Wi-Fi-connected computers, phones or tablets once the streaming stick is connected to your home network.

So I was able to watch AT&T TV (not available in the Google Play store) by “casting” the mobile app to the TV from a phone or tablet.

Conclusions

There are more capable devices available for just a few dollars more.

Onn sells a 4K Android TV Streaming Box for $29.99. Roku and Amazon make better sticks for $10 to $15 more.

So why buy this one?

The interface is clean and reasonably fast. The ability to play music through apps like Amazon Music or Spotify is nice, and playing Android TV games is also a bonus.

The best-use case is for TVs that can display only 1080p HD video. The Onn stick is a good choice for smaller TVs, perhaps in the kitchen or kids’ room or for any TV that can only display 1080p HD.

If all you want is a way to watch Netflix or Disney+, and you don’t care about any of the higher-end features in more expensive streaming devices, the Onn Streaming Stick works just fine for what it is.

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