Roku Ultra 2019 vs. Roku Ultra 2020

Box of Roku Ultra 2020 on white table

People often forget how easy things have gotten over the years. There was a time when getting internet onto the computer needed you to get a dial-up connection. Now, everything that can be viewed is just a touch away.

And Roku is the best example of convenient entertainment, providing a collection of all the movie and show streaming services, cable channels, kids programs, and music streaming services!

From Netflix to Amazon Prime, Spotify to Pandora, and everything in between, all you need is an internet connection, a Roku device, and a Roku account!

Now that we’ve gone through the basics, let’s decide which one of the Roku players is best for you. We have two models in consideration, the Roku Ultra 2019 and the Roku Ultra 2020.

What We’re Going to Check

Since there are a few upgrades in the 2020 Roku Ultra, we’re going to be checking different features like the design and build of the Roku players, the accessibility they offer, and their price differences.

We’re also going to be talking about the accessories offered with them and whether spending the premium for the Roku 2020 is worth it or not. So, let’s get into the review!

Design and Build

Black Roku Ultra 2020 and Roku Ultra 2019 on white table

Roku Ultra 2019 (4670R)

The Roku Ultra 2019 has a more similar shape to its previous models, which was a sort of rounded square, around 5 inches across, with a bit of purple-colored Roku tag on the side. The top is a sort of matte black surface with “Roku” stamped across the middle, and the edges are on the glossier side, with “Roku Ultra” written in the top right corner of the front.

There’s a conveniently placed button on the top that can help you find your remote. And let’s face it, we all lose the remote once in a while, don’t we? Well, Roku has come up with a simple solution for that.

After you press the remote finder button, your remote control will make an audible sound that will help you find it. So, no more losing your remote!

On the side, there’s a USB port for when you want to view media from any portable drives or USBs you have, and on the back, there are four different ports.

These four ports are the power port, ethernet port, HDMI port, and a microSD card slot.

Roku Ultra 2020 (4800R)

The Roku Ultra 2020 has a slightly more updated design, now featuring an all-matte body, despite keeping the same rounded square shape. The device still measures around 5 inches across and has the purple Roku tag on the side.

The remote finder button has been shifted to the right side of the device, compared to the previous model, where it was placed on the top.

The back has four ports: the power port, a USB-A port, an HDMI port, and an ethernet port.

The Roku Ultra 2020 (4800R) doesn’t have a MicroSD card slot, as Roku removed it to increase local cached memory.

Which Is Better, Design-Wise?

Close-up of black Roku Ultra 2020

Ultimately, the only defining feature we noticed was that the Roku Ultra 2020 (4800R) doesn’t have a microSD card slot. Other than that, both devices are relatively similar, with a small overall body that makes them very compact and easy to store. You won’t have any trouble fitting this on even the smallest consoles or top of shelves.

Performance

The next thing we’re going to talk about is performance. The Roku Ultra 2020 does have a slight improvement in loading times, thanks to its quad-core processor.

But in reality, the difference in loading times between the two devices is mere seconds, which doesn’t warrant any price increase. Quite frankly, you can get the Roku Ultra 2019 and still be happy with the loading times.

Roku Interface

The interface of the devices is the same since both devices run the Roku OS. You get a few ads on the home screen, and Roku promotes their own channel a little bit by posting playable thumbnails on the screensaver, but it’s nothing that irritating.

Aside from this, the interface is relatively simple. You can browse through the different services that Roku offers, with different categories. The “Featured Free” category promotes content you don’t pay for, and “My Feed” shows your favorite movies and shows.

The search engine capability of Roku is great. Searching for shows and movies yields highly targeted results, and you will most definitely find what you’re looking for and anything related to it. For example, related search results might show movies from the same producer and movies that share actors.

The Remote

Now for the accessories. The Roku Ultra 2019 has a remote with a great collection of features, making for easy browsing, as well as customizable buttons. You can program these buttons by holding the voice search button, asking for an app, and holding the button until you hear a beep. However, in the 2019 model, these buttons make an annoying beep every time you press them.

The Roku Ultra 2020 remote doesn’t make that noise, and that’s a pretty upgrade. Now you won’t be irritated by that beep every time you want to visit your customized channel.

Both remotes have four preprogrammed buttons for popular apps: Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and Sling TV.

Earphones

The Roku Ultra 2020 comes with Roku branded earphones, while the Roku Ultra 2019 opted for JBL earphones. Both deliver almost the same sound quality, though some users have said that standard Roku earbuds have lower bass and a static hiss.

You can plug these headphones directly into the remote for a private viewing experience.

Final Verdict

Now that we’ve gone through the details of the two devices, which one is best for you?

The Roku Ultra 2020 certainly does seem the better buy, with the upgraded body and a higher wifi reception capability. Most users won’t worry about that, but if your modem is placed far away from your TV, then the Roku Ultra 2020 is the best option for you.

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