The new 2015 Roku 2 (4210) and Roku 3 (4230) streamers we unveiled last week have begun arriving at retailers. Indeed, my local best Best Buy has both on the shelf. For the timing being, these units retain their existing US pricing – clocking in at $70 and $100, respectively. However, with the recent Apple TV price reduction and presumed summer updates, it’s safe to assume we’ll see periodic sales if not an outright drop in the coming months.
For 2015, we see power parity between the Roku 2 and Roku 3… as both feature the same hardware, including a slightly revised enclosure that pretty much maintains the same footprint as the prior editions. Beyond that exterior though, we believe the guts are identical same this time around. Whereas the 2013 Roku 3 was significantly faster and featured newer, better apps than the Roku 2, it looks like we’re on even footing this year. Which brings up the difference in the two models…
The 2013 Roku 3 shipped with a motion control gaming remote and headphone jack, so as not to disturb a sleeping parter. The 2015 Roku 3 bundles a new “Enhanced Remote” that inherits all the power of its predecessor but also packs voice search à la Amazon Fire TV… and we took the new feature for a spin here.
Whether or not the $30 premium for a motion control gaming remote featuring earbuds and microphone is worthwhile will largely depend on your needs. However, I suspect most folks who don’t currently possess Roku, which remains our preferred streamer, would be best served by the cheaper Roku 2 (2015). For those with newer Rokus, there may not be enough here to pull the trigger on an upgrade — especially since we expect the new My Feed feature, detailed here, to make its way to earlier models and it’s highly likely voice search will land on Roku’s iPhone and Android apps. As such, I’ll continue pining away for a Roku 4 or Roku 4K.