There is no update for Chromecast Ultra or Chromecast Audio this year. Update: Google discontinued Chromecast Audio in early 2019.
This Chromecast guide explains the new features of Chromecast 2018 (3rd gen of Chromecast), and whether it is worth to update your Chromecast.
The successor of Chromecast 2018, Chromecast with Google TV (Chromecast 2020; Chromecast 4th Gen), were released on September 30, 2020.
What are the new features in Chromecast 2018 (3rd gen of Chromecast)?
Chromecast 2018 is a minor update to Chromecast 2015 (2nd gen Chromecast). So, there are no jaw-dropping new features in Chromecast 2018.
Because Chromecast is so unique that there are no serious direct competitors in the market, it is hard to judge whether Chromecast 2018 is behind or ahead of the industry trends.
But one thing is sure your $35 will be well spent if you do not own a Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra now.
As Google stopped selling the 2nd gen Chromecast, you will get the latest Chromecast 2018 if you purchase the Chromecast from now on.
The new features discussed in this post are “new” to Chromecast 2015 (2nd gen Chromecast) owners. If you are new to Chromecast, or currently own the first generation of Chromecast, you may check this guide first.
Compared to the 2nd generation of Chromecast (Chromecast), Chromecast 2018 has the following new features and improvements.
1. Faster hardware
Google claims the 3rd gen Chromecast hardware is 15% faster than the 2nd gen. It is hard to verify because very few owners complained about the hardware speed.
Most of the time, the speed is limited by your internet connection.
The significant improvement we somewhat felt is the connection stability. Chromecast 2018 can maintain a better WiFi connection (and therefore smoother streaming) at 2.4GHz when the WiFi signal is weak.
Overall, there are no dramatic improvements from Chromecast 2015 to Chromecast 2018.
But if you are using the first-gen Chromecast, you will see significant improvements because Chromecast 2015 (2nd gen) is a major.
2. Plain design
Chromecast 3rd gen has similar physical dimensions as Chromecast 2015. But there are a few design changes (good and bad):
- Only two colours are available: black or charcoal. No red option, no yellow option.
- Plain (and maybe boring) design with a G logo. But some users may like the simplicity. Anyway, Chromecast most of the time stays behind a TV. The design maybe not so important.
- No magnet on the HDMI cable. So the new Chromecast 2018 will be hanging in the air for most setups.
Basically, the design of Chromecast 2018 is a step back for some users.
3. 1080p 60fps support
The first generation Chromecast supports 1080p at 24fps. The second generation Chromecast (Chromecast 2015) supports 1080p @30fps and 720p @60fps.
Now the third generation Chromecast (Chromecast) supports 1080p@60fps.
4. Bluetooth support
It is still not clear how the Bluetooth support will be used in Chromecast 2018.
Up to now, Bluetooth support is not enabled in Google Home app yet.
Please note, as adding Bluetooth support requires some sorts of approval from FCC. Chromecast 2015 and the first generation Chromecast will NOT get Bluetooth support although it can be enabled through a firmware update.
5. Multiroom group playback support
Google announced multiroom playback support would be available for Chromecast 2018 later this year (2018).
Very likely, all old Chromecast devices (1st and 2nd gen Chromecast, and Chromecast Ultra) will get this feature as well.
Because Google discontinued Chromecast Audio in 2019, you can use Chromecast as Chromecast Audio, as explained in this guide.
Should you upgrade to the new Chromecast 2018 (3rd gen of Chromecast)?
Whether you should upgrade to the Chromecast 2018 or not depends on what you have now.
If you are using a Chromecast 2015 (2nd generation Chromecast), you may skip Chromecast 2018. Bluetooth support is unclear. 1080p @60fps support is not so important. So, instead of spending $35, you may hold the money back a while, or double the budget to get a Chromecast Ultra.
If you are using the first generation Chromecast, you SHOULD upgrade to Chromecast 2018. Faster connection and faster hardware can justify the $35 investment.
If you are not using any Chromecast devices, your choice would be Chromecast 2018 ($35) or Chromecast Ultra ($69). If the budget allows, I would suggest you get a Chromecast Ultra.
If you are using a Chromecast Ultra, you should not downgrade.
Please note, Chromecast 2018 works like other Chromecast devices exactly the same way. For example, you can stream internet contents, as well as stream local content. The most popular media player VLC now fully supports Chromecast on both Windows and Android. All Chromecast devices and Google Home devices are controlled by Google Home app.
So, the difference among Chromecast, Chromecast 2015, Chromecast 2018 and Chromecast 2018 lies many on hardware capabilities.
You can get the new Chromecast 2018 in Google store or Walmart.
How about the new generation of Chromecast Ultra (Chromecast Ultra 2018) and Chromecast Audio (Chromecast Audio 2018)?
Google did not update Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast Audio this year.
So, there is no Chromecast Ultra 2018 or Chromecast Audio 2018. Google very likely will update them in 2019 or in 2020.
Do you know the new features and improvements in Chromecast 2018 (3rd gen of Chromecast)? Do you know which Chromecast device you should get now?
If you have any questions or encounter any problems on the new Chromecast (3rd gen, 2018), or have questions about choosing a Chromecast device, please let us know in the comment box below.
The community will try to help you find the solution.
For Chromecast Audio guides, please visit the Chromecast Audio guide page.
If your question is on Chromecast including both 1st generation Chromecast, and new Chromecast (aka Chromecast 2015), Chromecast 3rd gen (Chromecast 2018), and Chromecast 4th Gen (Chromecast with Google TV), please visit Chromecast how-to guides page.