Review: Roku stands out among streaming sticks

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The Roku stick comes with a remote, so it’s easier to navigate. Because it’s essentially a Roku 3 in a smaller package, it runs the more than 1,000 apps available for the Roku 3, including games and language lessons. The main exceptions are games that require the Roku 3’s motion sensor remote. Neither Roku device has iTunes or Google Play.

The device’s processor also isn’t as fast as the Roku 3’s, so it may take longer to navigate and open apps. As is common with many streaming devices, expect some audio and video syncing issues, as though you’re watching a badly dubbed foreign film.

Pros: The stick works with lots of apps, and its remote offers excellent control compared with rival streaming sticks. Its apps include Amazon Instant Video, something other sticks don’t offer.

Cons: If you sit on the remote, you may accidently hit a shortcut button to Netflix or another service, disrupting your viewing.

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- BiggiFi ($89):

Plug it in, then control it with the BiggiFi app on Apple and Android devices.

On the TV, you’ll see an Android home page with some apps. You can get others through Google’s Play store.

Here’s where BiggiFi gets frustrating: To tap an icon on the screen, you have to figure out the corresponding position on your phone. Tap the phone too far to the left and you get the app to the left of the one you wanted. You then have to guess where the back button is.

BiggiFi does let you snap a screenshot so that what’s on the TV appears on your phone, but once you tap your selection, it’s out of sync again. The phone ought to constantly mirror what’s on the screen.

There is a mouse mode that turns the phone screen into a touchpad similar to a laptop’s, though I couldn’t scroll with the iPhone version.

Pros: There’s a wide variety of Android apps available, though that still excludes iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Cons: The interface is far from friendly. And not all Android apps work.

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- AwoX StriimStick ($99):

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