On Tuesday 29th Spetember 2015 Google held their release event and introduced the world to new products and software for their Android brand, alongside this they also announced the introduction of the 2nd Gen Chromecast and the all new Chromecast Audio. As soon as they mentioned the second of these two items everyone gathered in the room at Googles conference office in London turned to each other and said “Sonos” in the same way that you would when a new contender is set challenge the reigning champ.
If you’re familiar with Googles original Chromecast dongle then the Chromecast Audio will be second nature to you, and even if you are new to the whole Chromecast world you won’t be lost or bewildered by the tech. This truly is a simple plug and play device. The set up for the device is illustrated on the side of the packaging and that’s pretty much all you need in way of instructions. The accompanying set up app (which has been updated with a much more useful functionality for both Chromecast devices) is very straight forward, much like if you were signing into a friends wifi network from your mobile devices set up screen.
The physical connectivity is also very straight forward and this is where the Chromecast audio steps in and makes a serious bid to stunt the sales of the premium end of the wireless audio world. The Chromecast audio has a single output that can be used to connect a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable (a short 3 inch cable is provided), Phono cables (with a 3.55mm jack) or (and this is the best of all) optical output. Meaning that you can pretty much attach the device to any audio device with an auxiliary/line in input available and not have to invest in a whole new sound system.
Once the device is connected to your wifi and speaker/stereo, playing music is just a mere case of going to an audio service on your Android/iOS device and hitting the cast button. And one of the great things about casting audio is that the music plays directly from the streaming source and isn’t via your Android/iOs device so you can make calls etc without any kind of interruption like you would with screen casting.
Tech heads will be happy to know that the Chromecast Audio uses both wifi signals of 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. This is great if you have quite a few devices on your wifi network (as most of us do) you can put your Chromecast Audio on the less populated of the two to ensure better connectivity without interruption.
Googles Chromecast Audio is a definite a contender for the wireless audio home solution championship belt, strictly based on the price alone. At £30 there is nothing on the market in it’s range and will capture those who just simply don’t have the funds or desire to upgrade their audio devices by purchasing a dedicated device.