Keeping things as real as possible, the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box costs $20, and for that price, it is hard to find too much to complain about. Arguably, it is hard to find a better price on a streaming player. While I would prefer to have a Chromecast with Google TV for $10 more, that would mean losing out on 4K support.
And that’s the point. While this isn’t the best or the most powerful streaming player you can buy today, it is a super cheap streaming player, and one that checks most of the boxes that most homes will want checked.
Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box $19.98
Streaming Better opinion
If you’re looking for a cheap streaming player, or one to use in a bedroom, then it is hard to not recommend Walmart’s $20 Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box.
No premium features
If you are in the market for a cheap and capable streaming player with 4K support then the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box is an easy product to recommend. If you care less about 4K, maybe consider the Chromecast with Google TV HD.
Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box full review
If you’re still undecided on whether this is the right streaming player for you, here is our full review.
Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box specs
|Size||3.94 (lx 1.97 x 6.42 inches|
|WiFi||2.4/5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO|
|Voice support||Google Assistant|
|Ports||1 x HDMI, 1 x power|
|Video||4K Ultra HD|
|In the box||Onn Google TV 4k Streaming Box, remote control 2 x AAA batteries, 1m HDMI cable, Quick Start Guide|
Design — a familiar Onn player
I never used the first (Android TV) version so I can’t really give you too many detailed comparisons on the finer elements of the design. However, it doesn’t appear to be all that different with most of the changes seemingly taking place below the surface.
What is clear from the perspective of a totally new Onn user is that the player feels cheap. Of course, that’s not a huge deal considering it does only cost $20, but it did raise some concerns around long-term durability.
While I suspect it will survive the odd drop or impact, it does feel like it might not last quite as long as some other players, and even those priced under $50. Not only does it feel like it lacks a durable build, but it doesn’t feature any premium design elements at all.
After taking the Onn Google TV player out of the box, and realizing the HDMI goes in one end while the power cable goes in the other, it became clear that this will end up being more of a dongle device than a set-top box for some homes.
The included cable wasn’t long enough for the device to reach down from the back of the TV to a flat surface. Depending on the location of the HDMI port on your TV, or by using a different cable, you may find that the device is able to reach down and lay flat like a traditional player. For others, you’ll end up with a device that just hangs from the TV.
The small design also results in fewer options. Outside of the HDMI and power ports, there are no additional ports available.
The only other notable addition is a button on the back which acts as a reset button when needed
Overall, there isn’t really a lot to common on here. The Onn Google TV player is just a small black box with an in and and out port. Considering that’s all you technically need to stream apps on your TV, and the price, it’s hard to really criticize the bland look and design too much.
Remote — more control than the competition
For those new to the Onn brand, the remote is actually pretty decent, and even more so when considering the entire package costs less than $20.
In terms of size, Onn’s remote is more similar to the standard Fire TV remote than either a Roku or Chromecast remote. It is also slightly curved and boasts a reasonable weight, both of which add to a more comfortable fit when held.
Other than the usual controls, the remote houses shortcut buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus, and Paramount Plus. The latter of which is one of the visible changes from the previous model which came with an HBO Max button instead.
It is also something that’s likely to be useful for any Walmart customers that are also getting Paramount Plus for free as part of their Walmart Plus subscription.
There is also a live button which immediately directs the user to the Live section of Google TV. As Google has been adding support for more live TV sources recently, especially free ones, this TV shortcut is one which may prove increasingly useful.
For those that prefer only using one remote, the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box’s remote can also be set up to control the volume and power settings of the TV. Likewise, and depending on the model, the TV remote can also be used to control the Onn Google TV player.
Software — Google TV makes the difference
The one thing that is hard to complain about is the software and the credit for this goes to Google TV. This is the same operating system you’ll find on many other streaming players including the likes of the Nvidia Shield TV.
For anyone familiar with Google TV, there are no major surprises here, and unlike some other companies, Walmart doesn’t seem to have added much in the way of personalization either. In other words, this is a pretty stock version of Google TV and we’re okay with that.
From the home screen, you can scroll down to see the various app and video recommendations by Google, stuff added to your watchlist, or navigate through to specific sections. These include Live, Apps, and Library.
Speaking of apps, the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box came with the following apps preinstalled:
- Apple TV
- Disney Plus
- HBO Max
- Paramount Plus
- Prime Video
- YouTube Music
While these apps can easily be uninstalled again, it did feel like too many, and especially considering the limited amount of storage. Most homes probably won’t have access to all of these streaming services at the same time, and while having them there and ready to go is convenient, it’s a lot of apps to uninstall if you are not using them.
For reference, there was the option to choose which apps are installed during setup, including the option to deselect all of the ones listed above.
However, deselecting proved more difficult than expected as it didn’t work for me. After factory resetting the device and trying again, the second time was no different. So while you may find you can stop them from being installed, we couldn’t on two attempts, and that was slightly annoying.
Performance — not bad, but not a reason to buy
You shouldn’t be buying the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box if you want to game, or want a high performance device. For streaming your favorite video apps, however, and for less than $20, it is hard to complain about the performance.
The Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box comes loaded with 2 GB RAM and a quad-core Cortex A35 CPU which is paired with a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU. In comparison, the previous Android TV model came loaded with a Cortex A53 CPU. The Cortex A35 is newer, smaller, and more power efficient, so this change does represent a performance upgrade.
Along with the quad-core processor and 2GB memory, the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box comes loaded with 8GB storage. For reference, only 5.1 GB is available as internal shared storage, and only 3.8 GB of that is actually available.
In reality, 3.8 GB isn’t a huge amount and is likely to be quickly used up in homes which tend to download a varied selection of apps.
Specs aside, there were no major issues noted in terms of the performance or reliability. The Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box always performed as expected and proved to be a useful streaming player. Occasionally I did encounter a remote glitch where I would press either left/right/up/down and the player would just go on a roll in that direction. While this was an issue that surfaced more than once, I wouldn’t say it was a common problem.
Another small performance-related issue is that the remote would sometimes fall asleep, making it impossible to control the TV for a short period of time. In these instances, I would overcome the issue by using the TV’s remote to control the Onn player.
One of the big selling points with this player is the 4K support, and while there were no issues with 4K playback when tested, it is worth noting that 4K was not enabled by default.
Instead, and unlike other Google TV devices including the Chromecast with Google TV, Walmart’s Onn player comes with an Auto switch to best resolution settings enabled. For our TV, this resulted in the resolution defaulting to 1080p at 60 Hz.
This is an optional setting which can be disabled. To find and turn off the Auto switch to best resolution setting:
- Open the Settings app
- Navigate to Display & Sound
- Then to Resolution
- Disable Auto switch to best resolution
Once disabled, the player shows all of the various resolutions it supports making it possible to turn on 4K at 60 Hz.
Price — is the Onn Google TV worth buying?
The price is the biggest selling point with the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box and the main reason why you might consider picking one up.
At $20 it undercuts many other popular streaming devices that cost less than $50.
|Fire TV Stick Lite||$29.99||Amazon|
|Chromecast with Google TV HD||$29.99||Google Store|
However, all of these devices are not 4K devices. If you also want 4K support then you’ll end up paying even more.
|Roku Express 4K+||$39.99||Amazon|
|Fire TV Stick 4K||$49.99||Amazon|
|Chromecast with Google TV 4K||$49.99||Google Store|
That said, the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box is not going to be for everyone. Most notably, this is not going to be a suitable streaming player for anyone interested in gaming. While most streaming players aren’t ideal for gaming, this one in particular feels like one to avoid.
Likewise, if you want the best picture possible at the cheapest price then it might be worth considering paying a little more. For example, the $49.99 Fire TV Stick 4K and the $49.99 Roku Streaming Stick 4K both support Dolby Vision and HDR10+ while Walmart’s Onn player doesn’t.
It also remains to be seen how well the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box will hold up over time. This review is only based on using the product on a daily basis for almost two weeks. Even though there were no durability or warning signs during that time, the general quality seems representative of the low asking price, so longevity is something to keep in mind.
Long-term concerns aside, the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box offers great value overall. Whether it is as the main streaming player in the home, or just for the bedroom, Walmart’s Onn player is worth the low asking price.
2 replies on “Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box Review: How Good Is A $20 Player?”
Hi, thanks for your review! One question: does the device get hot while being used?
Haven’t noticed it getting abnormally hot but I also haven’t really been checking to be honest.
Will keep an eye on the heat this weekend and update this comment.