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Google's New $35 Chromecast Plays It Safe

While Google didn't give it any stage time at its Google Pixel 3 event today (Oct. 9), there's a new Chromecast out. Still just called Google Chromecast, the updated dongle has a sleeker design and a little bit more power under the hood. Otherwise, it's more or less the same gadget as before, at the same price.

Credit: Google

(Image credit: Google)

Google revealed more details about the updated Chromecast in a blog post, and now has it available for sale at its online store. The device is still a small, circular dongle that plugs into your TV's HDMI port, although now it's available in either black or white. The price has held steady at $35, and you'll still control the Chromecast exclusively with your computer or mobile device rather than a remote control.

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In fact, there's only one hard-and-fast difference between the new Chromecast and its second-gen predecessor — a 15-percent improvement in hardware speed, Google says. The Chromecast was not especially sluggish before, but it's good to know that it'll have a slightly faster processor for the same price.

Google also points out that you can sync your Chromecast with your Google Home device and turn your TV into a huge, gorgeous picture frame with Live Albums. However, these features are not new; they're just nice to have.

Soon, Chromecast users will be able to create "speaker groups," allowing you to broadcast the same music to multiple sets of you speakers throughout your house. This could be especially useful if you're having a party, or doing your yearly Thanksgiving listen to "Alice's Restaurant" as a family. It's not immediately clear whether this feature will be available on last-gen Chromecasts, or whether it will be exclusive to new models, though.

One notable absence in the Chromecast refresh is the ability to play 4K HDR content, which is still restricted to the $70 Google Chromecast Ultra. The refreshed Chromecast can play 1080p content at up to 60 fps, but this may not be as attractive as the $40 4K HDR Roku Premiere, depending on your TV setup.

Tom's Guide will have more info on the new Chromecast once we get one in-house. In the meantime, maybe you can pick one up at Best Buy — for real, this time.