There are so many streaming sticks, dongles, and boxes out there, and they all come in different shapes and sizes. There’s a lot of competition, and it can be hard to choose the right one to fit your needs. Well, if you’re looking for a streaming device that delivers good bang for your buck, look no further. Mecool sent me over its KD3 streaming stick to review, and I was able to use it for a few weeks. Let’s take a look at what it offers in terms of value.
The Mecool KD3 is a streaming stick, and that means that it has a compact design. It’s small enough to fit right into a pocket and it plugs directly into the HDMI port of your TV. Overall, the device itself is built really well. The build materials are solid, and it’s got some heft to it.
Functionality and usability
For starters, you get everything you need in the box to get you started which is to be expected. This means that the Mecool KD3 comes with a micro USB to USB-A cord, a wall adapter, an HDMI extender cord, and the remote. The stick needs to be plugged in constantly to operate, so you’ll need to take note of that.
The included remote is nice
One good thing about this device is the included Google TV remote. With it, you can easily navigate the interface and find the content you’re looking for. It has the same sort of functionality as other remotes of the same kind with some dedicated buttons.
Firstly, there’s a Google Assistant button that you can use to easily use voice search. Also, there are buttons you can use to access the settings and your Google TV profile. Of course, you have your D-pad, with your volume and channel buttons.
Topping it all off, there are four dedicated buttons that take you to different streaming apps. There’s a dedicated button for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and YouTube. Pressing any one of those buttons will take you right to the respective app.
Nowadays, plenty of streaming devices offer features that up the viewing experience, and this is one of them. The KD3 can stream 4K video to your TV. If your TV doesn’t support 4K resolution, then you can always stream the video at 1080p with a 60Hz refresh rate.
Not only does it support 4K resolution, but you can also view content in Dolby Vision and HDR. Digging into the settings, you’ll be able to change the color format to your liking. You have the options between YCbCr 4:2:2 12-bit, 4:4:4 8-bit, 4:4:4 10-bit, and 4:4:4 12-bit. If you want RGB colors, then you can choose between RGB 8-bit, 10-bit, and 12-bit color formats.
You’re, obviously, not running graphically intensive games on this streaming stick, but performance is important nonetheless. Being able to smoothly navigate the interface is important to the whole experience. The performance of the Mecool KD3 has its ups and downs. Navigating through the main content, the performance is really smooth. This goes for playing, pausing, and navigating the actual video.
The performance, understandably, takes a hit while content is actively being loaded. When you go to the home menu, and it needs to populate the feed, you’ll see some noticeable slow-down. After about 10 seconds, once everything is loaded in, the performance becomes buttery smooth again.
When you summon the Google Assistant, it takes a second for it to actually load, and exiting content to jump to the home menu also takes a second. Overall, it’s not a sluggish experience. Once you give the content a bit of time to load in, it’s smooth sailing. There are just a couple of moments where it slows down, but it doesn’t impact the experience.
The best thing about the Mecool KD3 would have to be the software. It uses Google TV, which is one of the top operating systems for streaming. For starters, you have access to all of the top streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, and hundreds more. If you’re looking for an app, you can use the Google Play Store to find just what you’re looking for.
The content is curated based on your watch history, but the software also organizes the content by type. There’s a “Movies” tab and a “Shows” tab that you can check out. They show you movies and shows from different services. When you hover over an item, you get information like the rating and the price to watch it.
You don’t only get access to on-demand content. Right next to the “For You” tab, there’s a “Live tab”. Clicking on it will bring you a feed of live channels provided by Pluto TV.
Apps and storage
One of the most important features of a streaming stick is the selection of apps that you can download and use. There’s an “Apps” tab on the top of the screen that shows you all sorts of featured apps that you can download. Also, it shows you all your downloaded apps. Like the other content, the apps are organized by category, so you can find what you’re looking for easier. Since this is Google TV, you have access to thousands of apps that you can download.
While that’s really neat, if you’re a person who likes to download a lot of apps, you might be a bit disappointed. The Mecool KD3 only comes with 8GB of storage. That means that you won’t really be able to download much in terms of apps and content.
As with all types of smart devices, a fair amount of the storage is used up just by the system. In this case, about half the storage is used up by the system. Having downloaded only a few apps, I only had about 2.3GB of storage left. You’re going to have to be smart about what apps you want to download.
Should you buy the Mecool KD3?
The Mecool KD3 falls right in the middle of most streaming devices. For less, you can get a Chromecast that only streams in standard definition. For more, you can get an NVIDIA Shield that has every bell and whistle out there. If you’re looking for a 4K streaming device that gives you some good features for a good price, you should definitely consider getting this streaming device.
For the price, you get an admirable performing streaming device that can give you a 4K HDR picture with Dolby Vision technology. Also, the Google TV platform is a must-have. I recommend this device if you want to pay just a bit more for a more complete package compared to the cheaper options out there. The Mecool KD3 is available to buy from the Mecool site, Amazon, Shoppe, and Aliexpress.