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Mecool KD5 Streaming Stick Review: A Great Alternative To Chromecast

Mecool KD5 review AH
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Mecool is looking to provide a worthy competitor to the Google Chromecast. In this review, we will see if its KD3 streaming stick is that competitor.

Mecool KD5
$49.99
Rating
star star star star star_empty
Pros
  • Has Android TV platform
  • Uses HDR10 and HDR10+
  • Uses AV1 video codec
  • Plays most games perfectly smooth
Cons
  • Only 8GB of storage
  • Performance is stuttery

Android Headlines was given a Mecool KD5 streaming stick two weeks before writing this review.

Streaming is a rapidly growing industry, and streaming sticks are one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to partake. Google’s Chromecast has a strong grasp on the industry, but other companies also make their own sticks.

Mecool is a company that makes streaming sticks in the affordable sector, and I was able to review its latest offering. It’s the KD5 streaming stick, and it’s a device to bring you into the streaming stick world at a lower price point. Regardless of how cheap it is, let’s dive in and see if it’s worth the money.

The build quality is pretty good

While you’re not going to be using this device as you would a phone, the build quality is still an important factor. The actual stick is solidly built. The plastic casing is pretty tough, and there’s a respectable heft to it. It’s not as heavy as the Mecool KD3, but you can tell that it’s built well.

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The Mecool KD5 streaming stick comes loaded with Android TV 11

The software story has both good and bad news. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest from Android TV or Google TV, then you’ll be disappointed. The Mecool KD5 comes pre-loaded with Android TV 11. This is a generation behind the most current version, and it’s soon to be two generations behind. You’ll be missing out on the newest features, so you’ll need to be aware of that.

To be honest, a lot of the people who this streaming stick is targeted at won’t really care about the features. This device is more of an entry-level streaming stick.

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But the good news is that Android 11 is still good

Regardless of the version, you’re still getting a great TV platform. Android TV is one of the most powerful TV platforms out there. You have access to all of the most prominent streaming services on the market like Nexflix, Disney+, Hulu, Tubi, Peacock, Prime Video, YouTube TV, and thousands more.

Your home screen comes loaded with curated lists of movies and shows pulled from different streaming services including the ones listed above. When you select a piece of content, it will take you to the app, or it will take you to the Play Store to download it.

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Not only will it show you recommendations, but the app will also keep track of your watch history across different services. They all live on the same carousel, so you’ll see your Tubi history right next to the movie you didn’t finish on Disney+.

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If you’re looking to have a fully-featured TV operating system, you will be able to have everything you need with Android TV 11.

The included remote can control your TV

You won’t only be able to control your Mecool KD5 with the included remote, but you’ll also be able to use it to control your TV. When you’re setting up the device, you’ll be able to set it to control the TV as well.

This means that it will be able to change your TV’s volume, change the channel, and power it on and off. Your TV will need to be compatible with the technology, however.

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Speaking of the included remote

The remote has everything you need to control your device including four dedicated hardware buttons for apps. There’s a button for Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and the Google Play Store. Along with that, there’s a built-in microphone you can use to speak to the Google Assistant.

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The performance is a mixed bag

When it comes to performance, there’s a good side and a bad side. There’s a fair amount of lag while using this device; more than I would like to see, even from a budget device. While navigating through the channels and apps, the device will get caught up sometimes. There were even instances where it would take a few seconds just to go back to the home screen.

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But, gaming is surprisingly smooth

While you’ll get some lag and stutters throughout the interface, you can play games perfectly well using this device. I downloaded some games from the Play Store and connected a Bluetooth controller to it.

The games I tested on this device all ran smoothly, as they were more simple titles. Games like Dungeon Quest, Badlands, and Evoland. Each of those games ran perfectly smoothly without any lag whatsoever. The one that surprised me was Dungeon Quest, as it’s a 3D title.

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You should be able to download and play most games on the market and play them without any issue. Just know that more graphically intensive games might slow down the device. You’ll just need to have a gamepad to play most of them.

You won’t be able to download much, however

The Mecool KD5 streaming stick is good for downloading apps, but you’ll hit the storage ceiling pretty quickly. This device only comes with 8GB of storage onboard. That’s a pretty low amount for people who plan on downloading a lot of apps.

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It’s good for people who’ll probably only download a few streaming apps. However, if you’re a person who will download several games, then you’ll want to be careful of how many you download.

If you factor in the preinstalled apps and the storage used by the system, about half of the storage is unavailable to be used. You’ll have about 5GB of available space when you start off. Once you start downloading apps, that storage will fill up pretty quickly.

How’s the picture quality?

One of the most important aspects of a streaming stick is the video quality. This is a more affordable streaming stick, so you’re going to have modest specs. In terms of video resolution, it caps out at 1080p. That’s unfortunate for people who are resolution junkies, but it’s just fine for the most part.

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Even though the video quality tops at 1080p, it still streams content in HDR10 and HDR10+. The 1080p video should still look great in HDR. Not only that, but this device uses the AV1 video compression codec. With this codec, the videos you watch will consume less data. This is good for people who plan on streaming a lot but want to conserve data.

Should you buy the Mecool KD5 streaming stick?

This device is definitely missing some bells and whistles, but that’s not a bad thing when you factor in the price and the targeted audience. This streaming stick is meant to be an entry-level device to cover the basics.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive streaming stick that can give you a decent picture, good software, and a little bit of gaming, then I think that this device is good for you.