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Digital Home Reviews
15,512 Reviews

Roku 2 XS review

£79.99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Roku

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The Roku 2 XS is a tiny set-top box for streaming online content to your TV. Read our Roku 2 XS review to find out more.

Roku 2 XS

Roku's 2 XS is a set-top box for streaming online content to your TV, and it does a pretty good job of it. The Roku 2 XS looks just like the LT model but comes in a glossy black design rather than purple and black. It's small enough to hold your hand.

The device is supposed to retail for twice the amount of the Roku LT but can be purchased for £79.99 from a number of retailers. The main difference between the LT and the 2XS models is that the latter supports Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. See also: Apple TV review.

Setup is simple if you have Roku account, which you probably don't unless you own the LT model. Setting one up doesn't take long and involves punching in a code to activate the device. Roku's service is, in general, free, but credit card details are required since some of the content on offer must be paid for.

Roku 2 XS rear ports

Plugging the Roku 2 XS in is a doddle, just a power cable and an AV cable needs to be hooked up. There is, of course, an HDMI port so it's a disappointment to find no HDMI cable in the box – although you can pick one up dirt cheap.

The other difference between the LT and the 2 XS is the addition of a USB port and microSD card slot giving you the option of viewing your own media easily.

Connecting the Roku 2 XS up to the internet is simple thanks to built-in wireless. And if you fancy it, there's an ethernet port too. You'll need a good enough internet connection to stream content without encountering relentless buffering. Roku recommends a minimum speed of 1.2Mbps.

Once you're up and running, there are over 600 content channels to choose from, according to the firm. This sound impressive but the vast majority of these channels are unknown services and aren't worth wasting your time with.

Roku 2 XS content Netflix Sky Now TV

Forgetting about quantity, the main interesting apps in the Channel Store are Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Crackle, YouTube and, more recently, Sky Now TV. Other content services available include Spotify, Vimeo, Facebook, Flickr, WSJ, Picasa and CNBC. This means the other major catch-up services – 4OD, iTV Player and 5 On Demand – are missing.

Although a lot of the channels in the store are free, services like Netflix and Sky Now TV do cost extra so this is worth bearing in mind. For example, Netflix costs £6 per month for unlimited streaming.

The remote control is different to the LT's in that it uses Bluetooth instead of Infrared and a slightly different button layout. The Bluetooth connectivity is a real boon since you don't need a clear line of site to the main unit. If you wanted, you could place the Roku 2 XS complete out of sight – handy if you're short on space.

Roku 2 XS remote control Angry Birds

The remote also has a motion sensor and additional buttons, like a Nintendo Wii controller, for playing games. The Roku 2 XS comes with a free version of the original Angry Birds.

We found the Roku interface easy to navigate around and found it responded quickly to our input. There is also a free iPhone, iPad or Android device app with which to control the Roku 2 XS. We found the app particularly suitable for inputting text.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

Roku 2 XS Expert Verdict »
ROKU 2 XS Scores 8.1 out of 10 based on 209 reviews
Set-top box for internet services
Netflix, Crackle, BBC iPlayer, Sky Now TV
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
ethernet
HDMI
AV output (mini-jack to left/right/composite video RCA)
USB port
microSD card slot
Up to 1080p video output
Bluetooth remote control
84x84x23mm
85g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

The Roku 2 XS is worth the extra money compared to the LT to gain Full HD output is a neat device for bringing smart features to your TV. We love how easy to use the Roku is and its affordable price. It is missing a few of the big name catch-up services though.

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