If I was reviewing a new television set-top box (or “dongle”), I’d probably focus on video quality:
Even at the highest quality video playback isn’t perfectly smooth, and there are some glitches here and there. You’ll also need a decently powerful machine: performance on my older Samsung Series 5 Chromebook was so terrible it was unusable, and I occasionally got performance warnings on my Core i7 MacBook Pro as well.
Unlike AirPlay, which is built into the system video player on iOS and integrated into OS X, Chromecast requires app developers to add support to every app individually. That’s going to take time and some intense lobbying from Google. Pandora support is coming, but unless you’re a heavy Google Play user, right now the Chromecast’s entire app story is Netflix and YouTube.
And maybe I’d throw in a thing about build quality:
The whole thing is a little under 3 inches long, and it’ll stick out about 2.5 inches when plugged into an HDMI port. That can lead to some problems if you bump into it or otherwise jostle it around — I bent the HDMI connector on one of my Chromecasts within minutes of plugging it in. (It still works, but it wasn’t exactly reassuring.)
The Verge gave the Chromecast “Verge scores” of 8, 7, and 8 out of 10, respectively for those categories, for a combined average (?) of 8.5/10.
Serious question: did Google pay these guys off?