The EZCast Ultra U1 Wireless Display Receiver stream [email protected] Perfect if you have 4K content and a 4K TV.
You probably are asking why you may need this? The EZCast Ultra U1 provides four times the resolution (4K) than 1920×1080 (we call this 1K for convenience). And it is far more fool-proof than using a home network to cast to a TV or any HDMI monitor or projector.
There is quite a lot to this little black puck – technology to help make it future-proof. At least until the 8K version comes out…
From Amazon.com.au approx. A$190 (varies with US Dollar conversion)
Warranty: 12-months via Amazon
Country of Manufacture: China
EZCast (Action Microelectronics) is a Taiwanese company (Est. 2006). It has EZCast patents in 30+ countries. It designs custom audio/video/wireless broadcast SoCs. The technology is in use by the leading router, monitor, and projector manufacturers.
What is it for?
To cast up to [email protected] HDR 2.0 audio/video to a TV/Monitor/Projector from a Wi-Fi-equipped PC, smartphone – or any transmission capable device.
What is it?
Physically it is a little black 65mm 43g puck shape with an HMDI 2.0 port, USB-C 2.0 charge port. It has a power button and indicator LED. A ludicrously short 30mm HDMI cable and a 1m USB-A to USB-C charge cable come with it.
All you do is plug the HDMI cable into a 1K or 4K TV – or any HDMI display device. Apply USB power (5V/2A required). Download the app, scan the QR code, enter the Wi-Fi password, and that is that.
Unlike Google’s Chromecast Ultra that only supports Chromecast, the EZCast Ultra U1 is almost OS and protocol agnostic.
It supports Android, Windows, iOS and macOS. That means, Chromecast, Miracast, Google Home, AirPlay, DLNA, EZAir, EZMirror and other many other content and wireless projection technologies. It is firmware upgradable so expect more functionality over time.
The device transmits its own Wi-Fi 5 AC Dual-band SSID and bridges to the home network to enable internet connection.
It also supports Google voice assistant.
Android – EXCEED
Mirror mode you will see what you see on your phone screen – landscape or portrait
Media mode you can playback from the photo/video gallery/music or cloud
Web brings up a custom browser – you can use any browser in Mirror mode
Camera accesses your rear or front camera
IP Cameras accesses any Wi-Fi connected cameras
DLNA connects to any DLNA server that your device has access to
EZChannel is little like YouTube where users can search and list videos indexed by HashTags.
We found the app slightly buggy – not in a dramatic way. It is not as polished with consistent actions (sometimes it shows a back arrow and sometimes you use the Android back) and it hung a couple of times. On the whole, it worked quite well.
Windows/macOS – EXCEED
Download the app. Connect to the EZCast SSID and then bridge to your home network for internet. If your Windows device is 3:2 ratio (like the Surface Pro), then you see that size.
The app allows mirror or extend. The latter means an extra screen replete with seamless mouse control – I like that.
The Music and Video buttons default to Windows/iOS storage folders, but you can change this.
It also has a privacy section that allows you to turn off Google Analytics for the dongle.
Lag – EXCEED
If there is a lag, it’s a fraction of a second. We had no lip-sync issues. In extend mode there was a very slight mouse lag so its probably not for gamers.
Colour/HDR – EXCEED if a little oversaturated
Colours are accurate if slightly oversaturated, but you can compensate with the TV controls. It brings out HDR highlights. It renders Dolby Vision/Atmos content to HDR/2.0 sound.
It will bring up wallpaper in standby to stop screen burn-in – handy for OLED
Distance – PASS to EXCEED if you get it all right
It is a Wi-Fi device, so the distance depends on three factors.
First, the strength of your Wi-Fi Home network. We tested on an ASUS Wi-Fi 6 AX11000 (4.7/5 – a beast of a router), and it connects out to nearly 30/15m over Wi-Fi 2.4/5Ghz. But on an AC1600 (as most NBN gateway modems are) you can halve that distance.
Second, is the EZCast Ultra U1 Wi-Fi signal. It is nowhere near the power of the ASUS router. Its transmission power is 2.4/5Ghz 451.9/30.4mW. The maximum distance from the router is probably about 10/5metres.
Third the strength of your cast device. In the test case, it is a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has an exceptionally strong Wi-Fi Rx/Tx signal. We managed to get up to 10 metres from the EZCast Ultra U1 before the signal was unreliable. We later tested with a $200 smartphone, and the maximum distance is about 6 metres.
Voice Assist – PASS
EZCast is recognised as a cast device by Google Assitant. If using Google, you don’t need to access the app. We understand it supports Alexa (not tested).
Caveats – Copy protected content
Due to copyright protection, streaming from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. may, or may not, work. It appears to be more an iOS and macOS issue, but these videos may stream via Chrome Browser Cast. Android seems less affected as most phones support HDCP WideVine L1.
GadgetGuy’s take – EZCast Ultra U1 is a true [email protected] multiple protocol cast dongle
I was almost going to say fool-proof like the [email protected] EZCast Quattropod we reviewed here 4.3/5 – but it is not quite. The Quattropod just works – all the time, every time. Why? Because it casts via an HDMI transmitter linked via a dedicated Wi-Fi channel to an HDMI receiver.
This one is simpler in that it uses your home Wi-Fi and all the vagaries that can mean.
The Android app is a little inconsistent (easy to fix).
The Windows app has occasional issues connecting. Although we think that the dongle really needs a 5V/2A power source for 4K. The laptop USB-A port is 5V/1A. That means you can’t rely on your TV USB-A port as most are 5V/1A.
Overall it does everything it claims. I can see it as a useful travel companion to cast to a hotel TV or even in a boardroom situation (but QuattroPod is likely a better alternative).
Where this shines is that it supports almost everything, including AirPlay.
But you also need to understand that most 4K TVs will probably have Chromecast and now Airplay2 as standard. EZCast Ultra supports all popular OS and screen mirroring protocols.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Easy to set up and use
Great 4K HDR (it decodes Dolby Vision to HDR)
OS and protocol agnostic
Automatic 50/60Hz switching
Mirror or extend modes in Windows or macOS
Future firmware updatable
I would have preferred an Ethernet connection as well