Roku unveils an Express 4K+ set-top box and its first rechargeable remote

Finally, a hands-free Roku remote.


Roku's entry-level streaming box is getting a 4K upgrade: meet the $40 Roku Express 4K+. It looks the same as the company's previous Express devices, but now it can finally tackle more than HD content. Additionally, the company has unveiled the $30 Voice Remote Pro, its first rechargeable controller. Beyond not worrying about batteries — the company says it'll last for months per charge — it also features a microphone that can pick up hands-free voice commands, similar to Amazon's Alexa devices.

At first glance, the Roku Express 4K+ seems like a solid upgrade for anyone who owns an older 4K set with dated firmware. It supports HDR10, HDR10+, dual-band WiFi and micro-USB Ethernet adapters (there's no Ethernet jack built in, unfortunately). It costs $5 more than Roku's Premiere box (which is now being phased out), but that device was stuck with Roku's most basic remote. The Express 4K+, on the other hand, comes with the company's more powerful voice remote, which allows you to speak search queries aloud.

The Voice Remote Pro may be the ideal gadget if you're always losing your clicker. You can just shout "Hey Roku, where's my remote?" and it'll start chiming to alert you. Previously, that was a feature reserved for the company's high-end devices, and it required getting off the couch and hitting a button on the box. The Voice Remote Pro can also turn your TV on and off, control playback and adjust the volume completely hands-free. If that sort of on-demand microphone freaks you out, though, you can always enable push-to-talk mode by flipping an onboard switch.

While the Voice Remote Pro is compatible with every modern Roku device, it's also being bundled together with the company's soundbar, which is now called the Roku Streambar Pro (pictured below). It keeps the same $180 price, but the revamped controller may make the hybrid set-top-box and speaker a more compelling purchase. Additionally, the company is also bringing Virtual Surround to the Streambar Pro and the Smart Soundbar with Roku OS 10.

Roku Streambar Pro

You'll be able to find the Roku Express 4K+ in stores in mid-May, while you can snag the Voice Remote Pro on the company's website today. And if you don't care for the voice remote at all, you can find the $35 Roku Express 4K as a Walmart exclusive in the US, and in stores in Canada, the UK and Mexico in the next few weeks.