As promised, Google have delivered a shiny new Chromecast Audio today. First thought is it’s tiny, second thought is I hope it sounds decent.
This neat little toy lets you plug any analogue speaker system into it via a 3.5mm jack, it will then receive audio over WiFi from, for example, your Android Phone and output the audio to the speakers. The App producing the audio needs to have casting support – Spotify works so that’ll do me nicely.
The Chromecast Audio is configured over WiFi, much like the original Chromecast. You navigate to https://cast.google.com/chromecast/setup/ which tells you to install the App.
Once the App is loaded it disconnects you from WiFi and scans for the cast’s own WiFi network (‘Chromecast04762.a’ or similar). This found the unit and provided a handy Set-Up link. It sat and span for a while until I got bored and figured there must be a problem.
The problem was, on my Samsung S4, I have ‘Smart Network Switch’ enabled (in WiFi settings). This is meant to switch between WiFi and mobile data when required. However, it had the side effect in that it also checks if the connected network has real Internet Access, which of course the Cast doesn’t until it connects to your own WiFi. This meant that the App connected and then smart switch disconnected it once it realised it had no Internet. All you do is disable Smart Switch and things start working properly.
Happy days. After configuring it to connect to my WiFi and performing an automatic update it seems to just work.
In Spofify a wee bar appears at the bottom which says ‘Available Devices’, you click that and the Chromecast Audio’s name appears next to the icon of a speaker. Click and magically it’s playing Spotify through my speakers.
Sounds decent enough too, which is always a surprise on these small gadgets. It’s powered by the included USB power supply so won’t eat much juice either.
I paid £30 for it via pre-release on the Google Store. I dare say in 3 months time it’ll be half the price so probably worth waiting.