In most cases, the high-definition video streamed very smoothly. Netflix's integration in particular, which supports streaming 1080p content, was very smooth and very responsive to fast forwarding. Watching an episode of "Orange is the New Black" was no different than when I had first watched the episode through my Apple TV a week before.
However, required for that enjoyable experience is a stable WiFi network. Over LTE, video was choppy and getting everything to work was a struggle. Even on WiFi, I encountered some app crashes in YouTube and some distortion using the Chrome extension, though in my five days of testing there were only a handful of hiccups.
There are those early flaws, but Google has nailed the multitasking feature. While the video plays on the big screen, whether it be from your computer, tablet or phone, you can still use your device to do other things. For instance, when you toggle out of the Netflix app on the phone or tablet, you can check an email or use any other app while the video plays.
So, does the Chromecast achieve its mission? The Chromecast is ahead of the competition, notably the $99 Apple TV and the $60 Roku, when it comes to the handoff between the mobile phone, laptop and a tablet and the TV. Apple's Airplay works similarly, but getting things working with the Chromecast is much easier and works across Android, iOS, Windows and Mac devices.
However, the little device cannot compete with those offerings when it comes to content selection. YouTube and Netflix are a good start, but for this to fully replace one of the other solutions, local content and other supported apps options are necessary.
Yet all of that seems forgivable when you consider that the Chromecast costs only $35. That seems like a small price to pay to get me to look at the 40-inch screen I have sitting in front of me rather than the smaller ones in my hand or lap.