Last week, Google announced its latest smartphones and Chromebook (laptop) to be released soon. The annual event where Google tells its loyal followers what they can expect over the coming months is generally regarded to be of equal importance to the tech-savvy as Apple’s annual WWDC.

One of the smaller - though no less important - announcements was the company’s first update to its hugely popular ‘Chromecast’. Before we get into what the (inventively named) Chromecast 2 is all about, let’s just recap what exactly a Chromecast is.

Chromecast is a ‘digital media player’ first launched in July 2013. It was one of the first major devices of its kind to the market and promoted heavily through its own channels by Google. It came in the form of a small ‘dongle’ that plugged directly into a user’s HDTV via HDMI cable. It connected the TV to the internet via the Chromecast interface and the user could then use their smartphone to ‘remote control’ the Chromecast (tell it what media to play).

That media was then beamed straight to the device from the internet, rather than going via the smartphone. It essentially turned non-smart TVs into smart-TV and already-smart-TVs into faster smart-TVs. Android smartphone users could also use it as a photo-gallery on the TVs or “cast” (mirror) their smartphone screens onto the HDTVs. It became a big hit - starting in the States before then working its way through Europe and the rest of the world. It was so easy to setup and use, I even got one for my mother.

And so, just over two years on, Google has decided it is time for the Chromecast 2 to surface. And here is what’s different in this second generation model:

Design refresh - gone is the small ‘dongle’ design. Chromecast 2 has taken the update form of a small cylindrical hub connected by cable to the TV. It also now comes in a choice of three colours; black (like the first-gen), yellow and red.

It now supports the 5GHz Wi-Fi band - The first edition only supported 2.4GHz. What’s the difference, you ask? 2.4GHz is the most commonly used Wi-Fi frequency as it can extend its range the furthest. As a result, it is also often rather congested. The 5GHz may not stretch as far, but it should put an end to - or at least limit - those buffering moments.

More portable - This time round, they’ve made it magnetic, meaning the cable will curl around the device and stay put, making it easier to carry about for those on the move.

All in all, the second-edition isn't vastly different. Many with the first-gen will see little reason to purchase the new one. My Google-loving geeky side refused to allow me to just leave it and I ordered one on launch day but given it’s been released at the same low price as the first edition (£30), I don’t feel too bad about it. The slightly-improved hardware makes it worth the purchase for me and now that it comes in a few more colours, it may appeal to a slightly wider demographic.

The big difference this time round, as opposed to the first edition, is that there is now fierce competition from the much-improved Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire Stick, among others. The key selling points of Google’s Chromecast 2, however, are the price and the ease of use.

Also, being made by Google is often - for me as well as others - almost a guarantee that it’s trustworthy and reliable. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I probably won’t know for a few years. But in the meantime, I’ll continue streaming (hopefully buffer-free) all my favourite shows and movies.