Chromecast all but requires another smart device running (continuously) to control it. You can't control it directly.
The Amazon Fire Stick is pretty much identical to the Chromecast (but nicer), and comes with a remote control. For the intended market, the Amazon product is far superior.
The Chromecast works perfectly well with some apps (e.g. Netflix), but stutters badly on others (e.g. Hulu). I wonder how much of this is a questionable WiFi connection, and how much of it is poor software buffering design? My bet is that a hardwired connection will make Hulu performance better, but not perfect.