The embargo has lifted on reviews of the new Apple TV 4K, a fairly minor refresh to the streaming box with an A12 chip for faster performance and a redesigned Siri Remote with a new clickpad for five-way navigation.
Most customers will begin receiving their new Apple TV 4K this Friday, and ahead of time, we've rounded up reviews and unboxing videos below.
Andru Edwards said the new Apple TV is "noticeably faster" at opening apps, and he said the new Siri Remote offers a better experience:
Jacob Krol at CNN Underscored echoed that the A12 chip is faster, but he said it's "not a night and day difference." He said the main benefit of the new chip and newly-added HDMI 2.1 support is the ability to play HDR content at a higher 60 frames per second:
Things like action sports or racing can take advantage of this to make the content more immersive or lifelike. It's a future-proofing move and many major sports channels plan to start broadcasting or streaming with it. Right now, you'll need a TV that can handle it along with this Apple TV 4K — oh, and yes, content that supports it. We were able to try out RedBull TV during our testing window for some intense action sports, and the broadcast was really smooth — though it won't be evident to the untrained eye.
The new Apple TV 4K is priced at $179 with 32GB of storage or $199 with 64GB of storage. MobileSyrup's Patrick O'Rourke said the Apple TV still remains very expensive relative to other streaming boxes and sticks, but he believes the price is justified:
Over the years, I've spent a lot of time with other streaming devices, but always find myself coming back to the Apple TV because it's the most reliable platform I've encountered, it often gets app updates first and new streaming platforms frequently arrive on Apple's set-top box earlier than other devices, particularly in Canada. This was the case with Bell-owned Crave as well as several other apps. Don't get me wrong, it would be great to see a price cut to the streaming box and its new Siri Remote, but in a sense, you really do get what you pay for with the Apple TV 4K (2021).
Rene Ritchie at iMore did have one criticism of the new Siri Remote, that being the Back button, previously known as the Home button:
What it won't solve for is the Home button. Apple's renamed it Back, but like the Android back button of old, it's more like a random action button. If you're watching a video in the TV app, and you press it, you get an option bar on the bottom of the screen. Then you have to press it again to exit. But if you press it in, say Netflix or Disney+, you're insta-dumped out of the video. On YouTube, back will dismiss the overlay. In Prime Video, it'll insta-dump you.
More written reviews:
- Carrie-Ann Skinner at TechRadar
- Kevin C. Tofel at Stacey on IoT
- Adrian Weckler at Independent.ie
- Lance Ulanoff at Debugger
- Stuart Miles at Pocket-lint
More video reviews and unboxings:
The new Apple TV 4K has been available to order since April 30, and it will go on sale at most Apple Store locations starting May 21. The older Apple TV HD remains available for $149 and now ships with the redesigned Siri Remote.