Updated: August 11, 2021 8:18:43 pm
Even though smart televisions have proliferated our lives, it is a fact that the smartness of the idiot box can be outsourced too. The Apple TV was among the first devices to bring this add-on smart smart features, at a time when the televisions where quite dumb. Now as TVs come with a lot of inbuilt smartness, the Apple TV is also evolving to offer other features that justify this investment. Here is our Apple TV 4K 2021 review.
Apple TV 4K 2021: What’s good?
The Apple TV is not different from the earlier version when it comes to design. However, the remote has been changed quite a bit and is much thicker than the last version. The Siri button is now on the side and you can press that to use voice commands with the Apple TV. Instead of the Menu button, you now have a back button, which makes sense as this is the one thing you constantly keep doing while surfing. Also, there is a dedicated mute button. I like the changes, but the thicker remote feels a bit too retro for my liking.
Set up is easy and all you need a power point and an HDMI cable — no, that’s not packed in the box. The set up is even more easy thanks to Apple’s ecosystem and the Apple TV just copies settings and passwords from your iPhone when you take it near the device at set up. So if you are not an Apple user, you will need to do a bit more fiddling with the remote to set this up. Once this is set up, you will get a prompt on the Apple remote app when you are needed to key in a password. Again, this shows how Apple’s ecosystem just works in the background making life easier.
There is more. You can now set up the Apple TV 4K to work with homepods in the house. And this set up to happens with prompts, or via the Home app where you can create a new room and put multiple devices in it. But just a tip, when you are streaming audio from the Apple TV to the HomePod, you will need a very strong Wi-Fi, otherwise, a lag will keep along with unnecessary buffering. I have noticed this happening when I am streaming audio from the FireStick to an Echo speaker as well. You can, however, use the iPhone to check the wireless audio sync in case there is a regular lag between picture and audio.
Apple has brought in some changes with the software too. For instance, where the Apple TV 4K adds lot of value to users is with the multiple resolutions if offers for the TV. For a lot of people of 4K TVs but struggling to get the content right, this device gets it perfect. I tested the Apple TV 4K on a new review TV from Sony — I don’t own a 4K TV yet — and the resolution was by default at the top setting of 4K at 60FPS. Interestingly, if you have a television that is not giving you the perfect calibration in terms of colour, you can go to the settings and get this right with some help from the iPhone. On the Sony X90J, the Apple TV told me this was not needed.
Also, given the Sony TV has Dolby, Apple TV was playing in Dolby Vision and Atmos by default. So as I watched movies like Mortal Combat the picture quality was was above what I got when I played the same natively via the Google Movies app.
What can differentiate, Apple TV 4K from other streaming devices is the access to Arcade. Or should I say the access to Apple Arcade on a large screen 4K television with high-end audio. But to experience this fully, you will need to invest in a controller Apple recommends. Powered by the A12 Bionic processor from Apple, the Apple TV can play all the games quite easily without any lag or stutter. In fact, switching between apps is also smooth and you can return to an app where you left it off.
There are no real negatives with the new Apple TV except for the thick remote which I also found to be a bit hypersensitive at times and needs to get used to because of the pad on top.
Verdict: Should you get the Apple TV 4K 2020?
If you are in the Apple ecosystem and need to upgrade an old Apple TV or have not yet bought one, then this is a good product to invest in, provided you have good TV to make use of the superior video streaming qualities of the Apple TV 4K. If you are looking for a product that manages all your entertainment needs from Music to Movies and Gaming, then look no further.
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