AMONG an endless flurry of new gadgets comes the Apple TV 4K – a welcome upgrade to a brilliant gadget.
I’ve been testing this brand-new set-top box to see if it deserves a spot under your telly.
The Apple TV 4K is brilliant and loaded with great features[/caption]
For the unaware, the Apple TV is a small “smart TV” box that plugs into your telly.
It offers up loads of apps filled to the brim with telly, movies, music, games and more.
There’s a new version out now that plays back 4K HDR content, and is faster and slicker than ever.
It’s powered by the A12 Bionic chip, which is brilliant.
It boasts classic minimalist Apple design[/caption]
The former iPhone chip makes the machine run buttery smooth.
The new Siri remote is vastly superior to the old model.
Gone is the giant touch panel that was easily tickled – causing accidental fast-forwards, pauses and other micro-nightmares.
And the Siri button on the side is a great addition, letting you check the weather, summon TV shows and even control your smart home gadgets.
It’s also much bigger than the old remote, so you’re less likely to lose it. That said, it’s still far smaller than more gargantuan remote controls you see in the wild.
There’s a native television app called Apple TV+ that’s paid for, though the purchase will net you a year trial anyway.
The catalogue is still small compared to rivals, but it’s growing fast – and production value is through the roof.
I loved Long Way Up (an epic motorcycle trip with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman), and I’m endlessly told that Ted Lasso is a must watch.
But all of the content from multiple apps is presented in a way that makes it easy to access.
You can pick up on an Apple TV+ show just as easily as you would something from Disney+.
The UI is easy to navigate and loaded with hit apps[/caption]
Aside from Apple TV+, the set-top box is very versatile.
You’ve got loads of popular streaming services Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Video, Now TV and anime powerhouse Funimation.
And you can enjoy your favourite creators over on YouTube or Twitch.
You can listen to Apple Music too, with a handy lyrics view to kickstart your own karaoke night.
You’ve got support for 4K High Frame Rate HDR, which is great for movies – but also sports with the improved frames-per-second.
There’s also support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
One of the most fun apps on Apple TV is Fitness+.
It offers up an endless selection of workouts from professional PTs, who guide you through HIIT classes, dancing routines and even yoga.
Better yet, if you’ve got an Apple Watch then your heart rate and calories burned are revealed on-screen in real-time.
I’d been putting it off for a while to save myself from fitness embarrassment, but it’s cracking and works great for beginners or the athletically inclined.
It’s free for three months, and then costs £9.99 a month or £79 per year.
One of the more interesting new features is automatic colour correction.
The new Siri remote is miles better than the old one[/caption]
Most of us don’t bother tweaking the colours on our telly – it’s often needlessly complicated, and who really has the time?
But the new Apple TV lets you correct the colours using your iPhone.
You enter the mode and then hold the iPhone up to the screen…et voila, colour correction is sorted.
Apple TV presents a before and after to demonstrates the changes, and then applies the corrections to all future content.
It literally took about 30 seconds to do on my unit, and it means you’re getting the most realistic colour output that your TV can handle.
It sounds perfect, right? Alas, the Apple TV 4K isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
The big catch is the hefty price – a single unit will set you back £169, or £189 if you double storage to 64GB.
When cheap-as-chips streaming sticks abound, many will struggle to justify forking out £169.
If you’re an iPhone owner looking for best-in-class streaming, it’s hard to go wrong with the Apple TV 4K.
But there are myriad ways to stream telly in the modern age, from smart TVs to consoles to branded dongles and more.
Amazon sells a 4K box for £110, while Google’s 4K Chromecast is a paltry £59.99.
Admittedly an Apple TV gives a better experience than both – especially if you own an iPhone.
You just have to justify whether the perks of Apple’s impressive box and the ecosystem as a whole are worth the extra cash.
The Apple TV 4K is truly incredible[/caption]
Personally, I’d spring for the Apple TV.
But if you’re on a very tight budget, you’ll certainly find joy from a cheaper option.
Importantly, you might not need the Apple TV 4K if you’ve got a very old TV model.
Of course, if you have a posh 4K HDR telly (and especially if it’s OLED or QLED) then you’ll have a brilliant time with Apple TV’s top-notch visuals.
The Sun says: The new Apple TV 4K is hard to fault, with endless tricks, the best apps and excellent performance – though its price will be prohibitive for some. 4.5/5
- Apple TV 4K at Apple Store for £169 – buy here
The Apple TV 4K is available to order now for £169, and begins shipping in late May/early June.
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All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed. Always do your own research before making any purchase.
What do you make of the new Apple TV 4K? Let us know in the comments!
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