Apple TV 4K (2021) Review

May 26, 2021

Better becomes best.

The Lowdown: 

The 2021 revamp of the Apple TV 4K features a faster processor and support for 4K HDR at 60 fps and it certainly delivers. Despite its price, it is one of the best media streaming devices available which works best if you’re in the Apple ecosystem.

The Review:

Almost four years have passed since the Apple TV 4K (2017) was released and just last weekend we saw the launch of the new generation Apple TV 4K (2021). The small streaming box retains the same design as its 2017 counterpart, which made us initially unimpressed since they look exactly alike. That being said, the Apple TV 4K (2021)’s black matte and glossy exterior is a perfect companion for your home entertainment setup, and a must-have accessory especially if you’re in the Apple ecosystem.

The main difference here is that the Apple TV 4K (2021) now runs on the A12 Bionic chip, previously seen on the iPhone XS. This makes it marginally faster than the A10X chip that powers the 2017 version. This translated to a speedy interface that you’ll immediately notice when navigating, but more than that the new chip now allows it to support up to 4K HDR videos at 60 fps. As far as video features go, it supports 4K HDR streaming with Dolby Atmos for immersive audio and Dolby Vision for next-level HDR.

Available with your choice of 32GB of 64GB storage options, the Apple TV 4K (2021) runs on tvOS that has undoubtedly become better over the years. Some of the most common streaming apps are now available, including Netflix, StarzPlay Arabia, Amazon Prime, and OSN. Additionally, you get access to Apple’s own suite of services that include Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Fitness and Apple Music.

More than just a streaming box, the Apple TV 4K (2021) can also act as a hub for HomeKit enabled devices, letting it control various smart home devices. I have a couple of smart bulbs connected to it, and I can conveniently turn it on or off directly with the Apple TV 4K, including using Siri to invoke a command.

While the main unit remains the same, it’s the new Siri remote (now simply called the Apple TV Remote) that makes this setup box a must-have part of your home entertainment setup. It’s larger than the previous remote, making it easier to handle and less likely to get lost (though I still prefer that it had AirTag integration). It still has a rechargeable battery that you charge using a Lightning cable, and now has a circular clickpad at the top that replaces the touch-sensitive pad on the previous remote.

This clickpad is both clickable and touch-sensitive, letting you navigate with ease. It’s a brief reminder of the original iPod that used a similar design for navigation, and it’s great that it has made its way to the remote. I personally found it easier to navigate using the new remote, browsing the menus and even scrubbing a movie to watch a favourite part. The remote also features a power button, with the Siri button relocated to the side.

Included with the Apple TV 4K (2021) (also present on previous-generation models) is Colour Balance, which uses your iPhone to help calibrate the colours of your TV to improve image quality. I already have my TV calibrated, but a quick run-through Colour Balance and I definitely noticed some improvements, especially with HDR videos.

As an Apple device, the Apple TV 4K (2021) works best if you’re already invested in their ecosystem. This means that any iPhone or iPad can easily be mirrored, as well as being able to use your iPhone or iPad as an alternative remote.

And it’s a pleasure to use – I can easily browse my iTunes movie collection and stream it easily in 4K HDR. Image quality is amazing, especially if you have a Dolby Vision-compatible TV. It worked great as well when I hooked it up to my home theatre system, and Dolby Atmos certainly delivered.

The only catch is that the Apple TV 4K (2021) is priced at 729 AED for the 32GB version and 819 AED for the 64GB version – a price that’s not really affordable considering you have cheaper options. The Apple TV 4K (2017) still works well if you already own it, and you can simply buy the new Apple TV Remote separately at 249 AED without having to buy the whole unit.

The 2021 Apple TV 4K is a good buy if you’re looking for a good streaming device with support for 4K HDR 60 fps and if you’re already invested in Apple’s ecosystem of products and devices. 

We Like: 

+ Awesome new Apple TV Remote

+ Plethora of apps and games

We Didn’t Like: 

– Expensive when compared to other media boxes

Final Rating: 4.5/5

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.