Apple TV 4K (2022) review: Still the best streaming box by far

After Apple ultimately gave us a decent Siri Remote last year, I couldn’t imagine the Apple TV 4K getting much better. It’s not like anyone’s crying out for an 8K upgrade – all we need these days is fast 4K streaming support, plus the multitude of HDR (high definition range) formats available . The new Apple TV 4K can easily meet these demands, but what’s really impressive is that it’s much faster than before. and it’s much cheaper at $129 (was $179)! Finally, there is an Apple TV that I can recommend to everyone without hesitation.

Gallery: Apple TV 4K (2022) | 6 Pictures


Gallery: Apple TV 4K (2022) | 6 Pictures

Let’s start with the new: This year’s Apple TV 4K is powered by an A15 Bionic chip, which launched with the iPhone 13 (and is still used in the iPhone 14). It’s a huge leap forward over the previous model’s 2018-era A12. The new box also comes with 64GB of storage, instead of a paltry 32GB. If you’re planning on loading a ton of games and apps, there’s also a 128GB model for $149, which adds a Ethernet port and Internet of Things Thread protocol support. Finally, Apple has integrated HDR10+ support, which works similar to Dolby Vision to deliver more accurate HDR in every scene.

Advantages

  • A15 Rapid Bionic Chip
  • Excellent Siri Remote
  • Large app library
  • tvOS excels at multitasking
  • Much cheaper than before

The inconvenients

  • Ethernet only on $149 model

At first glance, the Apple TV 4K looks like previous models: a smooth black box with obscenely rounded corners. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll notice it’s actually smaller, like an accessory rendering of its predecessor. Apple claims it has 20% less volume than before, due to the loss of the fan from previous models (this one runs quietly) and being powered by more efficient hardware. Apple wouldn’t say exactly what led to the dramatic price drop. But I’d wager that’s due to simpler manufacturing, as well as lower component prices across the board.

If you want to hear me get poetic about Apple’s Siri Remote, just check out my review of the latest Apple TV. I’m still in love with it a year later: it’s easy to hold, has all the basic functions you’d want, and it’s much harder to lose than the previous ultra-thin remote. I still don’t understand why we were forced to use a glass-backed remote with a crummy touchpad on the original Apple TV 4K. Long live the new model and its tactile and directional touchpad.

Apple TV 4K (2022)

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Sure, the hardware is great, but how is the software? Setting up the Apple TV 4K is now surprisingly easy, assuming you’re already beholden to Apple’s ecosystem. After plugging it in, I only had to tap my iPhone on the box to send my WiFi and iCloud credentials. I chose to sync my home screens, which brought up all the apps on my current Apple TV. At this point, all I had to do was tune into my regular streaming haunts, and I was good to go.

After using every Apple TV the company has released over the past decade, I had an immediate thought when I started using this new model: Damn, this thing is fast. That’s not to say the latest version was slow, far from it. But there’s a liveliness to this year’s box that just feels liberating. I can easily flip through all the apps on my home screen, launch Netflix seconds faster than before, and browse my movie library without breaking a sweat. No more slight delays in loading or reels.

I may just know the rush for a brand new device, a device stripped down by a year of use. But using the new Apple TV 4K feels like the difference between using an iPhone X and iPhone 14 – it just happens faster, with a greater sense of urgency. I found this very useful when switching between apps and different videos. While I was catching up Cabinet of curiosities by Guillermo del Toro on Netflix, I could quickly jump to check out my YouTube channels while my wife needed a bathroom break, then get the goosebumps back when she got back. Again, this is something I did frequently with the previous box, but now the Apple TV seems completely untethered.

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