Apple TV review: the super-shiny new media streamer is here

by Ahmed Kaludi November 25, 2015 at 12:53 am

Review Rating

Overall 10 8
  • Performance 8


  • Really slick interface
  • Siri can be excellent
  • App Store is growing well


  • …but some key apps are missing
  • Text entry is really bad
  • No 4K

The Apple TV is so Apple. The app-enabled set-top box from Cupertino is tiny and beautiful, fast and slick, a big step towards the future… and sometimes annoying and occasionally limiting. What else did we expect?

xl_Apple TV remote-650-80

While the previous Apple TV models (which are still available much cheaper) were just streaming units, limited to whatever ‘apps’ they came with and whatever you streamed over AirPlay, the new Apple TV is smarter.

It’s basically an iPad mini 4 without a screen or battery – its core is an A8 processor, meaning that it’s capable of running complex apps, and it comes with an App Store anyone can develop and submit apps for. It runs tvOS, which is pretty much iOS redesigned and reworked for the big screen, and with a few features specific for making it easier to find things to watch. Like iOS, you grab apps from the App Store and put them into a Home screen grid, and you can make your most-used ones more prominent – if you’ve used an iPhone or iPad, it’s all pretty intuitive.

xl_Show app select screen-650-80

The one area that Apple has badly got wrong, though, is the keyboard. When you need to type (such as a search term or password), the keyboard appears in a long line of the alphabet, which you have to scroll all the way through for every. Single. Letter. It’s maddening, and it makes you want to select the option to turn off the need to enter a password when you buy something (when you set up the Apple TV, you can place an iPhone near it to share your Apple ID details, but you still need to enter passwords in many places) – but if this is going in a family home, you probably won’t want to do that…


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