May 23, 2024
Apple iMac

Apple iMac

Examining Apple’s new iMac is simple on the surface. It has many features with the 2021 iMac, including the same gorgeous 24-inch screen and multicolored body. Actually, the new M3 processor is the only thing that separates the new iMac from the previous one.

Therefore, everything that made the iMac so great back in 2021 is still present here. The screen is gorgeous, the computer is incredibly well-designed, and the M3 is powerful enough for most users. However, it’s more difficult to overlook the problems we found with it, especially given the lower-end model’s specifications.

The good news comes first. With 24GB of RAM and 1TB of storage in the model I tested, the new iMac’s M3 chip gives more than enough power for my everyday tasks. Of course, my needs are modest because I’m a journalist. I use a browser to complete most of my work; I don’t run complex music-creation software or edit 4K movies. However, a tonne of Safari tabs combined with my regular apps—such as Trello, Apple Music, Messages, Photos, Slack, and Bear—never caused it to lag. I edited and exported RAW photographs with more ease, and even more resource-intensive programs like Lightroom or Photomater never froze. The fact that the M3 iMac now supports up to 24GB of RAM instead of just 16GB is especially welcome.

Not surprisingly, benchmarks indicate that the M3 is a slight improvement over the M2. In terms of single-core performance, the M3 and M3 Max, which we evaluated using the recently released 16-inch MacBook Pro, are nearly comparable. Naturally, in terms of multi-core performance, that computer outperforms the iMac. However, the M3 ought to be more than sufficient for the majority of users, considering the iMac’s intended use as a family machine. Those who purchased the M1 iMac two and a half years ago probably won’t have much need to upgrade because Apple Silicon is so performant.

What hasn’t changed

Regarding everything else, this is the same 24-inch iMac that you have seen before. Mine had a gorgeous blue color, with a darker, more metallic hue on the rear and a paler hue on the front. I wish Apple had used these striking hues on more of its products because there are six additional colors that are available, all of which are the same as what Apple previously offered. (Really, the colors of the iPhone 15 this year are awful.) The resolution of the panel is 4.5k, which divides the difference between the previous 21.5- and 27-inch Intel-based models. Generally speaking, I think it’s sufficient, but I do miss the large canvas that comes with a 27-inch iMac.

With 500 nits of brightness, Apple’s TrueTone technology for adapting color temperature to your environment, and compatibility with the Wide P3 color gamut, this panel is still excellent even though you may occasionally wish it was larger. Since it employs a tried-and-true LED panel, it’s not the most cutting-edge display ever, but again, the folks Apple is targeting with this machine won’t care.

At 11.5mm, the iMac maintains its incredibly small profile and weighs less than 10 pounds. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if it was slightly heavier. I can easily inadvertently shift the entire computer when I change the display’s tilt. Cat owners take note: my kitties enjoyed jumping on my desk, rubbing against the iMac, and dragging it all over the place.

But Apple badly squandered the chance to update these accessories so that USB-C could be used for charging. Rather, they employ the same outdated Lightning connector that has been present on iPhones and other gadgets for a number of years. Now that USB-C was here to stay, and Lightning’s days were obviously numbered, it would have been ideal to switch. At least the Lightning cord that comes with the package matches in color.

Base specs are a big downside

Even if some people wish Apple had made a few tweaks to the design and screen, I don’t like the majority of the things the company left alone with the new iMac. It all makes sense. The compromises Apple is making in order to provide the iMac at a starting price of $1,299 are incomprehensible. The meager 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage that come with that configuration was considered generous 2.5 years ago, but it is now totally unacceptable. In 2023, I can’t in good faith advise somebody to spend more than $1,000 on a computer that has only eight gigabytes of RAM.

Though not nearly as severe, there are still some regrettable cuts to the entry model. It only has two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (the more expensive iMac also has two additional USB-C ports), the Magic Keyboard lacks Touch ID, the GPU has eight cores instead of 10 (compared to 10 in the $1,499 model), and it only comes in four colors instead of seven. If you’re buying this computer for yourself or your family, there’s no need to handicap yourself with only 8GB of RAM. The basic iMac may be available primarily as a less expensive variant for education.

Luckily, Apple offers the Mac mini for sale as well. For $999, you can purchase a small desktop computer with an M2 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. If you choose to add a high-quality 4K monitor, your total cost will be less than $1,500. Naturally, you give up the pleasures of an all-in-one, which are not negligible at all. Using the iMac has allowed me to completely clear my desk of cord clutter, which is something I truly like.

Wrap-up

Apple’s desktop computer portfolio is in better health than it has been in years, according to Apple Silicon. For a while, the iMac had to serve as both a more powerful, professional-focused device (remember the iMac Pro?) and a basic all-in-one for people with basic needs. However, the iMac is now meant to cater to a niche market since the Mac mini and Mac Studio are now attractive choices for those seeking more performance. It performs admirably; the screen is excellent, the M3 is strong, and the entire device is surprisingly little. In case you’re looking for the most straightforward Mac experience, the iMac remains the best option. Just be careful to increase the RAM.

 

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