APPLE IMAC M1 REVIEW: ALL-IN-ONE PC FOR 99% USERS

New design, new processor, and new display all add up to the winning formula for Apple's latest iMac model.

Latest iMac model from Apple.
Latest iMac model from Apple.

The iMac model you're about to see below is unlike any iMac that has come before, and it all comes from the M1 chip.

Of course, there are other differences between this 24-inch iMac and the 2019 21.5-inch model it will replace. For example, the new iMac has a better microphone, better speakers, fewer ports (and repositioned some ports), a bigger and better-looking screen, a keyboard with Touch ID… But the M1 is still the star. of the stage.

This chip not only significantly improves the performance of the iMac, helps the system run iOS and iPadOS applications, is equipped with a more advanced image signal processor (so the built-in webcam produces images). better low-light than ever), which itself is surprisingly efficient, allowing Apple to craft a slim, slim, and unique iMac chassis.

Like every desktop model on the market, the new 24-inch iMac comes in multiple configurations for you to choose from. The base model, priced at $1,299, has a 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, 8GB of RAM, and a 7-core GPU - but it's only available in four colors and doesn't come with TouchID. Another (the one we're talking about here) has a 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM, two USB-3 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, an 8-core GPU, Touch ID, and a gigabit Ethernet port (built-in). in the power supply) - comes with Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. This version has a total value of up to 2,028 USD in the US market.

iMac 24-inch
iMac 24-inch

In short, this is an expensive desktop model. And you're absolutely right when you say you can save a few hundred dollars while getting the same performance if you buy a Mac Mini and then use a third-party discrete display. But this iMac has nearly everything most users would need in a single block: processing power, camera, speakers, microphone, keyboard, mouse, trackpad, and display. All are good products. This is a computer that you can put on your desk and never have to think about it again. And for some of the target audience the iMac is targeting, that alone is well worth the money. What you're paying for is simplicity.

The processor M1 uses takes advantage of something called a "hybrid" configuration. The easiest way to picture it is that while most chips from Intel and AMD have a similar number of powerful cores, the M1 has four very fast cores and four less power-efficient, fast cores. This allows M1 devices to deliver the world's highest efficiency/watt ratings. It also means they're nearly unbeatable in single-core tasks.

This advantage is evident in the benchmarks. The iMac tested scored higher in the single-core benchmark in Geekbench 5 than any Mac has ever had - including the iMac Pro. Which means if you're looking for a device for simple everyday tasks that don't require all the CPU cores available (and that seems to be the user group Apple is targeting with the 24-inch iMac), there's no better iMac to buy!

Apple iMac 24-inch
Apple iMac 24-inch

The benchmark results above show the 24-inch iMac's place in Apple's all-in-one lineup, and its limitations. Obviously, the 24-inch model is a significant improvement over the 21.5-inch iMac model in both single-core and multi-core tasks. And in graphics tasks, it also comfortably competes directly - quite impressive considering the 21.5-inch iMac has a discrete GPU, while the 24-inch iMac relies solely on the integrated graphics chip with the M1.

On the other hand, the aforementioned results (except for single-core performance) are nowhere near the 27-inch iMac model using Intel chips with discrete graphics. In this comparison, the multiplier results are of greater importance. They show that the 27-inch iMac will outperform many of the kinds of tasks owners of this model want to do: intense multitasking, computing, design, video processing, and other complex tasks that require it. ask GPU.

In addition, there are other limitations that prevent the 24-inch iMac from taking on heavy workloads. Like the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, you can't buy an iMac with more than 16GB of RAM and more than 2TB of internal storage - obviously, this level of configuration is not "enough" for anyone who often edits 4K or 8K video . The RAM and internal memory are soldered to death, so you can't upgrade them once you've brought it home. It also only supports one external monitor (up to 6K resolution at 60Hz); the number of connection ports is extremely meager; The lowest configuration version only has two Thunderbolt / USB-4 ports and a headphone jack, while the more expensive versions have two more USB-3 ports and Gigabit Ethernet. All of which may be why Apple is targeting this new iMac as a home PC, even though its processor is more than capable of handling other professional tasks.

4 USB-C ports behind the monitor
4 USB-C ports behind the monitor

Power supply with built-in Ethernet port
Power supply with built-in Ethernet port

It is not surprising that the performance of the 24-inch iMac is generally not that different from the MacBook Pro M1 and Mac Mini M1, because these devices both use the same processor. So, if you want to know what the iMac can do, check out what the MacBook Pro M1 can do!

In fact, the 24-inch iMac is capable of handling all kinds of everyday tasks, from reading emails to watching YouTube, light editing of photos and videos, or even opening more than 25 Chrome tabs during the Cinebench benchmark application. running in the background, without any stuttering or lag. If you're planning to buy an iMac for these tasks, you won't find too many spinning wheels frustrating.

One issue that many people are concerned about with the iMac using the M1 chip is the coolness of operation. On thinner laptop models, you will see performance degradation if you continuously run heavy tasks. On the new iMac, that doesn't exist - you need to do a lot of things to get the fans to spin, and when they do, everything is surprisingly smooth. Truly a worthwhile improvement over previous Intel Macs.

After all, the M1's advantage has never been pure power; It is a combination of power and efficiency. Chips are generally limited by two things: the power provided and the cooling capacity of the system. They convert nearly all of the energy used into heat, and because the M1 has an extremely high efficiency/watt rating, Apple doesn't need a massive cooling system to prevent the chip from toasting itself. Because it didn't need a massive cooling system, Apple was finally able to completely redesign the iMac.

In terms of looks, the iMac looks like a supermodel. Despite having a 24-inch screen, it's roughly the same size as the previous 21.5-inch model. Apple has reduced the screen border by about 50% to get a larger screen in the most compact frame possible. The device is also just 11.5mm thick - very thin compared to most other all-in-ones. When placed next to the 27-inch iMac model, it looks like a tablet on a stand!

Only 11,5mm thick
Only 11,5mm thick

Size isn't the only thing that impresses; The new iMac also comes in seven different colors: blue, green, pink, orange, purple, yellow, and obviously the silver we're all too familiar with. This color change is an interesting highlight, creating excitement for certain groups of users.

Of course, the traditional lines of the iMac are still there. The screen border is still thick compared to modern screen models. You can't raise or lower the monitor's height - the built-in stand only allows you to change the tilt. And the thick chin hasn't disappeared either, although the apple logo is no longer there.

The rest of the iMac has been upgraded in one way or another. This year's screen has been upgraded to a 4.5K Retina resolution (4480 x 2520) compared to 4096 x 2304 of the previous generation (constant pixel density). It is equipped with Apple's True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts color and intensity based on its surroundings.

But the screen is also a hint why this iMac model doesn't have "Pro" in the name. 24-inch is not that big; Most of today's best external monitor models are 27-inch or larger. The edges of the screen also seem to have a dark effect, causing some problems when you look at the screen from the front - this is a problem that has happened with Apple's Pro Display XDR monitors. Of course, both are not shortcomings if viewed from the eyes of the average user. The screen is really great, sharp and spacious enough for you to see a bunch of Chrome tabs and apps.

And yet, Apple has also upgraded the camera, microphone, and speakers of the 24-inch iMac. The company claims that this is the best camera, microphone, and speaker system ever fitted to a Mac. Indeed, the 6-speaker sound system delivers sound quality as good as expensive external speakers, with house-wide reverberation, thumping, and powerful bass, giving you a sense of immersion in concerts. lively song. It also supports 3D audio when playing videos with Dolby Atmos.

Apple has also upgraded the 24-inch iMac's camera, microphone, and speakers
Apple has also upgraded the 24-inch iMac's camera, microphone, and speakers

There's not much to say about the 3-microphone array (because it's really good), but the 24-inch iMac's webcam is a very pleasant surprise. It has a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which is higher resolution than the 720p camera on the 21.5-inch iMac (as well as on the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and many other all-in-ones). The M1 chip also contributes to the improvement of this camera: its built-in image signal processor and neural engine optimize the quality of images obtained in low-light conditions. As a result, everything will be clearer and clearer, although sometimes it seems overprocessed in dark areas - much better than what you get from most webcams today. And the difference between this webcam and the mess on the MacBook Pro is as clear as day and night!

The iMac is a powerhouse used by everyone, from college students to accountants, to podcasters, to your grandparents. And the 24-inch iMac is undeniably the most compelling iMac that Apple has created in years. So who is the 24-inch iMac not suitable for?

First, it's not for people who don't like adapters and docks. If you own a USB-C to USB-A adapter, get ready to use it very often with your new iMac.

Second, it's not for people who already own a 27-inch iMac, because the size and quality of the screen, the number of ports, the upgradeability, and the pure power of the 24-inch iMac are all on the bottom. . Obviously, it's not for those who are serious about system performance needs.

Third, it's not for those looking for a device with power that's worth the money. Most people won't need the configuration and accessories that come with the 24-inch iMac, but first of all, the $1,299 price tag for the lowest configuration is sure to make many people shake their heads. The lowest-spec Mac Mini is up to $600 cheaper; Plug in a monitor and speakers (you can find these for under $600 - that's great!), and you'll have the best of the M1 chip at a much lower price point.

And that is the biggest reason why this iMac model, despite its formidable power, mainly serves the household market. Because it requires you to spend more money to save more effort. You're paying an extra $600 so you don't have to tinker and choose a monitor, speakers, webcam, dock, keyboard, and mouse that fits your needs. You are paying extra to not have to think about how to arrange dozens of things on the table. You are paying for a device where everything, out of the box, works perfectly. You're paying to get rid of the hassle!

Tech connoisseurs (especially those who like to take their machine apart and perform hardware upgrades on their own) may find it a waste. And for them, it really is. But they are not the target group of iMacs, even if the machine's configuration meets the needs.

iMac
 iMac

Can Apple do more with this iMac model? Of course. Consumers should expect to see a 30-inch iMac 6K model with a super-powerful 12-core workstation chip. You'll see it in the future - and in the meantime, the 24-inch iMac is an interesting product. It has no groundbreaking design; it also does not rediscover the directory. But using it enjoyed. Improvements over the 21.5-inch iMac make the 24-inch iMac simple, attractive, and fully functional to meet the needs of users across all sectors. This is an iMac model that most people should buy.

Scoring the 24-inch iMac (M1, 2021): 8.5/10

Advantages:

  • Excellent processor
  • Variety of colors, super model design
  • Top notch webcam

Defect

  • Few ports
  • Not cheap
  • Configuration cannot be upgraded after purchase



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