Apple iMac M1 review: The ideal portable desktop
I never knew i really wanted and to me, that alone makes it far more intriguing than the last few generations of imax. It weighs under 10 pounds, so you can pretty easily bring it anywhere in your home and move it around set it up very quickly, it’s also really thin and colorful, so it can fit in just about anywhere even on your kitchen counter – and i think overall, this New imac really proves why all in one desktops still really serve a role, especially for families. You can thank apple’s m1 processor for this radical new redesign that chip allowed the macbook air to basically be a portable powerhouse that didn’t even need a fan so applying that to desktop means you can go a really long way, it’s far more efficient than intel’s competing Chip designs, so you don’t need complex cooling. You kind of don’t need all the compromises you used to have before. So this thing measures just 11.5 millimeters thin on the monitor and computer side and that’s just four millimeters more than the iphone 12, and i think what’s really impressive – is that it’s that thin across the entire computer too it’s a really nice flat wedge honestly, it’s also Thinner than most monitors, i’ve seen so that’s pretty impressive. These new colorful cases also go a long way towards making the imacs just a lot more approachable to kids and less tech, savvy users and really, if you think about it, that was the entire point of the imac line, starting with the 90s, those bubbly colorful and Really cute imacs from the late 90s, the ones that had thick crt monitors, they really did stand out against just a wave of beige and boring ibm pc clones.
Now it seems, like apple, is just trying to get back to that sense of fun. After being pretty bogged down by a very like uh, sleek and minimalist aesthetic uh, you know there’s a lot of gray and black and i like brushed aluminum quite a bit. But i think the colorful iphones show that hey people want to buy colorful devices that really express their personalities and you’re. Seeing that reflected here too, i opted for the orange imac for our review, but apple probably should have just called it. Creamsicle there’s kind of a pinkish hue on the chin right below the monitor, which is a kind of a nice effect, just not quite orange, from what i was expecting. It is more distinctly orange around the back and along the base, and i think overall it’s just a really nice look. I don’t think the imac has had this sort of like pixar esque energy since uh the early 2000s, since the g3, lampshade imac and honestly apple. Could still learn a few things from that design. I really miss being able to vertically position where my screen is, and we have not had that since the poor lampshade imac there’s at least one concession for monitor obsessives this time around, you can order the new imac with a vase amount so that lets you plug It onto you know, monitor arms and mounts, and things like that, and that is really useful. If you just want to clear your desk and you don’t want to stand or anything i do think apple could have just had that functionality in this machine, but i think overall, they just chose to have a very sleek base mount right now, which is going to Look nicer to most people rather than do something that’s a little more flexible for a very small handful of users, but i really do want to see what this imac looks like once you mount it up because it’s so thin.
It must look amazing. So the imac looks cool, but how does it actually perform if you’ve seen our reviews of the m1 equipped macbook air and macbook pro you’ll know that chip is just super powerful, especially compared to what we’re, seeing from intel and amd these days and the imac doesn’t Disappoint either our rv unit, which has the 8 core gpu that’s, the slightly more expensive option and 16 gigabytes of ram reached higher geekbench 5 scores and msi’s gs66 and other gaming laptops we’ve seen this year. It was basically a dream to use for my typical workflow, where i’m juggling dozens of browser tabs across many many windows. Evernote slack spotify photo editing, sometimes a little bit of audio editing but it’s a lot of things all at once, and this machine just had no problem with it but again, i’m, not surprised because the laptops also did pretty well. I think what i really like about apple’s m1 processor is: it just makes everything super responsive in small ways that feel kind of delightful. I love the way it almost instantly wakes up from sleep when you put your finger down on the touch id button, it boots straight into the mac desktop from a cold boot in about 25 seconds, which is far far faster than i’ve, seen on any intel mac. Basically, all the zippiness i saw from the m1 macbooks is here too and that’s pretty great. The imac had no trouble running any games that’s on apple arcade, either including really more demanding titles like the pathless that’s, not super surprising, just because all those games run on the iphone and ipad, but still really nice to see them running well.
On a big 24 inch screen, it’s, probably not the highest graphical fidelity, you know it’s, not gon na replace what you’re seeing on a pc with a dedicated gpu, but for simple gaming i think it’s pretty solid and by the way you will still hear some fan. Noise, if you’re playing games or running really demanding tasks, but at least it’s more, like a gentle word this time, instead of a jet engine like the older imax, used to sound there’s, one fan on the entry level model and two on the more powerful gpu models. While the slim new design and powerful processor are nice, i think the real centerpiece of this imac is the stunning 4.5 k 23 and a half inch retina display. It just looks fantastic. It covers the full dci p3 gamut, which means it can display over a billion colors and take that, together with a surprisingly high 500 nits of brightness, more than many gaming laptops and the imac screen can make just about anything pop it’s. One of those displays that can make high resolution photos look absolutely three dimensional and video looks great too, especially for anything that has a really high color palette, the imac doesn’t technically support hdr, but between its really deep color balance and its high brightness. It almost feels like it does this isn’t visible at first glance, but apple also managed to squeeze in a 1080p webcam into the imac. Finally, the highest resolution camera we’ve ever seen in a mac.
It is so much better than any of the other cameras we’ve seen before it doesn’t quite match the quality of my like logitech stream cam on my pc, but it’s still good it’s, a very nice upgrade and, despite its thin case, the imac has a shockingly capable Sound system with its six speakers and force cancelling woofers, the imac did a really great job of playing back flying lotus’s yasuke soundtrack, which has a diverse array of instruments, and you know it’s very beat heavy as well there’s a lot of low end on this machine, Which i didn’t expect it. I don’t think it’s going to replace a dedicated pair of bookshelf speakers or even like a decent, sound bar, but you know for a really thin machine and for something that’s generally geared more towards mainstream consumers. I think it’s pretty solid. You can have a nice personal jam session on this machine and it’s loud enough to fill a small room without getting distorted or having any issues like that. There’S also dolby atmos support, which simulates surround sound. I played a bit of john wick using that technology and it was kind of surprising i did feel like there were speakers right behind me at times. The sheer depth of the imax multimedia capabilities is one reason why i was just so tempted to bring it all over. My house, i put it on my kitchen counter to help me cook to look up recipes and play some cooking videos.
I brought it up to my wife’s office on the second floor, to do some writing because i really like the natural light up there and it’s better than my dingy basement office. It’S really easy to move around, just because it’s so light and there’s just a single cable that connects everything and that’s the magnetic power cable. It latches on super easily that’s good too, because if a kid somehow ends up tripping on it, it won’t send the whole machine tumbling down. Hopefully – and there are probably many other ways you could use this too – you could probably bring it into your living room to help your kid do their homework or something a lot of kids don’t have their own computers in some families, so it kind of makes sense To have this communal thing that you can easily move around and also it’s good for parents to monitor what’s, going on it’s practically built to be a communal computer. The sort of thing anybody could just hop on really quickly to do a bit of work or even a bit of play, it’s also far easier to swap between users on the imac, thanks to the new touch id equipped magic keyboard. Now you just have to tap your finger to log in once you boot up the computer and authenticate properly and that also lets you quickly switch between users once you authenticate everybody’s fingerprints, so it sounds kind of creepy, but i think in practice it could be a Good way for families to kind of share a machine super easily touch id also works pretty much the way it does on macs on iphones.
You can also use it to authenticate passwords purchases, and things like that, so it does take a lot of the headache away from typing in long passwords, if it’s all stored in your mac when it comes to typing, though the magic keyboard is still very much a Love it or hated device. I am definitely on the negative side. I don’t like its shallow key depth. I don’t like how small it is. It just took me a while to get used to how just cramped that entire key design is, but you know i never really look at apple products, especially their desktops, for good ergonomics, maybe i’m, just a little spoiled with like microsoft and logitech accessories, that’s, especially true For the magic mouse, which is just way too flat and really light, i always feel like i’m tipping it over when i’m dragging it around my hand, can’t comfortably rest on it and compared to logitech’s mx master mouse, which i typically use on my pc. It just feels weird not to have a place to rest. Your palm on. I can already feel carpal tunnel coming in after using this for a while. I had a much better time with the magic trackpad, which is basically an enlarged version of what you find on the macbook pro and air. It is smooth, it is fast and it moves really quickly. Apple has just mastered trackpad design, so it is actually really nice. Having this on a pc, you can order your imac with the trackpad for 50 more or you could get both the mouse and the trackpad for 129, while i probably sound entirely head over heels with this new imac there’s still plenty to criticize for one the port Situation is just super messy.
The 1299 entry level model only comes with two usbc ports to get four you’ll have to step up to the 1499 model, with a more powerful eight core gpu. That pricier model also has an ethernet port embedded in its power, brick, which the cheaper imac lacks. You can also just buy that power, brick separately with the cheaper imac, but then things are getting complicated. I realized apple held off for a while, before removing usb type. A ports from imax, but i still miss them here with only usbc and a couple thunderbolt compatible ports. You still have to use dongles and adapters to plug in older devices, which just is more messy than i’d, like, especially on something that’s. So sleek like this. You probably don’t want to start cluttering your desk with a lot of cables. If you have a nice sleek device and don’t even get me started on losing the sd card, slot it’s just going to be much harder to use the imac as a multimedia device without having that built in once again you’re going to have to turn to dongles And adapters, and that just leads to more desk clutter if you can live with those issues, though the m1 imac is a pretty compelling all in one desktop but of course be prepared to pay a premium for it. If you want 512 gigabytes of storage, you’ll have to jump up to the most expensive 1699 model. If you want 16 gigabytes of ram, you’ll have to slap on another 200 and if you want more storage, that’s an additional 200 for one terabyte drive or 600 for a 2 terabyte model.
Unfortunately there’s just not that much competition on the pc side. We really liked hp’s nv34, all in one that had a really nice set of speakers, but that is also an older machine that’s on aging intel chip, so probably wouldn’t recommend investing that right now. So, if you’re in the market for a desktop – and you don’t want to deal with the mess of a pc tower and monitor the imac, pretty much stands alone it’s faster than ever and can fit into almost anywhere in your home. Consider it the family, pc reinvented, stay tuned, 10gatch.