Apple’s new M1 chips have made headlines in all of their new products due to their excellent performance and battery life. We’ve seen the M1 in devices like the MacBook Pro and even the iPad Pro, which now crushes all other “mobile” devices in benchmarks. So when Apple launched this chip in the iMac, it made Apple’s mainstream desktop immediately interesting. And after using the iMac M1 for a few months, I can easily say it’s one of my favorite computers I’ve ever used.
Apple M1 SoC, 7-core GPU or Apple M1, 8-core GPU
8 GB or 16 GB RAM
Storage 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
24-inch 4.5K Retina display
1080p FaceTime HD webcam with M1 ISP
Ports 2 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4 (40 Gb / s) ports, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gb / s) ports (only with 8-core GPU model)
Connectivity WiFi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
Measures 25.5 x 18.1 x 5.8 inches
Miscellaneous Wireless keyboard and mouse provided, optional gigabit ethernet,
Price Starting at $ 1,299, $ 2,100 model reviewed
Design The iMac is fantastic in almost every way.
Display The 4.5K screen is bright and watching movies on it is a pleasure.
Performance The M1 chip is super fast and efficient.
THE NOT SO GOOD
Weight The iMac weighs so little that it is easily moved around when unplugging USB devices.
Ports There should be more than 4 USB-C ports on the iMac.
Keyboard The keyboard is worse than other Apple branded Magic Keyboard.
Design, material, contents of the box
The iMac M1 has a very unconventional design for an all-in-one. The screen assembly is super thin, only 11.5mm thick. The front is entirely glass and mainly screen, with white bezels and a chin that houses the motherboard. The top has the 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which produces fantastic video quality, a long overdue step for Apple. The back has the connector for the non-removable media, the power port and 2 or 4 USB Type-C ports depending on your version.
The iMac is available in seven colors: blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange, and purple. Each iMac also includes color-matched accessories. This means that your blue iMac will have a sleek blue magic keyboard and a magic mouse / trackpad. It should be noted that these are not yet available separately, so if you want a color-matched accessory, you must get it at the time of ordering. All the colors are beautiful, but I still prefer the old solid silver.
Apple has a few versions of the iMac M1. The base model iMac comes with 2 Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, an M1 with 7 GPU cores, and only has a fan and heat sink. The 8 GPU core models have 2 fans and a heat pipe with 2 Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports and 2 USB 3 ports. This, in theory, means that you will get better CPU and GPU performance on the 8-core model, because the headroom thermal on the M1 chip is larger.
The display on the iMac is fantastic. This is a 24 inch 4.5K LCD display with a resolution of 4480 by 2520 pixels. It gets bright with a max rating of 500 nits, but it’s still hard to see it in direct sunlight. Fortunately, this is a desktop computer. Do not install it in direct sunlight. The screen has a wide 10-bit color gamut, which means it can display up to 1 billion colors. This 10-bit panel also allows support for HDR10 + and Dolby Vision. Apple chose to include True Tone, which matches the screen’s white balance to the lighting environment around you.
In the box, Apple includes the iMac, magnetic charger, mouse, keyboard, and the usual manuals. There is nothing surprising here. I’ll nitpick here… but all iMac models come with Apple stickers that match each color of the iMac. So, for example, the blue iMac will come with a dark blue and light blue sticker. Unfortunately, the silver only comes with a single silver Apple sticker instead of a silver and white as you would expect. I want my second sticker, Apple.
Keyboard and Touchpad Unlike most all-in-ones, the iMac offers different options for the keyboard and mouse, depending on the version you purchase. The base iMac model only ships with a standard magic keyboard, but you can customize it to include a magic keyboard with TouchID or a magic keyboard with numeric keypad and TouchID. However, this keyboard looks cheap. The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard for the MacBook Pro both seem more sturdy than the portable keyboard that comes with the iMac.
Touch ID on the Magic Keyboard 2 is probably one of my favorite features. It makes logging in to the computer easy and even lets you use your fingerprint to complete Apple Pay transactions or verify your autofill data. It’s so much easier than typing in a password and it saves me a lot of time. The keyboard also makes it easy to lock the computer – just press the Touch ID button and you can go without leaving your data exposed. As for the mouse, each iMac model comes with a Magic Mouse 2, which is color matched to the computer chassis. You can customize the iMac with a Magic Trackpad 2 for an additional $ 50 or purchase it separately for $ 120. It sounds expensive for an input device, but today’s macOS was designed for use with trackpads. All the gestures that make macOS fast and accessible with the trackpad. I only used a trackpad with my iMac because it no longer seems correct to use the Magic Mouse. It’s just an unnatural way to control macOS. That extra $ 50 or $ 120 is well worth it if you want to enjoy the experience of using the iMac.
The mouse and keyboard both charge with the Apple Lightning port. The trackpad battery lasts about 2 weeks for me and the mouse is about the same. The keyboard lasts even longer, handling about 3 or 4 weeks. The mouse charging port is one of the worst designs I’ve ever seen, along with the port on the bottom of the mouse. This means that you cannot use the mouse while it is charging. Fortunately, both the trackpad and keyboard will work while charging because the charging port is on the back instead of on the bottom. Software and performance
macOS Big Sur is, well, macOS. It has that nice, colorful user interface that Apple has refined over the years, and I really like it. It’s a bit cleaner and sleeker than Windows. I can’t think of any huge issues or annoyances with macOS, something I can’t say about Windows. From Apple Pay to Siri, macOS on the iMac supports all of Apple’s usual services, and everything works fine. If you have an Apple Watch, your computer will automatically unlock if you wear it, no password is needed. Siri supports “Hey Siri” so you can yell at your computer from across the room. There is also full support for iMessage and FaceTime and if your phone rings while it’s connected to the same wireless network, your computer will as well. Integration with other Apple software and hardware is simply unprecedented in personal computing. However, it can be difficult to switch from Windows to macOS if you’re not used to it.
Now let’s move on to the very important M1 ARM chip. In my 16GB RAM version, I didn’t notice any slowdown or stuttering. It can run everything I need from Chrome to Minecraft, Microsoft Office, and Adobe apps. Most of these apps are compiled for ARM, which increases performance by 20%, give or take. Applications that are still compiled for x86 will run through Rosetta, which translates the application to ARM, and most applications work fine even when converted. The only time the M1 chip was put to the test was when I loaded an Excel file of processing equations on about 500,000 cells. Even then, it only took about 300 seconds to process compared to my gaming PC’s 120 seconds with a Ryzen 5800X. It seems like a pretty big difference, but something like it would have brought most other all-in-ones to their knees. The most impressive part is that the entire iMac uses 135W of power, while only the processor in my gaming rig uses 105W. Apple limits the RAM to a maximum of 16GB, which is shame. I would have liked to see 32 GB or even 64 GB of RAM. It’s said to happen with the launch of the new 14in and 16in MacBook Pros later this year, but we can’t be sure.
Should we buy it? Yes, it is a fantastic computer. I’ve never been a fan of all-in-one machines, but this iMac has converted me. I’m shocked that Apple was able to squeeze so much cutting edge technology into this slim and beautiful chassis. I’m a huge fan of almost every aspect of it: performance, display, and design. It’s safe to say this is one of my favorite machines right now.
Summary of the news:
- Apple iMac M1 review: a computer for everyone
- Check out all the news and articles for the latest gaming news and updates.
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