Imac models comparison. IMac 2021 vs iMac 2019: What’s the difference

iMac 2021 vs iMac 2019: What’s the difference?

Apple’s got a totally new iMac, but should you wait to buy the new model?

Ever since Apple announced it was moving away from Intel processors in favor of Mac-designed hardware, we’ve been eagerly watching the rumors of new iMacs. For months we’ve heard whispers of new desktop designs that slim down the all-in-one and offer new colors, and yesterday we learned that the rumors were true.

But how does this new iMac 2021 with M1 processor stack up against the most recently updated 2019 iMacs using Intel processors?

With so many new details to sift through, it can be tough to figure out which you should buy, especially if that means waiting for the new iMacs to arrive in late May. Is one iMac better than the other? Is it worth waiting to buy the new iMac?

We’ve pulled together all of the details to help you decide.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Specs compared

There are plenty of points of comparison between the old and new iMacs, thanks to the thorough re-imagining of the iMac that the new 2021 model gives us. Let’s start with specs.

The Apple iMac 24-inch model is new for 2021, and is first Apple desktop to use the Apple M1 processor, another step in Apple’s transition away from Intel silicon to chips of its own design.

But the differences don’t stop there. The 2021 iMac may have some similarities with iMacs of old, but the new era of iMac is slimmer, sleeker and more colorful, with bigger displays, a revamped sound system, and much, much more.

The older 21.5-inch iMac from 2019, on the other hand, is still being sold, and offers a wider range of configurations and price points.

But while the older design of the iMac was iconic, it hadn’t had a meaningful change since 2012.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Price

If price is your biggest concern, then the older iMac’s base configuration is the Mac desktop to choose, coming in 200 cheaper than the most affordable M1 iMac. But higher configurations climb higher in price, and the cost jumps by hundreds or even thousands of dollars at the top end. Those higher do correspond to better hardware options — including 4 and 6-core processors, significantly more RAM and different GPU options ranging from integrated graphics to a beefy AMD Radeon graphics card — but in its most powerful form, the iMac 2019 is not cheap.

While there will surely be more expensive configurations of the new iMac 2021 with M1, the currently announced pricing is pretty reasonable. Starting at 1,299 and scaling up to just 1,699 for the top configuration with 8-core graphics and 512GB SSD, it’s all pretty affordable.

That said, the new iMac 2021’s lowest price point does come with some compromises: fewer color options, a smaller port selection and less potent 7-core graphics.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Design and colors

The new iMac is much, much slimmer than past models. In fact, the 11.5-millimeter chassis is slimmer than most standalone monitors, and it houses all of the iMac’s components inside. The old iMac hump is gone, too, with a design that looks a heck of a lot more like an iPad on a stand than any other all-in-one computer we’ve seen.

The older 2019 iMac measures 20.8 x 17.7 x 6.9 inches, and while that was a pretty svelte machine when the design was introduced nine years ago, the 12 pound desktop was still pretty chunky by today’s standards.

The new 2021 iMac leverages the M1-powered hardware for a sleeker design that measures 21.5 x 18.1 x 5.8 inches. It’s a little taller and a little wider, but the difference in screen size is huge, and the 11.5-millimeter thick chassis looks fantastic. It’s also shed some bulk, weighing in at just 9.9 pounds.

The new iMac design combines a sleek new approach to hardware with the candy shop color options of iMacs from the late ’90s. The iMac G3 came in 13 colors (including the iconic Bondi Blue), and the new iMac has its own rainbow of options, with seven colors to choose from: green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, silver.

The older iMacs followed the Henry Ford philosophy of color choices — any color you want, so long as it’s silvery aluminum.

The newer iMac 2021 definitely has a lot of callbacks to the previous design, with visual elements like the chin below the screen, a single pedestal base and a stand that offers angle adjustment to tilt the screen back, but no height adjustment at all. So that stack of books you had your old iMac on might still come in handy with this new model.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Display

The design of the iMac 2021 may be slimmer, but the display is actually larger, measuring 24-inches diagonally and surrounded with dramatically thin bezels. The larger display boasts a higher resolution (4480 x 2520), which Apple is calling 4.5K Retina. That’s not only great news for anyone that enjoys streaming 4K videos and working in higher resolutions, it’s also ideal for video editing, since it should let you work with 4K video at full resolution, while still having room for editing tools along the sides and bottom of the screen.

The 21.5-inch display of the iMac 2019, on the other hand, was stuck with 1920-by-1080 resolution on the cheapest model, although the step up model offered a more traditional 4K display with 4096-by-2304 resolution. Even with the higher-resolution screen, the older 4K iMac surrounded the display with thick bezels that have looked pretty dated for the last few years.

The newer iMac 2021 not only has better resolution by default, it also offers brightness up to 500 nits, better color with P3 wide color gamut, and True Tone automatic color adjustment that matches the color temperature to whatever looks best with the ambient light of your surroundings. And it has an anti-reflective coating to keep glare at bay.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Performance

Equipped with the same Apple M1 processor we saw in our Apple Mac mini with M1 and MacBook Pro with M1 reviews, we can safely say that the performance on the new iMac should be excellent.

And Apple pairs the new hardware with its own software, starting with the macOS Big Sur operating system. Built from the ground up to make the most of Apple silicon hardware, you can get it on Intel-based Macs, but you’ll see the best performance on Apple M1. Apple promises that the new iMac 2021 will outpace the older 2019 model with ease, offering snappier wake times and app launches, with 85% faster processor performance and graphics that are twice as quick as older Intel-based models. And from what we’ve seen in testing other M1-equipped Macs, those claims hold up. The new 24-inch iMac with M1 will likely be a huge improvement over the past generation.

imac, models, comparison, 2021, 2019

Another great benefit of Apple silicon is that, thanks to the shared architecture with other Apple products, you can now run iPad and iPhone apps natively on the iMac. And with Apple’s Continuity and iCloud features, you get a pretty seamless experience with your other Apple devices, letting you take calls and messages on the desktop, hand off drafts between the different machines and share a universal clipboard for easy text sharing.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Ports

Apple has updated the port selection on the latest iMac, but it may not be a slam dunk. On the most basic model, the 2021 iMac has two dual Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. While these will support all sorts of uses, including connecting external monitors and storage, it seems pretty limiting to only have two of them.

The two more expensive configurations of the new iMac add an additional pair of USB 3 ports, using USB-C connections. That’s a total of 4 USB-C connections, but two very different connectivity standards.

What’s missing from this collection of ports is anything other than USB-C and Thunderbolt. Unlike the 2019 iMac, the new 24-inch model has no HDMI port and no SD card slot. Nor are there any standard USB ports, so even your basic flash drives will need an adapter to be plugged in.

And it’s a far cry from the rich collection of ports found on past iMacs. The 2019 iMac had four USB-A ports, as well as a pair of Thunderbolt 3/USB-C connections, an SDXC card slot and a headphone jack.

What’s even more frustrating is that these ports can be found on another M1-powered desktop, the 2020 Mac mini — where an HDMI port and USB-A slots came standard. Which means that there’s no hardware limitation to blame for removing these useful and common connectors, just Apple’s proclivity toward new standards and a fondness for pricey adapters (which they conveniently sell).

Other quirky new connections on the 2021 iMac include an Ethernet port that’s built into the power adapter, and a magnetic power cable connection that’s like a MagSafe plug-in for your stationary desktop. I’m not sure how useful that magnetic power connector actually is, but it’s at least something new that should add a little gee-whiz excitement when you’re setting up your new iMac.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Sound

The audio in the new iMac gets a huge upgrade from the previous models, replacing the stereo speakers of past models with a 6-speaker system. The new speaker setup has two pairs of woofers that not only deliver room-filling sound but that also use force cancelling to keep unwanted vibration to a minimum. These are matched with a high-performance tweeter that pairs the solid bass of the woofer with clear highs and mid-range sound.

And the whole thing is mounted along the bottom of the iMac with a downward firing orientation that reflects more sound back up, which Apple uses to create a larger soundstage. That broader, taller spatial audio also supports Dolby Atmos, which should deliver great sound for all of your entertainment and working needs.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Webcam and microphone

The new iMac gets an upgraded webcam that bumps the resolution up from the 720p camera of the older iMac to a 1080p HD FaceTime camera. And it pairs this with built-in image processing that uses more than a half-dozen optimizations to make your camera image quality even better, with better clarity and color. The older 720p camera wasn’t bad, but the better resolution and color of the 2021 iMac will make it the one to choose if you want to look your best in those work video calls.

A three-microphone array will also let you be heard more clearly, with beam-forming technology that captures more of your voice and less of the ambient noise around you.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Connectivity

The older 2019 iMac used the connectivity standards of the day, with 802.11ac wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.2 for connecting various cordless peripherals. While that was a pretty good setup for the time, standards have since evolved.

The new iMac steps things up with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. It’ll still be compatible with older routers and Bluetooth accessories, but if you want a system that offers the latest and best options for wireless connections, the iMac 2021 is the one to get.

Wired connectivity is also a little different on the new iMac. While both the old and new models have an Ethernet jack, the new 2021 iMac shifts the actual Ethernet port off of the desktop and onto the power adapter, putting a LAN port onto the brick, right next to the power cable, and running the wired connection through the braided magnetic power cable.

It’s an interesting choice, and one that manages to be both useful and very in-line with Apple’s idiosyncratic approach to design and external device support.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Accessories

Speaking of external devices, the 2021 iMac gets a cool collection of accessories to choose from. In true Apple fashion, the new peripherals don’t diverge dramatically from what was offered in the past, with a Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse that would look identical to past models were it not for splashes of color that match the many color options of the new iMacs. But there’s more to the new collection of Magic accessories than matching colors.

The new Magic Keyboard comes in three flavors. The basic model has been upgraded with function keys for emojis, spotlight, dictation and do not disturb keys. It also has a lock key. This one is the new standard keyboard that comes included with the most affordable iMac at no extra cost.

But the next model upgrades that lock key to include Touch ID, bringing fingerprint-based security to iMac for the first time. It’s a very cool feature, but it only comes standard with the 8-core versions of the iMac.

Finally, there’s a full-sized version of the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID that also has a numeric keypad and additional arrow and function buttons. You’ll pay a little extra for this model, but it still offers that same functionality and color that matches your iMac.

Colorful new versions of the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad are also coming alongside the new iMac, but are largely unchanged. Unfortunately, that means that the Magic Mouse still has the same confusingly bad charging port on the bottom of the mouse, leaving you unable to use the mouse and power it up at the same time.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2019: Verdict

Unless you’re a sucker for the older iMac design, or maybe need more ports than the new iMac offers (but refuse to buy a separate adapter or dock), there’s almost no reason not to go for the newer Apple iMac 2021 with M1 processor over the older iMacs that are still being sold.

The newly announced 2021 iMac with M1 chip looks better, has more personality and gives you more overall capability than past iMac models, while still keeping you in the warm embrace of Apple’s ecosystem. In fact, thanks to improved cross-compatibility with iPhone and iPad, there’s never been a better desktop for the Apple faithful.

iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020): the differences explained

Thank you for signing up to T3. You will receive a verification email shortly.

There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.

By submitting your information you agree to the Terms Conditions and Privacy Policy and are aged 16 or over.

If you’re looking for a new Apple all-in-one, you might looking at the iMac 24-inch (2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020) and wondering exactly what the differences are – the design change is clear enough, but there are lots of subtle distinctions between them that aren’t so obvious to understand.

In fact, there’s barely a single spec that the iMac 24-inch (2021) and iMac 27-inch (2020) do share, and even when they appear to be the same, there’s some little difference to the execution.

We’ll take you through all the key information about these two desktops, so you can work out whether Apple’s ultra-slim new 24-inch iMac will work for you, or whether the extra flexibility of the 27-inch model is what you need.

iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020): Price release date

The iMac 24-inch will be available to pre-order on April 30th 2021, and is due for release in the second half of May 2021, which is a little vague, but that’s all Apple is saying at the time of writing.

The iMac 24-inch starts from £1,249/1,299/AU1,899, which gets you an Apple M1 chip with 8-core processor and 7-core GPU, and 8GB of RAM, plus 256GB of SSD storage.

If you step up to the more expensive £1,449/1,499/AU2,199 model, you get some more ports (as we’ll cover later in this guide) and an 8-core GPU, but no other spec improvements. There’s not much configuring you can do here – you can opt for 16GB of RAM instead, or up to 2TB of storage, but that’s it.

The current version of the iMac 27-inch was updated in August 2020.

The cheapest version of the iMac 27-inch (2020) comes with a six-core 3.1GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 4GB GPU. That costs £1,799/1,799/AU2,699.

This iMac 27-inch is much more configurable than the iMac 24-inch. You can upgrade to an 8-core or even a 10-core processor, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, and up to a Radeon Pro 5700 XT 16GB GPU. How much it costs depends on exactly what you choose – you could spend a lot here, or just a little extra to customise one element to your liking. You can also upgrade the RAM of the 27-inch model yourself in the future, which is impossible with the iMac 24-inch.

It’s worth noting here that Apple is actually still selling one version of the 21.5-inch Intel iMac that the new 24-inch model is a replacement for. It’s just not well sign-posted (probably intentionally), and is clearly aimed at people who need the solid legacy software support of the Intel processor for the smallest price possible. It starts from £1,099/1,099/AU1,599, but is just dual-core, and has a 1080p screen. We’re gonna gloss right past it for this guide.

iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020): Display

The display size difference is what we’re talking about in the names here – the new iMac has a 23.5-inch screen and the older and larger model has a 27-inch screen. There’s not too much difference in practice between the two, but there’s definitely more space to work from a 27-inch screen, if you need as much canvas as possible for creative palettes or multiple Windows.

The 24-inch iMac offers a better-than-4K resolution: it’s 4480×2520. At 218 pixels per inch, this is really sharp – and you’ll struggle to find many 4K standalone displays at 24 inches, let alone with these extra pixels.

The 27-inch steps up to a 5K display, offering 5120×2880 pixels, which is also 218 pixels per inch. So in terms of detail, they’re at the same level – it’s just about the size.

They’re the same in most other ways, too. The both offer brightness of 500 nits (again, significantly better than most standalone monitors), P3 wide colour gamut support, and Apple’s TrueTone tech, which shifts the colour balance of the monitor to be easier on the eyes depending on the colour tone of your lighting.

The 27-inch model can be configured with nano-texture glass, to reduce reflectivity – this is aimed at creative pros mostly, and costs more.

iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020): Processor software

The iMac 24-inch is the first of its kind to include Apple’s M1 processor, which is based on the same technology as its phone and tablet processors. The 27-inch iMac, however, still uses an Intel processor, of the same kind that Apple has been using since 2006 (with a few improvements along the way).

The M1 chip offers eight processor cores, with four high-performance cores, and four power-saving cores (which can all run at once for octa-core performance).

The iMac offers a six-core Intel processor in its more basic versions, but you can go for eight or even 10 cores. Intel’s processor is HyperThreaded, which means that six cores can actually run as 12 ‘virtual cores’, giving it extra power for really intense tasks.

The M1 chip is, infamously, a total beast when it comes to performance, despite using a fraction of the power compared to Intel options. For example, in the Geekbench 5 cross-platform benchmark, the Mac Mini (M1, 2021) – which will be closest to the iMac in performance, most likely – scores around 1700 in single-core tests, and around 7400 in multi-core tests.

The iMac 27-inch with 3.3GHz six-core Intel Core i5 processor scores around 1200 in single-core tests, and around 6100 in multi-core tests. That’s a big advantage to Apple’s chips – and most tasks people do on their computers in day-to-day life are single-core tasks, so the extra big advantage the M1 has there will be useful in practice.

If you step up to the eight-core Intel chip, you get better multi-core performance than the M1 offers you, but not a single Intel iMac matches the single-core score of the M1. This makes the iMac 24-inch especially suited to general computing use (multi-core tasks tend to be high-level creative tasks or gaming), which is where Apple is largely aiming the new iMac.

However, while the 24-inch iMac might be wonderfully fast, the new processor does come with a potential wrinkle: software.

Both iMacs run the latest version of macOS, but Apple’s new processor requires software to run a little differently, and that can cause potential issues. If apps have been prepared to run natively on M1, then you shouldn’t have any issues. This includes a huge number of the most commonly used apps, including all of Apple’s (naturally).

However, if they haven’t been adapted, they can run using a piece of Apple software called Rosetta 2, which translates them for the new chip. This works incredibly well, and for most people it should make your apps run smoothly on the new computer. However, it can cause some fringe compatibility issues, usually in quite difficult and niche cases, such as with audio plugins.

The number of people this actually affects won’t be so large, but if you’re an existing Mac user who relies on more esoteric software, or simply some thing officially supported on M1 that you absolutely can’t be without, you may be best off with an Intel iMac purely for the sake of avoiding any compatibility issues.

You also can’t currently run Windows on the M1 iMac – at least, not without jumping through several hoops. On the Intel version, you can run it in a virtual machine, or you can dual-boot the iMac. Both are fairly easy to get to grips with.

The M1 iMac actually can run Windows via virtual machine, but only the Windows for ARM Insider Preview, which is not compatible with all Windows app, and isn’t freely available to buy/download anyway.

Long story short: if you also need to run Windows apps, get an Intel iMac.

iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020): Design and connectivity

The iMac 24-inch is just 11.5mm thick all the way across (not including the stand), and is a beautiful piece of industrial design. It comes in seven colours: green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue and silver. The colours are bolder on the back, and softer on the front, to avoid distracting from the screen.

The iMac 27-inch has very thin edges, giving it a sleek look from a gentle angle, but it bulges outwards beyond the screen, to fit in all the electronics required. It comes in silver only.

The cheapest iMac 24-inch comes with just three connection ports: Two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 combination ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the side. The more expensive models include two additional USB-C ports, plus a Gigabit Ethernet port that’s built into the power brick.

That is it for physical connections on the new iMac, to be clear. No USB Type-A (the normal type) at all. No SD card reader. No dedicated video port (any of the USB-C ports can be used as a video port, with the right cable).

This means most people are going to need to buy an adapter of some kind, because very few people have zero accessories that need a classic USB port.

The 27-inch iMac is replete with ports! You’ve got 3.5mm audio, an SD card reader, four regular USB ports, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. So for physical connections, there’s no question that the 27-inch iMac is more practical out of the box.

When it comes to external screen support, the 27-inch iMac has another slight edge. It supports up to two additional screens at 4K resolutions, or one screen at up to 6K. The 24-inch iMac supports only one screen no matter the resolution, but it can drive up to 6K resolution on that screen.

The 24-inch iMac supports the newer Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax) protocol, while the 27-inch supports 802.11ac. Both machines include Bluetooth 5.0.

iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020): Other features

The iMac 24-inch has the superior webcam of the two, but not by a huge distance. Both have a 1080p Full HD webcam, but the M1 processor provides better image processing, helping to keep you clear and bright even in lower light.

Both machines combine that with a studio-quality three-microphone array, designed to pick up your voice clearly, but ignore other noise in the room.

The 24-inch iMac has a big lead when it comes to speakers, though. It features six speakers in total, with three on each side. There are two woofers for mid-range and bass on each side, and they face exactly opposite each other – this is called a ‘force cancelling’ setup, and the idea is that they can produce big sound, but they won’t vibrate the computer or your desk, because they cancel each other’s unwanted vibrations out. Apple uses this tech in its 16-inch MacBook Pro, and it’s very impressive.

Those are combined with a tweeter for high sounds (again, one on each side), which should give a really full sound overall. Apple also says that the iMac supports Spatial Audio and supports Dolby Atmos, which means that it will create a 3D audio environment – surround sound, basically.

The iMac 27-inch contains perfectly decent stereo speakers.

The iMac 24-inch also has an advantage when it comes to the keyboard. No, not the fact that you get your keyboard and mouse colour-matched to your Mac (although we’re not not talking about that).

If you get the more expensive models of 24-inch iMac, you get Touch ID on the keyboard, so you can unlock it with a tap of your finger. Not only that, but it can use your fingerprint for automatic account switching, so you just press your digit down and you see your specific setup in an instant.

iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) vs iMac 27-inch (2020): Conclusion

In our estimation, the 24-inch iMac will be just great for most people looking for a lovely computer for day-to-day use. It’s incredibly fast, its screen is top quality, it comes with some great little improvements in a bunch of areas, and it looks fab. For most people, the potential software quirks of using the M1 processor simply won’t be a problem.

The 27-inch iMac remains a really strong choice, and stands out for offering a lot more specialisation in the specs, the bigger screen, and more ports. It’s simply the more flexible option, though not that many people will actually need what it offers.

iMac vs. iMac Pro

The 2021 iMac and iMac Pro are impressive computers that pack everything you need for video editing, web browsing, and more in a clean package. The iMac Pro was once clearly the more powerful of the two, but with Apple recently refreshing the higher-end iMacs with newer processors and graphics cards, the two iMac models are more competitive than ever.

In this guide, we consider design, performance, and features to help make sense of the differences between the two.

Important note: The iMac Pro has, at this time, been officially discontinued. You can still buy refurbished versions, but MacOS support for them will eventually end, and at those prices, we can’t really recommend this option. However, our guide is still useful if you want to compare your options for an iMac upgrade.


Alongside size differences, there’s also a lot under the hood that sets the iMac and iMac Pro apart. The 21.5-inch variants come with older 8th-generation Intel processors, whereas the 27-inch ones include 10th-generation chips.

The 2021 iMacs upend previous strategies with Apple’s own eight-core M1 processor. This in-house chip has led to better performance metrics and is a strong contender if you are looking for a potential upgrade.

Turning to the iMac Pro, that system comes with options for an Intel Xeon W processor with either eight, 10, 14, or 18 cores. Unlike what you can get on the 4K or 5K iMacs, this is a powerful workstation-class processor. Priced at 4,999, it is something designed for more serious professionals like video editors, designers, and animators.

All entry models of 4K and 5K iMacs start with 8GB RAM, whereas the iMac Pro starts with a whopping 32GB of RAM. The types of storage are also different, with the iMac Pro starting with faster solid-state drive storage. In contrast, the 4K and 5K iMacs start with either a regular hard drive or a Fusion Drive, which combines a traditional spinning hard drive with a small amount of flash storage. 5K iMac models also pack the Fusion Drive, but you can upgrade to an SSD on all models.


All but the most basic 4K iMac come with dedicated graphics cards, which add extra power for video editing and content creation. The 4K iMacs come with Radeon Pro 555X or the 560X, which can be upgraded to the Radeon Pro Vega 20. On the 5K iMacs, graphics include the Radeon Pro 570X, 575X, or 580X. These still aren’t the most powerful options, and only the high-end model of the iMac packs the option for the newer Radeon Pro Vega 48 graphics.

With the iMac Pro, you get options for the Radeon Pro Vega 56, Vega 64, or Vega 64X. These graphics cards are far more capable and are for serious designers and professionals. The price is expensive, too, with Vega 64 coming in at 550 extra and Vega 64X costing an additional 700.

The iMac Pro also features Apple’s T2 co-processor. This is Apple’s custom silicon for Macs, and it enables new levels of security by integrating the controllers found across the image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller.

iMacs are generally well-equipped in terms of connectivity. The newest models feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SDXC card slot, two Thunderbolt 3/USB4 ports, and two USB 3 ports.

However, when comparing features side by side, the iMac Pro wins marginally. It maintains that same variation but also supplies four Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of only two options. This capacity may seem like a minute detail, but the extra port could be monumental for users who balance a ton of peripheral connections, although the iMac Pro will never be compatible with USB4, which is a downside for long-term use.

The iMac is far more practical

To decide between the iMac and iMac Pro, decide how much power you need in a computer, and make sure your choice can provide it.

Both of these computers have been top choices among professionals in graphic design, gaming, and video and music production.

If rendering an 8K video is a necessity for your work or hobby, consider the iMac Pro. Since this computer has 10 cores and impressive graphical power, there’s no other choice for heavy-duty video or design work.

If 8K videos aren’t your purview, then we recommend choosing the iMac instead, either the 27-inch model or the 24-inch M1 version with its updated components. The processing power is consistent, and the overall computer is practical for users. It’s easier to manage and reliable. The computer itself is only available in Mac’s classic Space Gray, but if looks don’t matter to you, then you’ll be impressed with all the device has to offer.

Mac Studio vs iMac: Which Is Right for You?

We all want to treat ourselves to a tech upgrade sometimes, especially during the holidays. With a few new Apple computers being released over the last couple of years, it can be hard to make a decision. Generally, the new Mac Studio is the most expensive, with the iMac and Mac Mini coming in at a lower price.

Since the 27” iMac was discontinued, the Mac Studio essentially fills this gap. And it fills this gap well, especially if you opt for the new and improved M1 Ultra chip. The performance given is unparalleled, but some key differences may influence which computer you go for. Find our full Mac Studio vs iMac comparison below, and see which suits your needs best.

Mac Studio vs iMac: Side-By-Side Comparison

Mac Studio vs iMac: What’s the Difference?


Comparing these two products in terms of their design isn’t the easiest job, since the iMac has a built-in monitor and comes with a keyboard and Magic Mouse. The Mac Studio, on the other hand, is just a desktop computer; all accessories and monitors must be bought separately.

Design-wise, both have the typical sleek and minimalistic look that we’ve come to expect from Apple. It’s easier to make a statement with the iMac, though, since there’s a lovely range of seven vibrant colors to choose from. The Mac Studio is, unfortunately, only available in silver.

  • Compact and sleek design
  • Wi-Fi wireless connectivity
  • 8TB of SSD storage for your apps, games and more
  • M1 Max/M1 Ultra chip for ultrafast performance
  • Up to 32-core Neural Engine for AML

Those familiar with a Mac Mini will see the similarities present with the Mac Studio. Essentially, it looks like a larger and taller Mac Mini – approximately the size of three Minis on top of each other. The Mac Studio is significantly heavier as well, but still fairly easy to fit into your desk setup – it’s only just over two inches taller than a Mac Mini.

Strangely, the Mac Studio almost looks like it hovers above the surface due to its base, designed to improve airflow and cooling. As expected, the Apple logo is found right on the top, so anyone with a collection of Apple products will find the Studio fits in nicely.

Overall, the weight of the iMac isn’t much heavier than the Studio, especially considering it’s an all-in-one desktop solution. There isn’t too much of a difference compared to older iMac models, as we still see the seamlessly slick design we’ve come to know and love.


Why exactly would you opt for a standalone desktop PC over the convenience of an iMac? Well, the answer lies mostly in the performance. At its best, the Mac Studio comes with the powerful new M1 Ultra chip. With its highest-tier specs, you get a 20-core CPU and a 64-core GPU, which is simply miles ahead of the standard M1 chip.

The M1 that comes with the iMac pales in comparison, having only an 8-core CPU and GPU. While this chip is still very capable, the M1 Ultra’s performance is barely on the same scale. Even the standard M1 Max chip can give up to four times the performance of the standard M1, so this gives some idea of the sheer power present in the M1 Ultra.

2023 iMac. Why it’ll Change the Mac FOREVER

Memory-wise, the Mac Studio still takes the lead by a big margin. There are only 16 GB of unified memory possible with the iMac, whereas a huge 128 GB is available with the Mac Studio. There’s also a large difference when it comes to storage – the maximum storage for the Mac Studio is a gigantic 8 TB, four times what is possible with the iMac.

Generally, the iMac is suitable for most uses, but the Mac Studio provides a much better solution for professional creatives. Intensive tasks like video editing and 3D rendering will be much smoother with the Mac Studio. If you’re used to using a Mac Pro, you’ll be impressed with the Mac Studio’s performance and much smaller size.

Essentially, the M1 Ultra chip gives almost double the performance of the most powerful M1 Max chip and is superior to some high-end gaming computers concerning multi-threaded workflows. As expected, a lot of PC games aren’t optimized to run on Macs, so even though gaming performance is excellent, this is a drawback.

Display Options

As previously mentioned, it’s obvious you’ll need to buy a monitor separately to go with the Mac Studio. A good choice for this would be an Apple Studio Display, which is designed for this use, as the name suggests.

Comparing the 27” Studio Display to the display of the iMac, we can see some differences. Firstly, the Studio Display is larger, and the 5K resolution is better than the iMac’s 4.5K. The peak brightness is also higher by 100 nits, but both displays use the same glare-resistant glass. It is possible to upgrade to a nano-texture glass with the Studio Display, but this will set you back a few hundred dollars.

  • Alluring 24-inch Retina display (2.5k)
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage
  • Compatible with Microsoft 365, Adobe, iPhone/iPad apps
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

MacBook Pro vs. iMac: Which one’s right for you?

We break down the pros and cons of the iMac and MacBook Pro.

M1 iMac Vs Intel iMac! (Comparison) (Review)

Credit: Jackson Ruckar / Betsey Goldwasser / Reviewed

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission. were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

If you can’t choose between the iMac 24-inch and the MacBook Pro 13, you’re not alone. Both computers run on Apple’s M1 processor, and both cost around 1,299. The choice boils down to features and form factor. Do you want a large display that’s comfortable to use for hours on end and easy to share with the whole family? Or do you want a laptop you can move around the house, airport, or coffeeshop with no fuss whatsoever?

We will highlight exactly what distinguishes the iMac 24-inch from the MacBook Pro 13 so you can make the call.

Performance and Speed

Both the MacBook Pro 13 and the iMac have identical processors.

Because the MacBook Pro 13 and the iMac share the same M1 processor, their performance is virtually identical. Compared to most laptops running on midrange AMD and Intel processors, Macs have better performance and better battery life than the competition. If you need a Mac for heavy productivity and light 3D applications, such as Adobe Creative Cloud software, you shouldn’t have a problem with either of the Mac desktops.

However, there is a caveat. The base iMac 24-inch has fewer graphics processing cores than the MacBook Pro 13 (seven cores instead of eight cores). In real-world applications, this missing core hardly makes a difference—it averages about three fewer frames per second in World of Warcraft on medium settings, for instance—but it could affect your workflow if you will use your computer a lot for graphics-heavy applications. Conversely, you can always upgrade the MacBook Pro 13 to the MacBook Pro 14 or MacBook Pro 16 if you need more power, as both the 14 and 16-inch models offer the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors.

Our pick: Draw

Portability and Shareability

The iMac is very thin and light for an all-in-one PC, but the MacBook Pro has it beat on portability.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest differences between the iMac and the MacBook Pro arise from their form factor. The iMac is an all-in-one desktop: It must always be connected to a power outlet, but in return, you get a 24-inch display and very loud speakers. If you want a PC you can share with the family, the larger display and tethered location make more sense.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro 13 is a laptop with a 13-inch display. There is nothing preventing you from sharing the MacBook Pro with others, but you may end up misplacing the laptop or taking it out of the house with you when the other person needs it. That’s also the advantage of a laptop: you are not tied to a desk, meaning you can work from your favorite cafe or your bed if need be.

The MacBook Pro 13 is especially good for portability, as it’s thin, lightweight, and has a 13-hour battery life. Even if you need to use Adobe Premiere all day, you will still get a full workday’s worth of use from the laptop before you need to recharge. Right now, it’s one of the laptops with the longest battery life on the market.

Our pick: Draw

Ports and Features

The upgraded iMac has four Thunderbolt ports and an ethernet port.

Even though the iMac and the MacBook Pro are for very different use cases, their feature set is surprisingly similar. The base model for both the iMac and MacBook Pro only comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack. For wireless connectivity, they support Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6. Because they use the same processor, they also share the same screen support. Each computer can run one 6K resolution display at 60Hz and one 4K display at 60Hz simultaneously. From there, things begin to diverge a bit, starting with the ports selection.

However, if you don’t mind spending a bit more money for an upgraded model, the 1,499 iMac adds two Thunderbolt 3 ports and an Ethernet port. You also won’t miss your MacBook’s keyboard or mouse: the iMac ships with the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad. The upgraded Magic Keyboard has TouchID, and the Magic Mouse and Trackpad have swipe features identical to those on the MacBooks’ trackpads. The only feature you won’t find on an iMac is the Touch Bar, which is still a MacBook Pro 13 exclusive.

One feature the iMac does upgrade over the slightly older MacBook Pro 13 is the webcam. The MacBook Pro 13 has the same old 720p webcam as last generation’s MacBook Pro 13. Meanwhile, the iMac has an improved 1080p webcam with better camera AI than ever to bring crisp, vivid video to your calls. Both the iMac and the MacBook Pro 13 have a Retina display, but the iMac’s is brighter and bigger, so it may be the better choice for stationary content creators.

Our pick: Draw


The MacBook Pro 13 has been around for longer than the iMac, so retailers are more willing to sell it at a discount.

Both the iMac 24-inch and MacBook Pro 13 retail for 1,299, but you will have an easier time finding a discount on the MacBook. We’ve seen it go as low as 1,099. We haven’t seen such steep discounts on the iMac yet, but the upside is that the iMac comes with a lot more color options than the MacBook Pro 13 (both the MacBook and the iMac come with the same hardware options).

Our pick: Draw

And the winner is…

The iMac is perfect for sharing with others, while the MacBook Pro 13 is perfect for fitting into one person’s lifestyle.

It’s impossible to declare a winner here. The MacBook Pro 13 and iMac 24-inch are identical in their performance, and they provide all the features you’d want from their intended experience. The MacBook Pro 13 is a perfect travel companion, as it’s thin, light, and its battery lasts virtually forever. Meanwhile, the iMac is an excellent desktop PC, as its larger display, loud speakers, and comfortable mouse and keyboard make it a pleasure to use at home. They both retail for the same price, too.

This choice boils down to whether you want a laptop or a desktop. If you need a PC you can carry with you wherever you go, you prefer smaller screens to work with, or you hate desktops, then the MacBook Pro 13 is perfect for you. On the other hand, if you plan on sharing your PC, want a big screen to play back videos and images, or you like to work from your desk, then the iMac would provide a better experience.

Related content


The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Instagram, TikTok, or Flipboard for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.

were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.