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iMac (24-inch, 2021) review

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Apple has successfully reinvented one of its most beloved products with the release the iMac (24 inch, 2021). This model not only improves upon its predecessor but also looks stunning. The 2021 model, which is modern and slimmer than the previous iMac, has replaced the outdated look.

The screen size was also changed as part of the design overhaul. The original 21.5-inch screen has been replaced by the 24-inch model. However, the 27 inch iMac remains available. The screen is larger than its predecessor but the dimensions of the iMac (24 inch, 2021), are not significantly different. They measure 54.7 x 46.1 cm with a depth 14.7cm, while the previous 21.5-inch model measured 52.8 x 45cm and had a depth 17.5cm. Amazingly, the screen of this iMac measures only 11.5mm thick.

This model offers more screen space without taking up too much desk space. It is also lighter and slimmer than its predecessor, weighing in at 4.48kg. This makes it a more portable and versatile all-in-one computer.

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Apple also released the iMac 24-inch (2021) in seven vibrant colors. This is a return to the days when the iMac G3 was first introduced. It shows a confidence and playfulness that Apple is very much welcome. The Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad are all available in the same colors as the iMac. Additionally, elements of the macOS Big Sur user-interface are also available in the same colors. It creates a beautiful overall effect.

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The iMac is almost as small and light as its predecessor. This is due in large part to the Apple M1 Chip rather than Intel hardware. We’ve seen this with the MacBook Air (M1,2020), MacBook Pro 13″ (M1,2020) and Mac mini(M1,2020). This move to Apple’s silicon has been a huge success. The iMac 24-inch is the only iMac that still uses M1-class hardware after the iMac 27, which was a no-show at the Apple March event.

It appears that the iMac 27 inch is being discontinued. This means that this will be the last iMac anyone will buy for a while. Therefore, it is even more crucial that the iMac 24 inch delivers the goods. The iMac 24-inch delivers, and it’s a blessing for all involved, except 27-inch iMac enthusiasts.

The macOS Big Sur operating systems is quick and responsive – something you will also notice with macOS Monterey, if you decide to take advantage the free upgrade. Apps designed for the M1 hardware work flawlessly. Rosetta 2 allows you to run older Intel-based apps. You can also run iOS games and apps, which gives you access to thousands more titles.

The iMac’s stunning 4.5K Retina display, amazing speakers, and a great webcam make it a pleasure to work and create on. Although this isn’t the fastest PC, it’s not the least powerful. The memory is limited to 16GB so this might not be the right choice for you if you are looking for a powerful workstation computer.

The iMac (24 inch, 2021) is a great choice. It starts at $1,299 / PS1,249 / AU$1,899 and offers all the improvements of its predecessor.

  • Apple iMac 24-inch M1 2021 (24 inch 256GB) on Amazon for US$1,249.99

Apple also released the iMac 24-inch (2021) in seven vibrant colors. This harkens back the days of the iMac G3 but shows a confidence, playfulness, and trustworthiness that Apple is very much welcome to. The Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad are all available in the same colors as the iMac. Additionally, elements of the macOS Big Sur user-interface are also available in the same color. It creates a beautiful overall effect.

The iMac is almost as small and light as its predecessor. This is due in large part to theApple M1_ chip rather than Intel hardware. We’ve seen this with the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13″ (M1, 2020) and Mac mini(M1, 2020), so Apple’s move to its own silicone has been largely successful. The macOS Big Sur operating platform is quick and responsive, and apps that are designed for the M1-based hardware work flawlessly. Rosetta 2 allows you to run older Intel-based apps. You can also run iOS games and apps, which gives you access to thousands more titles.

The new iMac’s stunning 4.5K Retina display, amazing speakers, and a superb webcam make it easy to create and work on. Although this isn’t the fastest PC, it’s not the least powerful. The memory is limited to 16GB so this might not be the right choice for you if you are looking for a powerful workstation computer.

The iMac is a great choice for anyone looking to upgrade their computer.

Prices and availability

Spec Sheet

This is TechRadar’s review of the iMac (24″ x 2021).

CPU: Apple M1 (8 core)

Graphics Integrated Eight-core GPU

RAM: 16GB Unified RAM LPDDR4

Screen 24in, 4.5K 4,480×2,520 Retina LCD (IPS, 500 nits brightness and wide color P3 gamut, wide color range)

Storage: Flash Drive 512GB

Ports: 2x Thunderbolt USB 4 (USB-C), 2x USB 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack

Connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.

Camera: FaceTime HD webcam

Weight: 9.88 pounds (4.48kg)

Size18.1×21.5×5.8 inches (46.1×54.7×14.7cm; WxDxH)

The iMac (24 inch, 2021) was made available for pre-order shortly after its announcement. Customers received their machines on May 21.

The good news? The eye-catching redesign, as well as the switch to the Apple M1 chips, doesn’t mean a price hike. The Apple iMac (24 inch, 2021) is still $1,299 / PlayStation1,249 / AU$1,899 base model. This gives you a 7 core M1 with a 256GB storage SSD and 8GB RAM. The Apple M1 8-core model is also available at $1,499/PS1,449/AU$2,199. This configuration will give you more color options, USB-C ports, as well as the full 8 core version. It does not include the SSD or RAM.

You can upgrade your iMac’s specs, just like with the previous models.

The iMac’s fully-specced option comes with 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD storage and is available for $2,499 / PS2,449 / AU$3,699.

The iMac includes a new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse. You can swap the mouse for the Magic Trackpad at an additional $50 / PS50 / AU$70. If you want the Magic Mouse and Magic Touchpad together, the cost will be $129 / Ps129 / AU$179.

Despite the upgrades, the base price of this iMac remains competitive. It is also significantly cheaper than the iMac Pro (which started at $4,999, AU$7.299).

The iMac (24 inch, 2021) will offer similar performance to the MacBook Pro 13-inch M1, 2020. However, it won’t be able compete with the iMac Pro’s power. The 16GB RAM limit on the M1 chip is again evident. This PC may not be the right one for you if you need more memory.

It is also worth noting the 24-inch model, which has an 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU and comes in fewer colors (4), has two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports (missing two USB3 ports), and has no Gigabyte Ethernet.

Design

We lamented in our reviews of the latest iMacs that Apple had stuck to a design that was largely unchanged from 2009 (which was only a minor change from the 2007 iMac). The iMac’s form factor was becoming outdated, even though other all-in-one computer makers, such as Lenovo and Microsoft, were making exciting improvements. The iMac’s iconic design was more of a curse rather than a blessing.

We are very happy to see that Apple has made some major changes to the design and appearance of the iMac. They have given it a bold, modern look while keeping the classic Apple look.

The most noticeable change that you will have seen in all the promotional materials and photos is the overall appearance of the iMac. You can choose from seven different colors to match your personal style. The Apple iMac colors include green, yellow orange, purple, blue, and silver. However, the entry-level model can only be purchased in green, pink and blue. This was the standard iMac color choice in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Apple used the same gray color scheme to launch every new computer.

The iMac, 24-inch, 2021 has not been repainted. The iMac has a rectangular design, which is reminiscent of the new iPhones. It’s also thinner and lighter than ever thanks to the Apple M1 chip. Apple has been able to dramatically shrink the Logic Board. This has resulted in a slashed volume of the iMac, which is now just 11.5mm thick. This is all while the display has increased to 24 inches from the previous 21.5 inches. The iMac’s total footprint has been reduced by 30% to 18.1 x 21.5 x 6.8 inches (46.1 x 54.7 x 14.7cm).

It is also lighter at 4.48kg (9.88 lbs) compared with the previous 21.5 inch iMac’s 5.68kg (12.52 lbs). The biggest design change that you’ll notice when the iMac is taken out of its box is how lightweight it is. This is a stunning combination, combined with the smaller footprint and depth, the 2021 iMac is easy to transport and install anywhere you want it.

All-in-one computers are smaller and more portable than traditional PCs. There’s no need for cables to connect to a monitor. The new iMac includes a wireless keyboard and mouse. In some configurations, the Magic Touchpad is also included. To get started, you just need one cable – the power supply.

Apple made some very clever changes to this part of the new iMac, demonstrating the level of care its designers paid to the details. In a welcome return to Apple’s MagSafe technology, the power adapter has been redesigned so that it connects to the iMac using magnets. It is now much easier to insert the cable than it was on older iMacs.

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(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

The power adapter on higher-end models also features a Gigabit Ethernet connection, so that you can simply plug in your wired network cable. A 2-meter woven cable is also included in the power adapter, which matches the color of your iMac. This is a great way to plug in your iMac and turn it on.

The power cable, Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Touchpad all have color-coordinated keyboards and touchpads. When you open macOS Big Sur (the most recent version of Mac OS), you will notice that certain elements, such as desktop backgrounds, are the same color as your iMac.

Although these are small details, they help give the 2021 iMac a uniform look and feel. It also makes it more personal, since you chose the colors. This made the iMac feel more like a fun device than any other model.

The Trackpad and Magic Mouse have not seen major changes, other than the new colors. This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you’ve used them previously. The Magic Mouse has never been a favorite of ours. We prefer a mouse that has separate buttons and scroll wheels – which you can, of course, do. (See our best mouse guide to get ideas).

Apple will continue to stick with its bizarre decision to place the charging port for mouse on the bottom of the device. This means that the mouse can’t be used while it is charging, which can prove frustrating. It’s also a bit odd that Apple continues to make this design oversight after the iMac’s redesign.

The Magic Keyboard has undergone some major changes. The new buttons include emoji and Spotlight as well as Dictation and Do Not Disturb (accessed via Fn and F keys at top). Touch ID is now available on higher-end iMac models. It works the same way as Touch ID on an iPhone or MacBook. After setting it up, you simply place your finger on the Touch ID button to instantly log in to the iMac. You can use this button to switch between user accounts and securely pay online with Apple Pay.

Apple assures us that wireless keyboards transmit fingerprints safely and securely. We tested the 2021 iMac and it performed well. It quickly identified our fingerprints and logged us in without any delay.

The new design of the iMac (24 inch, 2021) has also brought changes to the number of ports at the back. The base model comes with two Thunderbolt/USB4 Type-C ports that offer 40Gb/s data transfer speeds. You also get two USB 3 Type C ports on the higher-end models, which offer 10Gb/s data speeds. You’ll need to ensure that your peripherals, including external hard drives, are plugged into the correct ports due to the difference in performance. These lightning bolt icons indicate the faster USB 4 ports. However, they can be difficult to spot if they are hidden in a dark corner of a room.

Although the power button is still located in the left-hand corner on the back of the iMac’s iMac, the headphone port has moved to the left side of the display. It’s now easier to find. There’s speculation that Apple moved it because the iMac’s thinness meant it couldn’t place the audio port on its back.

The simplicity of the port selection makes the iMac’s back look sleek and stylish. However, it also means that you will need an adaptor if your peripherals don’t have USB-C connectors. If you choose the base model, you might find that only two ports are sufficient. There is also no Ethernet port in this adaptor.

You will need to rely upon a wireless internet connection. However, this should not be a problem for most people as all new iMac models (24 inch, 2021) have WiFi 6 support. An adaptor will be required if you require a wired connection. You can also get an iMac with the Gigabit Ethernet port integrated into the power supply.

Another highlight is the new 24-inch iMac screen (2021). Apple has reduced the bezel around its screen by nearly 50%. This allows the new iMac a larger 24-inch screen without making it more bulky than its 21.5-inch counterpart. The new iMac also feels more contemporary and modern. While its competitors were coming out in smaller sizes, the old iMac’s chunky borders made it look old. We are glad Apple made the change.

It is stunning with a 4.5K Retina resolution of 4480×2520 and a density of 218ppi (pixels/inch). This display is much better than the 4K resolution of the previous model (4096×2304). It offers the highest image quality we have seen in an all-in-one computer.

It also supports 500 nits brightness and the P3 wide-color gamut, which produces bright, vibrant, and accurate colors. This screen makes images look amazing, which means that the iMac (24 inch, 2021), is a viable computer for photo editing and video editing.

Several people walked past the new iMac (24 inch, 2021) and commented positively about its design. This is always a positive sign. Most importantly, however, many people recognized it to be the new iMac. This is a sign that Apple has managed to keep the distinctive iMac look and feel despite the numerous cosmetic changes it has made.

You don’t have to be concerned about the bright colors looking too childish or garish. The purple color was chosen for our review. It wasn’t too bright, but it was subtle and pastel-like. If you prefer a subtler look, you can choose the classic silver color.

Performance

Benchmarks

Here’s how our benchmark tests showed the iMac (24 inch, 2021).

Cinebench R23 CPU: Single-Core: 1,489; Multi-core: 7,754

Geekbench 5 Single-Core: 1,725; Multi-Core: 7,650

Handbrake (1080p Fast): 24.5fps

Blender Classroom: 947 seconds

Blender fishy_cat: 488 seconds

PugetBench Photoshop: 649 points (using Rosetta 2)

PugetBench Premiere Pro429 Points (using Rosetta 2)

Apple has made significant changes to the iMac’s exterior (24-inch, 2021), and this is the first iMac that runs on the Apple M1 chips. This chip replaces the Intel processors which powered the iMac’s previous models, the MacBook mini (M1, 2020), MacBook Pro 13″ (M1, 2020), as well as the MacBook Air (M1,2020).

Apple’s decision to switch from Intel to its own silicon is a bold move, but we are impressed with how the M1 devices perform. The MacBook Air (M1, 2020), currently ranks at the top of our best laptop 2021 buying list.

Apple claims that the 2021 iMac will be up to 85% faster than its predecessor, which was built on Intel silicon. Apple claims the iMac will be able to run up to 2x faster than the fastest integrated GPU. This is something we were a little skeptical of, due to the existence more powerful AMD APUs. We explore this further in our in depth M1 tests.

Nevertheless, we were able to predict how the iMac would perform even before it arrived. This is because the M1 chips inside the iMac are identical to those in other M1 products.

You have the option of an M1 chip that has an 8-core CPU with four performance cores and four efficiency. Also, there is a choice between a 7-core and 8-core GPU. These options are the same as the M1 MacBooks or Mac mini.

We were given a review sample that includes the full 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU and 16GB RAM. Our experiences with the 2021 iMac have been comparable to those of higher-spec models. The 7-core GPU model will not make a significant performance difference for most daily use.

Like previous M1-powered Macs macOS Big Sur launches quickly and feels very lively – even when multiple apps are open, switching between them was quick and easy. Apple continues to make great efforts to get third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office to support the M1 chip. Many Apple apps now run natively on M1.

Rosetta 2 allows older apps to run on M1 Macs without any performance degradation or issues. It does a great job and it’s hard to tell if an application was running via Rosetta 2 or not.

The SSD is fast and nice. This means that macOS Big Sur and its apps load quickly. File transfers are also extremely fast. We were able to move a 3GB folder from an external hard drive to the iMac’s storage within five seconds.

We loaded Final Cut Pro (now an M1-native application) onto the iMac and began editing an 8K video. Although this is a lot of work, the iMac performed well. The 8K content was scrubbing, previewing, and editing clips were all done smoothly. At no time did the fan cooling system of iMac start to interfere with our work. The 27-inch iMac is the best choice for video editors. However, professional video editors may prefer to use the dedicated GPU. The iMac, 24 inches (2021), does a great job for amateurs who want to edit their own videos. YouTube and Twitch make it easy for anyone to create content. The iMac (24 inch, 2021), does a great job meeting these needs.

The 2021 iMac’s screen deserves a mention as well. 8K content looks amazing on it. It’s 4.5K which means that you can view 4K content in full resolution without needing to switch to full-screen. It was a joy to work on the iMac’s bright screen. The macOS desktop isn’t too crowded either, thanks to its extra space.

However, the screen isn’t touchscreen. This is probably not surprising considering that no iMac has a touchscreen. We wanted to touch it, even though it wasn’t touchscreen-compatible. Or maybe the iMac looks more like an iPhone. But touchscreen controls would add another level to the iMac’s interactivity. Perhaps that’s something we can do in a future update.

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