Apple released the all new 24-inch iMac 2021 powered by its proprietary chipset called the M1. The all-in-one desktop computer is now much better and faster than ever bringing on all the goodies you’ll expect from a device of its level. There is a lot to talk about in the 2021 iMac 24 review and that includes the new bump from Intel to the Apple Silicon named the M1 chip which is the same chip that powers a number of new Apple products.
First, its lighter and its way much more flatter now – basically looking like an iPad pro sitting on an aluminum stand if you’re looking at the device from one side.
Most of all, Apple also made the device into several colors and that’s the great thing about this device. So gone are the days when the iMac sits on just a single unibody design with a single universal silver color.
Compared to older model of the device, the new 24-Inch iMac 2021 is more playful and funky and it comes in two variations both of which have different capabilities.
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The radical stance Apple took with the development of the M1 chipset is a really great one and as it stands, users get the ultra-fast device which is less lousy because the entre component is well rigged together to the point that even fan is built right within the panels under the hood.
The M1 chipset was able to transform the MacBook Air into a device that doesn’t require fan hence the slimmer design of the laptop and so is the case with the new 2021 iMac AIO desktop computer.
Speaking of efficiency, the M1 is much more efficient compared to the Intel processor which powered the older generations of the iMac computers before Apple ported to its own technology.
Being built on a mobile architecture which in turn makes it efficient, the iMac and other arrays of devices it will be powering do not have to be too large. Portability and compatibility had always been Apple’s core designs for a pretty long time now until they started making giant iPhones in 2019 but that’s another story.
The new 24-inch iMac 2021 is just 11.5 millimeters thick which is just four millimeters thicker than the iPhone 12 which should explain how thin this device is. And right within the chassis is where Apple cramp all of the components of this computer without any bump at the back whatsoever unlike the older models.
The orange iMac which I got for review is interestingly beautiful in real-life and I don’t know if the camera can truly capture its beauty in its entirety. The aluminum finish and its unibody design is just amazing. Though it seems like I’ve spent so much time praising the design of this desktop computer longer enough than to actually talk about its quirks and features, there are still in fact some parts of the device that one might not really find all that interesting or fascinating.
Retina Display that offers 4K resolution
First is the massive 24-inch screen which is now using a Retinal Display technology but it’s just a sweet word for an IPS LCD panel but with a better resolution of about 4,480 x 2,520 pixels which makes it a proper 4.5K screen with 500 nits of brightness. And yes Apple is fair this time around.
The display also offer P3 wide color gamut and utilizes True Tone technology with over a billion color composition so that objects that appear on the screen can be as bright and true as possible and that is a great thing.
The chin is the part I wasn’t really fancying because for whatever reason, Apple decided to yank off its logo from the front and plater it right at the back but then left the Thanos-looking chin of the device appearing like a plain old desert…It’s not actually that bad.
It of course seemed like a modern computer and a look from the side will have you marveled at how Apple could make the device so thin and sleek like it is.
Then enters the stand which allows the adjustment of the device to whatever position you’d like except that it’s a bit limited. Call me old-school but for whatever reason, I come to like the swivel design of the 2002 iMac which had a base. But let’s say the base was removed but the swivel stand remains.
While this one swivels, it’s just limed in terms of orientation and you can just outright turn the device from either portrait to landscape or back – you get the point I’m trying to make.
The premium look and feel despite its playfulness is how well you know that Apple is a design genius. I just don’t like the chin maybe if it was well trimmed up a little bit. I get it that’s where some of its components sits as well as the speakers but the audio output places downward hitting a flat surface which creates the surround sound effects you get from the speaker but I believe that since the iPad pro can be so thin without any chin, the same can be possible probably with the next-generation iMac.
Cool specs of the 2021 iMac 24
It’s 2021 and the world has changed. Communication is mostly done via the internet and for once, Apple seems to have stepped out of its hiding to create a quite brilliant front facing camera on this device which it calls the FaceTime HD camera.
In terms of its specifications, it offers 1080P resolution and there are some pretty decent microphones with which you can make good quality video conferencing meetings without having to purchase a separate external microphone.
Apple claimed the microphones’ quality are studio-standard and will pick your voice better which blocking external noises around you. That is true to some level. And I wouldn’t blame Apple for making those claims because most of the times, people who will own this device will likely be in their home office or even their corporate office for that matter and those places are usually less loud so it could be fair to assume Apple is right.
I tried recording my own vocals and despite being a soft-speaking person, this was true to some great level. The clarity in the audio output was just interesting I loved how detailed things sounded during playback exactly what you’ll expect from a premium device of such.
Now back to the front facing FaceTime HD camera, it’s able to also record HD video which still requires some good deal of lighting. First because it’s a pretty small sensor an secondly because majority of computer front facing cameras are still whack – in most cases at least and I’d count this as one of such.
You might still need to keep your external front-facing camera but that means you’ll need to get dongles because we’re limited to the number of ports on this device – Apple literally strip their computers of ports each and every year but they develop more dongles afterwards and its really bizarre.
There is also a six-speaker sound system which offer a nice audio output from the device. Not as detailed as you’d expect but its of course better than your typical smartphone or PC speaker because the size also play a big factor into how well it would work.
Did I mention that there Touch ID now on the iMac 24 which can be used to login to the device so you can forget about setting up passwords and pins and also I like the fact that this can be a gateway form quick payments on Apple Pay. It basically extends the Apple ecosystem we’re all locked in.
Setting it up is pretty fast or you just sign in to your existing account and you can sync the entire systems together in the cloud. The touch sensitivity is fast but might miss your fingertips sometimes. Say if you just finished washing or did some rough works with your hands.
The current version of the MacOS Big Sur adds up that flat user interface to the device making things good looking from my point of view. Even the older iMac with Intel chipset both work well and things are faster this time around with the updated M1 chipset.
The new iMac joins the remaining M1-powered chipsets including MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, marking another step forward in Apple’s transition to Apple silicon.
Even though I got the base model of the M1 chip which costs a little over US$1,299, there is yet another high-end model which costs slightly more than that. But I will talk about the pricing later on in this review.
The base model I had comes with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU while the higher-end variant comes with an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU which on paper doesn’t seem to be too different from one another except there are some other perks for getting the US$1,499 variant such as the multiple color option that you get.
Both of these variants comes with the 16-core Apple Neural Engine and with that, Apple is able to cut down the size of the motherboard because everything is weld together on a micro scale so the aforementioned 50% downscale in terms of size of the device can be justified with that.
Apple also did more with the device by ditching the3-pin IEC power connector in favor of the new magnetic power connector all which makes the device much more interesting from both professional and consumer stand point.
I sincerely love the fact that the power cable is about 2 meters and that is a big deal because I wouldn’t need to bring my extension box closer all the time and this is not for me alone but there will definitely be those who find it interesting too. Excess is better than inadequate sometimes and did I mention that the power cable is color-matched to the device’s color?
Then there’s also Ethernet port on this 2021 iMac 24 and can be don without a direct attachment to the device itself and with that, your desk and work station won’t have to be cluttered with cables.
As for the connectivity, the iMac 2021 has four USB Type-C ports with two of them featuring the Thunderbolt 4 standard, a 3.5mm audio jack, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth v5.0.
Performance of the 2021 iMac 24
|Geekbench 5 CPU||Cinebench R21||ATTO disk speed (top reads/writes)|
|Apple iMac (M1, 24-inch)||1,743/7,689||1,518/7,666||7GB/s / 2.7GB/s|
|Apple MacBook Pro (Apple M1, 2020)||1,696/7,174||1,492/7,467||3GB/s / 3GB/s|
|Apple MacBook Air (Apple M1, 2020)||1,619/6,292||1,494/6,617||2.8GB/s / 3GB/s|
|Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)||978/6,163||N/A||2.8GB/s / 3GB/s|
The 2021 Apple iMac 24 AIO desktop computer is pretty fast and that’s a big deal to me. It’s so fast that opening applications and switching between programs is as fast as possible and that’s something that’s so remarkable about this device.
Being fast doesn’t mean that the previous models aren’t because as we all know, the MacOS enhances the speed and the efficiency of the iMac and that happens throughout the entire Mac ecosystem.
My review unit which is the base model comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage but those numbers gets bigger with the high-end variant which sits at 16GB of RAM and storage capacity could reach as much as 2TB.
Now speaking of speed, the integrated graphic card on this device makes graphic processing super fast. Using high-performance software like Photoshop is breeze-fast and I was happy with the over all experience.
When combined with its high efficiency, unified memory architecture, and the 16-core Apple Neural Engine, the new iMac delivers powerful performance when compared to standard models of the 21.5-inch iMac, including:
- The CPU is about 85% faster than the previous model so high-performance programs and tasks can be easily done with little to effort at all. Take exporting or rendering video contents for example or editing RAW images using programs like Adobe Lighroom and so forth.
- Up to 2x faster GPU performance for certain apps like Affinity Photo and Photoshop, and up to 50 percent faster than the most powerful discrete graphics in the fastest 21.5-inch iMac, allowing users to render edits in real time or add complex filters to their photos in a snap.
- It’s possible to edit up to five streams of 4K footage, or one stream of 8K footage, without dropping a frame in Final Cut Pro.
- Up to 3x faster machine learning in apps that leverage the 16-core Neural Engine in M1.
Another interesting thing is the fact that the higher-performance variant of the 2021 iMac 24 was able to outshine gaming PC like the ASUS G15 and the MSI GS66 in a Geekbench 5 score.
A cold start will get to the desktop under just 25 seconds from sleep mode which is another thing of interest and that puts the M1 right above the Intel Mac released earlier before the M1.
Apple Mac computers in general are basically great for tasks such as content creation, photoshop and computer programming. Even though gamers might not find the iMac interesting enough because you cannot bump things up via a rig, Apple ensured that this device is still efficient in gaming.
Here’s how the iMac (24-inch, 2021) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
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 Pro: 429 points (using Rosetta 2)
The SSD is nice and speedy which as mentioned earlier allowed pre-loaded applications to start up as fast as possible when the computer is on the quick load.
Speedy file transfer is another big deal for the new computer and files as big as 4GB can be easily transferred within seconds to and from the computer.
More to talk about
Efficiency and power management is a great thing about the 2021 iMac 24 computer and one thing for sure is that the device is pretty well made. I love the speed input and output capacity of the computer thanks to the synchronization of both the M1 and the Big Sur MacOS operating system all working well behind the scene to ensure that the end user gets the maximum performance possible on this thing.
Sometimes I wonder why Apple is adamant about making its computers touchscreen which would have been a big value for the product line at least if that’s how they want to go. I wonder if the iMac 24 also has touchscreen capacity, that would have put it right above other Windows competition.
The tech giant seems to focus more on the build quality as well as the functionality of the device. While the usability is also very important because come to think of it, the fact remains that the Magic Keyboard and Mouse still both needs to be improved in their overall appearance to ensure convenience when used in a day-to-day settings.
As someone who uses the MacBook computer myself, I’m not entirely used to the concept of handling multiple devices separately. While there are of course all-in-one trackpad and keyboard devices from third-party manufacturers like LogiTech, it won’t do any harm if Apple could just improve on the design of the keyboard for once.
Of course there is a big improvement in the performances of the device with some tweaks in the appearance, I still feel usability is still an issue however, many people who are used to working on one won’t have problem adjusting to every changing releases each year. But having to switch between desktop back to a laptop and then back to a desktop on and on isn’t really befitting.
The polarizing design of the keyboard is what I feel Apple should work hard on next time they’re releasing an update to this device. And its shallow keys which are way too compact to be easy to use isn’t good for user experience. The same goes for the Magic Mouse, which still feels too light and flat Maybe a little bit bump so it can be easy to grab.
Media: Sound, web cam and more
I mentioned earlier that the audio output of the 2021 iMac 24 is immense and that is very t rue despite its thin design. It offer six speakers system which are good at reproducing the diverse musical instruments being played via the device.
Listening to melodious songs like Met Gala or Golden all sounded pretty well. Watching movies as well brought out those sound effects really well. Imagine hearing those violent slicing and punches in John Wick II pretty well enough thanks to the audio system which all did an immense job.
There’s also Dolby Atmos support which explains why the audio output was so good as though you were using some portable Bluetooth speakers.
Although the webcam is a 1080p FaceTime camera which unlike the previous model (720p), it produces some pretty decent quality which is definitely a boost. Even though to get the most out of this, you might still be needing a good lightning, the low-light situation of the device isn’t as bad as it might seem.
The sensor is quite big and it feature an ISP (image signal processor) which help the M1 chip to boost image quality exponentially. Although you won’t expect the iPhone 12 level of output but this is definitely a big upgrade from the older model.
The improvements to the webcam and microphones are particularly important with so many people working from home these days, and relying heavily on video calling for both professional and social purposes.
Pricing and Availability
There are two variants of the new iMac 24 2021 model and they both come in different price points. The first or base model being US$1,299 while there is a higher variant which costs about US$1,499 and of course you get more option with the more expensive model.
Below is a simple breakdown of the pricing and option of the two price variants of the 2021 iMac 24 desktop AIO computer.
- $1,299 – 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU with 8GB of unified memory, 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt ports, a Magic Keyboard without Touch ID, and a Magic Mouse.
- Available in: Green, pink, blue, and silver.
- $1,499 – 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU with 8GB of unified memory, 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt ports, two USB 3 ports, a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, a Magic Mouse, and Ethernet connectivity.
- Available in: Green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver
The new iMac (24-inch, 2021) became available to pre-order not long after it was first announced, on April 30 2021, and as early as May 21st, customers were able to purchase the device from stores while those who have pre-ordered can get theirs delivered to them.
As with previous models of the iMac, you can then upgrade certain specs to suit your needs, for example by adding more RAM or storage space. There are still options though with the high-end model being priced in excess of US$2,499 but that gets you more features like a 16GB of RAM and 2Tb of SSD storage capacity.
The new iMac comes with an improved Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse. However, if you want to swap out the mouse for the Magic Trackpad, it’ll cost you an extra $50, while if you want both the Magic Mouse and the Magic Touchpad that’ll add $129.
It’s also worth noting that the most affordable model of the new iMac (24-inch, 2021), which comes with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU, also comes in fewer colors (four), has only two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports (missing two USB 3 ports of the other models), has no Gigabyte Ethernet, and no Touch ID sensor on the Magic Keyboard.
You should buy it if you want to
The new iMac 24 definitely come with some truly impressive features and that alone can be tempting but despite being an upgrade over the previous model, its not entirely spectacular in every sense.
Here me out first. The thing is that Apple obviously made a big leap away from Intel and now uses its own chipset to power its device and that allows the company to design an even smaller motherboard all which makes the new iMac much smaller than it usually would be and of course more efficient and speedy.
But the older version too performs very well. In fact majority of iMacs in the past all perform well thanks to the efficiency of the MacOS.
I know Apple fans might be intrigued already and might just want to make a leap to the new model which is definitely fine.
The multiple color option to chose from, the ultra thin design and the functionality of the device makes it a big deal on the market and its in the region where other competitors can only dream of.
All in all, its a fun to have desktop computer and if you want one, you can go for it definitely. It’s perfect for both office and non-office use and if you’re working from home, the amazing camera system will give you an edge.