The 2017 iMac is a fine update to Apple’s desktop computing platform, but suffers from a few nagging design quirks, as well as its own place amid rapidly-evolving desktop design trends. Still, for Mac fans in need of an upgrade, the 21.5-inch model presents surprisingly impressive value.
- Gorgeous 4K, P3 color display
- Excellent value
- Powerful even at entry level
- Poor audio performance
- Baffling mouse charging method
When the original iMac was released, Steve Jobs wanted it to be Apple’s first computer for the everyperson. He wanted it to have a practical, yet playful unibody design, but strictly no floppy disc drive or CD tray. Unfortunately, it would take years to get the iMac as perfect as Jobs wanted it, but it’s arguably pretty close now.
The iMac isn’t cheap, however it is affordable for what it is. It doesn’t have an unseemly CD drive and even the older hard drive is being phased out. The Apple iMac today is Steve Jobs’ vision incarnate. It comes with a mouse and keyboard that don’t need wires to function, and they’re seamlessly able to connect to the iMac, which itself serves as the chassis, display and guts of the system. It’s an all-in-one computer at its bare essence, which alone is worth talking about.
The most recent iteration of the Apple iMac doesn’t make any dramatic changes, but this decision works in its favor. It takes the 7th-generation Intel ‘Kaby Lake’ processors of yesteryear and harmoniously adapts them to the existing iMac form factor. The simplicity of this refresh speaks volumes about both Apple and Intel’s formulaic upgrade structure. It works, and at a reasonable price at that.
Here is the 21.5-inch Apple iMac configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 3.0GHz Intel Core i5-7400 (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz)
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 555 (2GB VRAM)
RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,400MHz)
Screen: 21.5-inch 4K (4,096 x 2,304) Retina display (P3 wide color)
Storage: 1TB HDD (5,400 rpm)
Ports: 2 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 4 x USB 3.0, SDXC card reader, RJ-45 Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system: macOS 10.13 High Sierra
Camera: FaceTime HD (720p) webcam
Weight: 12.5 pounds (5.66kg)
Size: 20.8 x 6.9 x 17.7 inches (52.8 x 17.5 x 45cm; W x D x H)
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
For a mere $1,099 (£1,049, AU$1,599, ₦395,640), you can buy an iMac that includes both a Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Keyboard in the box. That’s a $178 (£178, AU$248) value for the accessories alone.
Of course, for that price you’re getting a 21.5-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display model with an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 graphics chip integrated into the 7th-generation, dual-core 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor, but it’s a commendable value all the same.
As you can judge by the spec sheet, the unit we were sent for review is a step up from the entry-level model in every regard, save for the hard drive, and for only another 200 bucks at $1,299 (£1,249, AU$1,899, ₦467,640).
From there, you can configure the iMac with just about every component better than the last. Need discrete graphics to live out your creative aspirations? You can get a 21-inch iMac with up to AMD Radeon Pro 560 graphics. Or, if 32GB of RAM suits your fancy, you can demand that Apple install that too.