If I didn’t run this business, I’d never have bought the 24” M1 iMac.
The screen is just too small, you see.
Only, it isn’t. And boy would that have been a shortsighted decision, because Apple’s latest all-in-one is the best desktop computer I’ve ever owned.
That isn’t much of a three-month review though, is it? So, I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts about how this computer has barged its way into my daily work over the last 90 days.
It has completely taken me by surprise.
How I use it
I recently provided a somewhat drawn-out excuse for using three Macs on a daily basis. The M1 iMac is one of those devices, and it’s probably the one I use the most.
The reason for this is pretty simple: it is perched attractively on my main desk, therefore it’s the computer to which I normally return whenever I need to get something done. The only reason I don’t use it is if I’m video editing (that’s where the Mac mini comes in), or out on the road – because I’m not a take-your-iMac-to-the-coffee-shop kinda guy.
My 24” M1 iMac is used largely for what I like to call ‘work stuff’. For me, that’s email, Teams calls, web applications, writing, and the odd bit of messing around with spreadsheets.
I don’t do anything fancy with it at all, and I certainly don’t push it to the limits of what the M1 is capable of. But that doesn’t matter. For me, this is just a computer that needs to get stuff done.
With my use case in mind, it should come as no surprise that I never push the M1 iMac to anything approaching its limits. In fact, the only time I ever seem to make it sweat is, bizarrely, when exporting recorded Zoom calls. Yeah, go figure.
My iMac is the base level version with 8GB RAM, the 7-core GPU, and 256GB of SSD storage. That also means it has just one cooling fan (versus the two found in the next model up). But despite Zoom’s insistence on obliterating the M1 chip just to convert its videos, this thing never murmurs.
A bit like my iPhone and iPads, the M1 iMac is faster than I’ll ever need it to be. If your use case is similar to mine, I’d recommend saving yourself some money and getting the base level machine – it’s an absolute beast of a workhorse and will last you many years.
Even the port situation is fine. Mine has just two USB-C ports, but the addition of a hub fixes that, and because it never moves from its spot on my desk, there are no port-related logistical inconveniences to take into account. And, yes, I’m aware I’ve moaned incessantly about the lack of ports on the M1 Mac mini, but that’s because my use case for that machine involves lots of plugging stuff in and out of it; that isn’t the case with the iMac.
Just look at it. This new iMac design is an absolute stunner.
But there’s one problem: it looks better from the back.
For reasons I’ll soon reveal, I’m hoping to fix this, but at the moment, I have no choice but to place my lovely blue iMac against a wall. And that means I can’t see that beautiful design in all its glory.
You really do have to see the new iMac in person to appreciate what Apple has done. They were criticised by many for retaining the iMac ‘chin’, but it makes total sense; without it, this wouldn’t be an iMac.
The typically sturdy aluminium base, reduced bezels, and that stunning rear casing are a sight to behold. It doesn’t even matter that the bezels are white; if anything, that simply makes them evaporate further from your field of view.
But it’s the result of the iMac’s diet that is the most impressive design element. I used to scoff at Apple’s desire to make the iMac thinner with each redesign, but I can see exactly where they were heading – they just needed the right chip.
With the energy-efficient M1 tucked away inside the 24” iMac, and the ridiculously small space it requires, Apple has designed a computer that you can’t help but admire every time you use it.
I’m not convinced the thinness adds much utility or the ability to place it into tighter spaces than before, but it does set a new standard for all-in-one desktop computers.
The 4.5K retina screen is as good as we’ve come to expect from Apple. It doesn’t do anything vastly different to their other screens; it offers P3 colour space and is as pin-sharp as the outgoing iMac’s screen.
However, I still maintain that you’ll struggle to find a computer and screen combo that performs as brilliantly while providing the most satisfying screen on which to work. That’s the iMac’s biggest selling point, and it has always been led by the beautifully integrated screen.
As for the size, it really doesn’t matter. Sure, I’m excited to see what Apple does with the 27-inch iMac’s successor, but that computer is going to cost a small fortune. The 24” iMac doesn’t, and the screen is plenty big enough for most people.
If you feel like you’re waiting forever for ‘the big one’ to appear, I’d seriously consider investing in the 24” for the time being. I think you’ll be surprised.
A quick note on the webcam
It’s brilliant. I regularly receive comments from people asking what camera I’m using for video calls.
Finally, Apple. Finally.
Would I buy it again?
As noted earlier, writing off the 24” M1 iMac because of the screen size would have been very shortsighted.
My advice if you’re in the market for an iMac (and need to buy one soon) is to grab yourself the 24” version – even if you’re waiting for the big one.
Trust me – every concern you have about its size, power, and ports will wash away as soon as you begin the unboxing experience. This is Apple’s release of the year.