MacReviews

The revamped 24-inch iMac is still the best all-in-one computer around 

But it could have been so much more

The 24-inch iMac was my favorite computer for a long time. It’s still the best all-in-one desktop for most folks, but it no longer tops my list.

The number one spot now goes to the 2023 MacBook Pro. Look for my full review coming soon. 

That said, I do enjoy my iMac (with the blue color way) with its M3 processor. It takes everyone I’ve always liked about the iMac — compact design and a variety of fun colors — and makes it much more powerful. However, after waiting over two years for it to be updated, I expected more.

What I like

The best thing about the updated all-in-one is the addition of the M3 processor, which provides a major power boost. According to Cinebench R23 scores, the M3 is, on average, a healthy 20% faster in both single-core and multi-core than the M2. And early Geekbench 6 benchmark results indicated that the M3 chip is up to 40% faster than the M1

The M3 chip is among Apple’s first 3nm chips. The M3 chip features eight CPU cores like the M1 chip, but it now offers an eight- or 10-core GPU, rather than the seven- or eight-core GPU of the ‌M1‌. 

It also features a 4.05 GHz CPU clock speed, up from 3.20 GHz on the ‌M1‌ chip, more memory bandwidth, support for AV1 decode, and a new GPU architecture with Dynamic Caching, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and hardware-accelerated mesh shading.

What’s more, the more advanced M3 chip allows the 24-inch ‌iMac‌ to be outfitted with up to 24GB Unified Memory, up from the 16GB maximum in the ‌M1‌ version.

As before, the display is gorgeous. The 24-inch 4.5K Retina screen has narrower borders, 1.3 million pixels, a P3 wide color gamut, over a billion colors, and 500 nits of brightness. The screen also features True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the color temperature as the environment changes for a more natural viewing experience. 

In addition, the 4.5K Retina display on the new iMac has an anti-reflective coating for greater comfort and readability. It’s effective, but doesn’t match the nano texture finish Apple offered as an option on the 2020 27-inch iMac. Then again, that finish cost an extra US$500.

Also on the plus side: the updated iMac gets Wi-Fi 6E support to allow it ‌ to connect to 6GHz networks, and it supports the Bluetooth 5.3 protocol for improved connectivity and range.

What disappoints me

As mentioned, the more advanced M3 chip allows the 24-inch ‌iMac‌ to be outfitted with up to 24GB Unified Memory, up from the 16GB maximum in the ‌M1‌ version. However, the base model comes with a miserly 8GB of RAM. Apple should have made 16GB the baseline for memory since it charges an arm and a leg for upgrades.

The entry level machines come with a 256 SSD for storage. Again, Apple should have upped the ante and made a 512GB SSD the base line. 

What’s more, if you want Gigabit Ethernet, that’ will set you back another $30, and you still only get two Thunderbolt 4 ports on base systems. You must spend at least $1,499 to get two Thunderbolt 4 ports and two USB 3 ports.

Another disappointment is that the ‌iMac‌’s continued use of Lightning ports on its Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Mouse is frustrating. Especially since the charging port on the Magic Mouse is STILL on its bottom, which means you can’t use it while it’s charging. 

The new iMac’s accessories are still saddled with Lightning accessories.

Finally, I was hoping for some truly “wow” factor for the new iMac. Adding Face ID could have been ground-breaking. But I would have settled for a ProMotion display to make the all-in-one better for gaming. 

ProMotion is Apple’s name for the adaptive, high refresh rate, 120Hz display first available on the iPad Pro. While a standard refresh rate will update a display 60 times a second (60Hz), the ProMotion’s adaptive 120Hz screen works at twice this speed. This results in smoother scrolling, improved responsiveness and better gaming performance. If Apple is serious about gaming on the iMac, it needs ProMotion.

Despite my disappointments, I think the new iMac is the best desktop Apple has ever made for most folks. Its eye-popping screen, power, and still-excellent sound system will be great for most users.

Apple World Today rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.