Stunning • large display • Excellent performance • Nano-texture display option • High-quality webcam
The new 27-inch MacBook isn’t a huge upgrade, but does feature a faster processor and high-quality webcam.
Apple is marketing the new 27-inch iMac as a device for creators — you know, photographers, filmmakers, etc.
But considering the times, they might want to revive the idea of the “family computer.”
Sure, with its 5K Retina display and latest 10-generation Intel processor, it can handle heavy video- and audio-editing tasks. But so can its Pro line.
This iMac, however, comes with a new camera that’s perfect for Zoom calls with friends and remote classes. And for some extra cash, you can get a matte-style screen that works well even in harsh sunlight, which could come in handy during morning meetings.
An unchanged design (sort of)
While the new iMac is beautiful, it doesn’t look all that different from its predecessors.
The aluminum frame packs a 27-inch 5K Retina display, which, unfortunately, is surrounded by thick bezels. The nano-texture glass helps, though.
Originally introduced in the Pro Display XDR, it gives the display a matte-like feel. But it’ll cost you an extra $500 on top of the $1,800 starting price. I know that’s a lot to pay for a feature that seems fairly minor, but after experiencing it, I can say it’s worth it if you have the money.
While it’s not that noticeable unless you physically feel it, it gives the iMac an updated look. More importantly, it reduces glare and reflectivity, and makes everything look more vibrant. And, unlike the standard glossy display, it’s not a fingerprint magnet.
Apple also made sure to include its True Tone technology this time around, which adjusts the brightness and intensity of the display based on the ambient light.
I wish, however, that Apple would finally add a touchscreen. Kids are basically born with tablets in their hands. For distance learning, it would help if they could use the interactive touchscreen apps and programs they’re used to.
Aside from the mostly outdated design, there is one very notable change on the iMac: the 1080p FaceTime camera. I’ve said this about both the MacBook Air (2020) and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) — the built-in 720p camera is awful. Since the video captured by their cameras are so grainy and low quality, I typically find myself reaching for my iPhone or iPad instead.
The 1080p FaceTime camera feels like a huge upgrade. I mean, it’s a little too clear at times. Seeing as all we do nowadays is video chat, whether for work or fun, your webcam’s picture quality is important.
Additionally, it features stereo speakers that I can confirm will certainly be enough to fill even the larger rooms in your home. Whether it was playing music, YouTube videos, or taking calls, it sounded super crisp and clear.
As for ports, it comes with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, four USB 3 ports, an SD card slot, a headphone jack, and an ethernet port.
And, as for additional accessories, you’ll also get a Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Mouse 2.
Plenty of options to power through a wide-range of tasks
Apple offers the 27-inch iMac in a few different models and configurations:
Starting at $1,799, you can get the base model iMac with a 3.1GHz six-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and 256GB of SSD storage.
For $200 more, there’s the 512GB option with the same i5 processor at 3.3GHz.
The most expensive option starts at $2,299, and packs an eight-core, 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor.
Depending on the model you choose, you can also upgrade your storage anywhere from 8GB all the way up to 8TB. But that’s if you’re willing to pay the extra cost — which ranges between $200 to $2,600.
For the two higher-tier models, you can also upgrade to a more powerful 10-core, 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor. And, for the most expensive iMac model, you can also upgrade the Radeon Pro 5500 XT graphics card with 8GB of memory up to the Radeon Pro 5700 X with up to 16GB of memory.
You can also opt for the standard glass option or the nano-texture glass along with gigabit ethernet or 10-gigabit ethernet. As mentioned before, it comes with a Magic Mouse 2, but you can also upgrade to the Magic Mouse Trackpad 2 for $50.
If you are using this for creative purposes, you can add pre-installed software to your purchase as well. You’ll have the option to choose Final Cut Pro X for $299.99 and Logic Pro X for $199.99.
If you’re going to use this as your family computer for schoolwork, Zoom calls, and streaming movies, then you really can’t go wrong with the $1,799 base model.
My review unit was a bit too powerful for my everyday tasks: a 3.6 GHz 10-Core Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of storage, and that aforementioned Radeon Pro 5700 X graphics card. I can easily say it handled everything I threw at it with ease, but my typical workday doesn’t require that much heavy lifting in terms of hardware.
I mainly only use apps like Google Chrome, Telegram, iMessage, and Slack during the day. And, even though I’ve essentially only had about 24 hours with the iMac, I have yet to run into any issues — you know, like the rainbow wheel.
But if you are using it for editing video and photos or even graphic design, then you might want to spend a little extra for the upgraded processor and perhaps even extra storage.
Is it worth it?
While I haven’t been using the iMac for all that long, it’s clear to see that there isn’t much to complain about. But there’s also not that much to rave about either.
Similar to this year’s refreshed MacBooks, Apple made incremental but necessary changes to its 2020 version of the 27-inch iMac: a powerful processor, more storage, and the option to enhance the display for a more enjoyable experience.
If you’ve recently purchased an iMac or PC, don’t worry — this isn’t worth the upgrade. But, like I said, if you’re looking for a new family computer, you can’t go wrong with the new iMac.
With the latest processor and plenty of memory, it’ll certainly last for years as an essential daily driver whether for work, school, or hours of binge-watching movies and shows in quarantine. And, with that 1080p webcam, it’ll almost feel like you’re hanging out with friends and family in person again.