RESULTS ARE IN!!! M1 iMac (2021) – Is It Actually ANY GOOD?

I was really excited when I first saw the design of the new iMac, but when I got it out of the box and first saw it for real, it’s actually so much nicer than I expected, except for one thing. And a funny story, I got all the new Apple gear on Friday. So the M1 iPad Pro and the new magic keyboard, both of those were delivered. But then I got a notification on my phone that the iMac will be delivered on Monday because I wasn’t home, which I was. But I guess I didn’t hear the doorbell, and I didn’t want to wait until Monday, so I got everything inside, I grabbed my keys, jumped in my car and I started randomly driving around the neighborhood looking for a UPS truck.

And it was just sheer luck that within about 15 minutes, I saw it parked on a side street. Now, I’ve had the same UPS guy for the past, like 12 years, I think. And as soon as he saw me, he was like, where were you? You’re always home. Long story short, signed for it, got it, drove it back home. Now, unboxing the iMac, made me wanna buy whoever designed the packaging, a cup of coffee. I don’t know who you are, but on the off chance that you’re watching this, shoot me a DM, let’s make it happen. I wish I had filmed it but I didn’t expect it to be so nice, so #fail. Anyway, you get a power cord, power adapter. Mine has the gigabit ethernet port because I got the 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU version.

I also got the magic keyboard with touch ID, the magic mouse, and the magic trackpad. Now, one mistake that I made because I wasn’t paying attention during the checkout process, is that I didn’t upgrade to the magic keyboard with numeric keypad. So if you’re gonna order one, and that’s a feature that you want, there’s like a little link on the ordering page that says change to another keyboard and you can select another option there.

I wish they had made it a button just so that it’s more noticeable, but now you know. Now finally you get a USB-C to lightning cables, so that you can pair the magic keyboard, with the iMac when you first set it up.

Now, I love the attention to detail with this entire setup. So Apple created matching braided power cord, and USB-C cable, plus the matching magic keyboard, trackpad and keyboards. The whole thing looks really nice and clean together. I will get to the M1 chip later on because a lot of you are already familiar with just how powerful it is but I wanna start out with the design. Now, as far as the color, I’ll let you guys choose. And according to the more than 17,000 votes that I got, you guys wanted blue so here it is. I’m super happy with how it looks, like I watched the spring loaded event but you can’t really appreciate how nice this looks without seeing it.

Honestly, if you live by an Apple store, and you have a chance to walk by and they have them on display, go take a look. What I definitely didn’t expect was for it to be so light. I mean, I know it’s thin, I mean, I knew it was thin. It’s like ridiculously thin in real life but it’s still a pretty good size display and all the components are built in. So, I just thought it would be heavier. Now I wanna go back to color for a second, because the back and the sides are the darker and more saturated color, then the base is a more muted version, and then finally, the chin is another color.

Now more on this later, but depending on where you’re gonna have this in your house, you may not see the back at all, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing a color. Now, at the launch event, there are a lot of shots of the iMac, in a setup where the back was visible to the rest of the room.

They really focused on the integration of this computer with your home life, not just as part of a dedicated workstation. And this is where a single power cable, which can also carry your internet signal is really nice. Now, with a wireless mouse and keyboard, it’s a really minimalistic and low profile setup. You could definitely put one in your kitchen or living room and it would almost look like a piece of art. And another reason why I like all the color options is because it almost intentionally draws attention to this beautiful piece of tech.

And of course, if you wanna stay low key, then just pick up that silver one. It almost feels like Apple wants users to incorporate this iMac into the design of their homes, rather than just trying to hide a computer in plain sight. I still wanna see a matte black one, but I’ll let it go. Now, the next thing I was really curious about, was the display, because this isn’t all in one. So there’s like no upgrading, no choosing components, it is what it is.

Now, the good news is that the new 24 inch display does not disappoint. It’s a 4.5K DCI-P3 Retina display, which is a wider color gamut, that provides more accurate color reproduction. We’ve got 500 nits of brightness, just like we have on the M1 MacBook Pro. And like I said, in my iMac, “It’s Complicated” video, I’m glad that they went with a brighter display, rather than the 400 nits on the MacBook Air.

Now this way it’s easier to see it in brighter environments. Now, one choice that surprised me, was the glossy display. It does have an anti-reflective coating but it’s still quite reflective and there isn’t an option for a matte finish.

So I’m very curious to see how this plays out as I test it in different areas around the house. And it’s absolutely something that I’ll cover in my more detailed review. Now, aesthetically, I do wanna point out one thing that stood out about the front of the Mac that I didn’t expect. Like I don’t actually mind the chin but I do have some comments about it. Like first it’s a different blue, so it’s not the same hue as the brushed aluminum on the stand, which is actually the same color as the iPad Air 4, really or maybe just looks really similar almost looks like it’s the same color.

But anyway, the chin itself is a little bit lighter. And also because it has a glossy finish, it does stand out more than I thought it would.

Now let’s talk about the image quality. Now while watching content, the 44, 80 by 25, 20 pixel display, is actually quite impressive. It’s crisp, it’s clean and the image looks great. And I was watching some 4K FPV drone footage, and if you haven’t seen this video before, it will leave you speechless. So I’ll link to it in the description. And another thing that I couldn’t help but notice while watching content was the quality of the speakers. Now during the event, Apple hyped a new speaker system with spatial audio when playing video with Dolby Atmos. But you know, you can’t really tell until you hear it for yourself. And I can definitively say that these sound great and I wouldn’t need external speakers.

Now I’m actually really surprised that Apple was able to get these to sound so full and rich again, considering the form factor.

You know how some smaller speakers can sound almost tinny? Well, these sound nothing like that. I know they implemented force canceling woofers, but again it’s something that was better than I expected from a computer that kind of looks like, a big M1 iPad Pro. I mean the iPad Pro actually does have really good speakers for a tablet but these are on a whole new level. And I think that the speaker quality, is something that people should look at as a real value, not just in terms of cost savings because you don’t need to buy external speakers but also in terms of aesthetics, I mean this way you don’t need speakers taking up valuable desktop real estate and you don’t need any additional cables.

You can also use wired headphones if you want. And because of how thin the iMac is, that too actually implement a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack on the side.

I’m gonna skip the microphone for right now, because in the next section, I’ll show you a sample video using the built-in camera and microphone. Now, speaking of the camera, Apple upgraded to the best camera on any Mac. Now, admittedly, I don’t have very high expectations for built in webcams, but when I heard that we’re getting a 1080P camera with a larger sensor, I was thinking good it’s time. And we’re getting higher resolution better low light performance. And when we pair this new sensor, with a new image signal processor and the power of the M1 chip, we’re really seeing a meaningful difference. And as far as microphone Apple calls it a studio quality microphone, so let’s test it out. All right, this is a sample of what you’re gonna get out of the built-in camera and the built in microphone. What I want you to notice, I haven’t changed the lighting at all from what you get in the regular video. So I want you to see how different this image looks like. I didn’t add anything to the background, it’s the exact same lighting that I used for the video.

I want you to see how much work the image signal processor is doing in order to try to get a more evenly lit image. Oh, if you’ve gotten value from this video so far, give it a thumbs up. It lets me know what kind of content you like so that I can make more of it. And I still see that over 90% of you are new viewers, so hit that subscribe button. Now let’s talk about the M1 chip and the configuration options. Now starting with the chip itself the M1 has been really impressive and I’ve been able to easily run any app that I need. And that includes Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Lightroom. And the M1 chip just flies. Like even on my MacBook Air that has no fans, I still didn’t run into any issues but during very resource intensive tasks the iMac can just turn on the fans, stay cooled, and then it doesn’t have to throttle back performance. Now I mentioned this a lot in my MacBook Air videos but for the majority of the target demographic this wouldn’t really be a consideration.

But if you plan on pushing your iMac pretty hard, it’s a nice thing to have. Now, when you buy this iMac, there are two configurations available with some pretty significant differences. So let’s break it down. Now, starting with the base model at 1299, you’re getting the M1 chip with the 8-Core CPU and 7-Core GPU, two Thunderbolts/USB 4 ports, and a magic keyboard with no touch ID. But that’s something that you can change during checkout like I mentioned. Now, if you move up to the higher end model for 1,499 you’re getting an extra GPU core, two USB, three ports a gigabit ethernet port, which is built right into the charging brick and you’re upgraded to the magic keyboard with touch ID. Now there are some potentially, important considerations here.

Like if for example, you want wired internet connection, that’s not something that’s available on the base model.

Now, as far as ports, if you plan to use the wireless magic keyboard, and then magic mouse, or magic trackpad, then you’re not using any of the ports in the back and you can still attach like external storage, a hub or a card reader with no problems. Now, if you’re going to use wired accessories, then you may need more than the two ports, and you’re probably gonna need some sort of adapter because there are no USB-A ports. Now, my guess is that the majority of the target audience, is gonna use the provided wireless accessories. I mean, the whole concept of the iMac, is to get a streamlined, compact, all in one minimalistic desktop.

The next difference between the models is the maximum internal storage. So the base model can only go up to one terabyte. The higher end model can go up to two terabytes, and both models start with eight gigs of unified RAM and can be upgraded to 16.

As far as choosing the extra GPU core, wouldn’t really be a reason why I would upgrade. I just don’t see it offering a meaningful enough performance boost. I would get the higher end model, if you need more USB ports, want a gigabit ethernet port, are already going to add touch ID or want two terabytes of internal storage. Remember that you can’t upgrade the M1 computer. So whatever you choose for RAM and internal storage, is all you’ll have for the life of the device. If you’re looking to add external storage, I did do a comparison of some of the most popular SSDs on the market so I’ll link to that video, at the end of this one. I’m also working on a more detailed review which should be up in about a week. Hopefully this video was helpful, click on my face to subscribe and then watch one of these videos. You know what I always say, buy it nice or buy it twice. Good luck and see you soon..

Read More: iPAD or LAPTOP – M1 iPad Pro or M1 MacBook?

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