1st February 2016

Which iMac is right for you?

When it comes to your next iMac, is biggest best or do all the best things come in small packages?

Following Apple’s update of both the 21.5” and 27” iMacs late last year we look at the strengths and weakness of the two models to see which suits you best.

Let’s get the obvious point straight out of the way and that is real estate. The 21.5” is 5.5” on the diagonal smaller than its larger brother the 27”. Now whilst we would like to say size doesn’t matter it is hard not to be drawn to the larger machine when they are stood side by side.

In terms of display the two models actually offer 3 different display options. The first two steps on the 21.5” iMac range boast a very good LED Backlit display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, whilst the top of the range 21.5” model now offers a 4K Retina Display. With an impressive 4096 x 2304 resolution it has over 9.4m pixels. The 27” is well known for having a 5K Retina Display with 5120 x 2880 and 14.7m pixels.

The Retina Displays are incredible and the 5K display does perform better when it comes to colour accuracy. However, what you may not know is that both the 4 and 5K display have the same pixel per inch density of 217.

When it comes to processors the entry level iMac offers a dual core i5 1.6GHz. Normally found in a MacBook Air this processor is not for those looking for a high end machine. We have come to affectionately call this the Estate Agents iMac. It’s ideal for those people who want the look and feel of the iMac but don’t need a graphics based one. Across the rest of the range the 27” does benefit from the latest Skylake processors whilst the 21.5” are on an older spec Broadwell chip.

When it comes to storage if your budget allows we would encourage you to consider upgrading to a Fusion Drive or Flash Storage solution. This is particularly true for the 21.5” iMac that has a 5,400 rpm Hard Drive so the other two options really do provide a significant increase in performance.

One of the strongest selling points of the 27” iMac is that all of the models come with a dedicated graphics card, unlike its smaller brother that has an integrated one on the processor. If you are running more graphics extensive apps then you really need to be looking at the 27” as regardless of model it comes with at least a 2GB graphics card. On the higher end models this can be upgraded to an impressive 4GB AMD R9 395X card.

So when it comes to which one to lease what would we recommend? Well we think it’s important to consider budget. The range extends from the 21.5” 1.6GHz iMac right up to the i7 4GHz 27” iMac at £17.98 + VAT means that there really is an iMac for all budgets.

It’s no mistake that when my parents wanted a new iMac I pointed them towards the lower end of the iMac range. It’s perfect for office functions, Face Timing, surfing the web etc. However, if you need more something with a little more power then it is hard to look past the 27” iMac. With its more powerful and contemporary processors, faster standard storage options, higher graphics capabilities and a 5K Retina Display as standard means that it is our model of choice.

So when it comes to iMacs it would seem that size really does matter.