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Hands-on review: The 2020 iMac is as 'pro' as desktops can get

09 Sep 2020

When Apple announced that they would be moving their lineup to Apple Silicon, Apple fans got excited. The reality is, though, that the process will take a couple of years before it is finished. In the meantime, Apple released the 2020 iMac that is the perfect machine to carry us through that waiting period. 

Design

The 2020 iMac kept the same design we have grown to love over the past couple of years While many people were disappointed that this hasn’t changed, I like how the iMac looks. No device has ever looked this stylish on a desk! 

The New iMacs come in 21-inch or 27-inch options. I personally always go for the 27-inch as the extra real estate is fantastic for any task. From office document work to full-on editing, the 27-inch screen will provide just enough space without the need for an external monitor. 

Display 

The screen on the 2020 iMac is one of the best displays I have ever seen. It is powered with a 5K Retina display that has 14.7 million pixels, 500 nits of brightness and P3 wide support for one billion colours.

As if that did not make the display great enough, Apple added True Tone Technology that uses sensors to adjust the colour and intensity of the display. All of this makes for a phenomenal display that is perfect for image and video editing, and that also puts my 4K TV to shame when it comes to watching movies and shows. 

This year, Apple also gave the consumer the option to add a nano-textured glass to their iMac. This feature comes from the Apple Pro XDR display and provides additional glare reduction. This feature would set you back AUD $750. For me personally the additional investment is not worth it as the screen already does a great job at removing glare. 

Performance

This is where the 2020 iMac shines the most. The unit I am reviewing has a 3.8 GHz 8-core Intel Core i7, 8 GB 2667 MHz DDR4 and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500 XT graphics card.  This is not even the best configuration. The iMac 2020 can be configured up to a 10-core Intel Core i9 processor with up to 5.0GHz Turbo Boost. 

Over the past few weeks, I've done my usual “I will try to overload this iMac” ritual. And I failed. I used it to edit videos, and it handled it well. It was a fast and smooth experience. I even used it to record a couple of songs, and it did a great job. 

I then tried leaving both apps running in the background, opened a hefty photoshop file, and then proceeded to work with over 20 tabs open and the iMac ran as if I had nothing open. I was impressed. 

Updated video and audio

While this update might seem minor to others, it was one of the things I was most excited about. The iMac finally comes with a 1080P facetime camera. This is a vast improvement that I have been waiting on for a couple of years now. The iMac camera is finally powerful enough for me to confidently use it in meetings. 

We have meetings rooms in the office, but I now opt to take calls at my desk just because of how good the camera is. I was also able to use the camera to record a couple of quick videos that were going to be featured in a friend’s YouTube video. I no longer needed to use third-party apps to use my iPhone’s camera just to look decent. 

Apple also updated the microphones and the speakers in this year’s iMac. The microphones are good enough that I was able to record a couple of cover songs using nothing but the iMac mics. I was amazed at how well they turned out to be. Having such powerful microphones built into an iMac is life-changing as it takes out that extra hurdle in the way of creativity. No one has the time to set up a mic, but if it is already set, creativity can flow at any time. The speakers also sound fantastic. 

What I would change

At this stage, I have one very minor complaint left. The iMac still doesn’t support FaceID. Being the Apple ecosystem and being very attached to my iPad Pro, I am used to the ease that FaceID brings. It just makes sense that all my passwords and approvals are available when I am looking at my device. No one wants to type in a password anymore. 

This is a very minimal complaint that doesn’t take away from how unique the iMac experience is. It is also important to note that when linked to an Apple watch, the iMac can be unlocked by simply wearing the watch near it. 

Verdict

This year’s iMac is a beast. It ticks all boxes from design to display, internals, camera, mic and speakers. It even has the Apple T2 Security Chip for additional security. It will make our wait for the full Apple Silicon transition a very easy one.