iMac Review (27-Inch, 2020): A Powerful and Reliable Mac

The first and last time I used an iMac was back in 2013, in the dingy office building that housed my college newspaper. Being an all-in-one computer, it didn’t take up much space—crucial, since the room was often packed like a can of sardines with student journalists. Its simplicity was striking compared to the bulky, budget Windows PC I built for my dorm room. It was adept at handling Adobe InDesign (which we used to lay out the news pages) and the dozens of Chrome tabs and Word docs I had open at any given moment. All this while looking more stylish than any other piece of tech in the room.

The new iMac looks and feels no different. Literally. I’ve been using the new 27-inch model in the tiny bedroom of my New York apartment for almost a month, and unboxing it brought a wave of memories of the many hours I spent in that old newsroom. It looks the same, and is still just as elegant.

If you were hoping for a modern iPad Pro–like makeover, you’ll need to wait a little longer. And if you were hoping for Apple’s own silicon powering the iMac, that might take some time too. However, if you need a desktop that won’t take up much space, and has enough power to run almost all the tasks you throw at it, this 2020 iMac won’t disappoint.

You Look … Familiar

Photograph: Apple 

It’s easy to like the iMac. The (recyclable) aluminum chassis is sleek and the swooping stand is graceful. Put it next to a Microsoft Surface Studio 2 or this Dell Inspiron and it won’t look quite as modern—the thick frame and portly bezels (edges around the screen) don’t help—but this is still an attractive machine.

Apple’s bigger mistake is not improving the stand. You still cannot adjust the $1,799 iMac’s height, only tilt the screen up and down. I used my tester unit on a standing desk so I was able to get around the limitation.

The screen can’t swivel side-to-side either, which makes it difficult to reach the ports on the back, especially if you have the iMac against a wall. There are a few ports, too! Compared to what you get on a MacBook Pro, the iMac feels like a Swiss Army Knife. You get a headphone jack, Ethernet jack (upgradeable to 10-gigabit), SD card slot, four USB-A ports, and two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. I’d have liked an HDMI and two more USB-C ports at the least (see: the cheaper Mac Mini), but this is still a solid and versatile selection.

Apple hasn’t changed the 27-inch display panel itself—you still get a 5K resolution (5,120 x 2,880 pixels), which is incredibly sharp, and the colors look wonderfully accurate. I prefer editing photos in Adobe Lightroom on this over the monitor I use with my personal PC. Movies like Project Power also look dazzling on the iMac.

Oddly, Apple still bundles in its awful Magic Mouse 2, which isn’t ergonomic and is impossible to use while charging. (Pro tip: Pay the extra $50 for the Magic Trackpad 2. It’s well worth it.) The Magic Keyboard is also included, but it’s nothing special.

You’ll use that keyboard to type out your passwords every time you log into the iMac. You heard that right. The $700 iPhone 11 and $800 iPad Pro can magically unlock the screen by glancing at your face with their respective selfie cameras, but that’s too much for this expensive all-in-one. It’s not just about logging into the Mac—you can’t use any biometric authentication to quickly access Apple’s iCloud Keychain to log into all your favorite websites and apps, either. It’s a frustrating omission.