Apple iMac review: two sizes of Retina

Date: 06 Friday November, 2015

Last year’s iMac brought the Retina display to Apple’s desktop product line in dramatic fashion. The 27-inch 5K screen was a jaw-dropping addition that made the all-in-one impossible to look away from. And if you were in a position to afford one, you came away with an incredibly capable machine that blurred the line between consumer PC and professional workstation.

For 2015, Apple has brought that same once-you’ve-seen-it-there’s-no-going-back sharpness to its 21.5-inch iMac, which now features a 4K display and starts at $1,499. Better still, the company has improved on last year’s Retina 5K iMac with an updated model ($1,799 base price), but the new, smaller alternative is pretty fantastic in its own right. On the outside, Apple’s new iMacs wear the same aluminum-and-glass design they’ve carried for years now. All the ports remain around back. They’re still a hassle to get to, and they’ve also gone largely unchanged. You get a pair of Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3 inputs, an SD card slot, headphone jack, and gigabit ethernet. For whatever reason, Apple’s not yet ready to bring newer technologies like USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 to its desktop Mac — even the highest-end 27-inch version — and that’s disappointing. It means you still can’t have these amazing screens pull double duty as external displays. And considering how annoying it is to reach around the iMac to plug anything in, a reversible USB input would’ve alleviated a lot of that frustration.

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