27–inch iMac (2020)
Mac Life|November 2020
27–inch iMac (2020)
It may not have Apple silicon inside, but this iMac update is by no means a compromise
LORY GIL

From $1,799 From Apple, apple.com

Features 5120x2880–pixel Retina display, 3.6GHz Intel Core i9, 16GB memory, 512GB SSD storage, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB graphics, 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports, 4x USB–A ports, SDXC card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm headphone jack, 802.11ac Wi–Fi, Bluetooth 4.2

27–INCH iMAC (2020)

+ A whole lot faster

+ Matte option is simply outstanding

- Not Apple silicon

- No new design

EXCELLENT

The 27–inch iMac launched in August of 2020 may be the last Mac to come with Intel inside. Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference just a few months earlier that it will start selling Macs with Apple silicon inside as early as the end of this year. With a new Mac with new guts that could be the best yet, does it make sense to invest in an Intel Mac right now?

In this review, we’ll explain why an Intel iMac is still a good option for many people, and why it’s definitely not the right choice for some.

The 2020 27–inch iMac now comes standard with either 256 or 512 SSD storage, Radeon Pro 5300 or 5500 TX graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and Intel’s 10th–generation processor with either six or eight cores. It also now sports a 1080p webcam, nano–texture True Tone display, and a 10GB Ethernet option. It’s the latest and greatest iMac Apple has to offer at this time, but is this the Mac for you?

DO YOU EVEN MATTE? AKA: A NANO–TEXTURE STORY

Though the new 27–inch iMac still has a 5K retina display with DCI–P3 color processing, 500 nits brightness, and 10–bit dithering, the update for 2020 is, in our opinion, the biggest news of this iMac model. That’s because Apple added the option to upgrade to nanotexture glass for $500 more. Can we just say, “Hashtag worth it!”

There are going to be a lot of people that don’t see what the big deal is. If you’ve never cared for or felt the need for a matte screen, you might think the $500 price tag is pretty high. If like us, however, you work in a backlit room or otherwise have always wanted Apple to make a matte display for its iMac, let us explain the sheer glory of nano–texture.

We first experienced nano–texture glass when Apple announced the XDR Pro Display at 2019’s WWDC. With Apple’s special lighting showing off the beautiful new display, the nano–texture glass was an enigma. How the heck can a display be so incredibly clear while also being matte?

You may not have seen or used a standard matte display, but it basically ruins the clarity of a 5K display. Standard matte displays use a light-diffusing coating, which basically looks like someone has smeared Vaseline across the screen. Everything looks a little bit fuzzy. It’s a compromise we deal with because we need a matte screen, but it’s not something we’re particularly happy about. If we have a retina Mac, we want to see all of its gorgeous pixels in perfect clarity.

When we set up this iMac in our office with a window at our backs and bright sunlight shining through, our jaws dropped. There was literally zero glare off of the screen, but the display was just as clear and crisp as we expect a 5K iMac to be. You know — those deep reds and black blacks.

The nano–texture glass 27–inch iMac display is reason enough, in our opinion, to upgrade from an older iMac if you don’t care who made the silicon inside (more on that later).

Nano–texture isn’t the only new addition to the iMac. The 2020 model is also a True Tone display, which means it adjusts warm and cool tones depending on the ambient lighting in the room. Apple has been using True Tone on iPhone and iPad for many years, and on the MacBook Pro for a few less than that. It’s really helpful if you’re in a very bright or very dim room because it dynamically adjusts to keep your eyes from straining.

We weren’t in love with True Tone on the iMac at first. We found it to be a little distracting when we started work early in the morning and the screen would have a yellowish tint. We weren’t used to seeing this on our big screen.

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November 2020