After Apple’s Spring Loaded event and the release of the new M1 iMac, you might be thinking about an upgrade to a new machine. However, between the famous iMac and MacBook Air, it is tough to know which one is actually better for you. To save you the trouble, we’ve put the two devices in a head-to-head comparison to see how the new iMac stacks up against the M1 MacBook Air.
|24-inch iMac||13-inch MacBook Air|
|CPU||8-core CPU 7-core GPU||8-core CPU 7-core GPU|
|Storage||256 GB of storage||256 GB of storage|
|RAM||8 GB RAM||8 GB RAM|
|Ports||Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports||Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports|
|Monitor||24 inches, 4,480×2,520 pixels, 500 nits||13.3 inches, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, 400 nits|
|Audio||Six speaker system||Stereo speakers|
|Webcam||1080p FaceTime HD camera||720p FaceTime camera|
|Touch ID||Available with an upgraded keyboard||Included|
Now you know the basic info, let’s take a look at the differences between the 24-inch iMac and 13-inch MacBook Air to help you make the decision easier!
It’s not just about the new colors, but a super-slim design that’s merely 0.45 inch thick, wafer-thin from the side on the 24-inch iMac. The addition of the M1 chip actually helps to reduce the new iMac’s volume by 50%, total, versus the previous model. Plus, the new upgrade features a sleek 11.5 mm profile to maximize your desk space and leave more room for other gadgets.
For the M1 Air, its design hasn’t changed that much from the MacBook original design with an all-aluminum finish. And, you can only choose between Space Gray, Silver, and Gold color options.
The new iMac also has a larger, higher-resolution 4.5K Retina display at 24-inch when compared to the 13-inch display of the MacBook Air. So, if you need to upgrade to a bigger display, then this feature is worth considering.
On the other hand, the MacBook Air now includes Touch ID, which is built into its keyboard. Meanwhile, you’ll have to switch from the $1,299 to the $1,499 model to get the same built-in Touch ID keyboard. Maybe users will have an option to add it as an upgrade to the M1 iMac ($1,299 version) in the future. However, we don’t know how much more it will cost you just yet.
The biggest difference is the M1 iMac’s new webcam, even though it’s still similar to the 1080p (or Full HD) camera on the 27-inch iMac (2020). These are the only two Macs with Full HD cameras available. Personally, I really love the iMac camera because the image quality is way better than the 720p one on all MacBooks.
For most users, the MacBook Air webcam is still good. However, with the COVID-19 still around, the need for high-quality video meetings is higher than ever.
Apple says the 24-inch iMac camera actually has newer hardware than its previous version. Moreover, the M1-optimized camera software can control lighting, color temperature, and exposure now. Not to mention the 6-speaker sound system for an excellent video call or voice chat experience on the M1 iMac.
From MacBook Air, iMac to Mac Mini, almost all Mac computers have the same M1 processor now. Based on the M1 MacBook Air benchmarks and what Apple said during the recent event, we suspect that the new M1 iMac will line up perfectly with the other M1 systems.
It can be difficult to know which new Mac to buy, especially if the processor speed is all that matters. On the surface, the M1 chip really makes a difference when it comes to overall performance. However, we need to run some tests to see if the new chip comes as promised.
While one is an all-in-one desktop and the other is a laptop, the iMac starting price is still $300 more than the MacBook Air price. The new 24-inch iMac will be available to preorder on April 30 with shipment starting in the second half of May. Its pricing starts at $1,299 for four main color options and $1,499 for additional colors and features.
On the other hand, the M1 MacBook Air starts at $999 for the base model and $1249 for the high-end. Additionally, the 13-inch MacBook Air is only $899 for students.
The Bottom Line
There is no doubt that the M1 MacBook Air has the advantage of being a lightweight laptop for you to carry around. But, if you need something more powerful with a larger display, then the 24-inch iMac is a great option. Still, we need to wait until the 24-inch is available to actually tell which machine is better in this match-up.
Let us know what you think about the new 24-inch iMac in the comments below.
Related article: M1 MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Which Mac to Buy