M1 iMac vs M1 MacBook Pro: Which Mac is For You?

Apple is taking over the market with the new M1 chip. By going 100% native, the company has ensured their success in the future, increasing not only the performance but security of their devices. A big question is: Does the M1 chip perform the same regardless of the device? The obvious answer should be no. But, let’s see how well the M1 MacBook Pro can put up with the M1 iMac to be released.


M1 iMac vs M1 MacBook Pro

The design of the 2020 MacBook didn’t change much when compared to its predecessor. The screen fits nicely inside a rounded edge border. The sleek design wasn’t much of an impact when the device was launched. The reason for the laptop to not have been revamped may lie in the fact that Apple was more interested in trying out their M1 chip, and what a success it was. 

On the other hand, the 2021 M1 iMac’s design has been totally modified. The computer now sports a selection of six vibrant colors, reminiscent of the first Macs launched by Apple. Unlike those vintage computers, the newest iMacs are the thinnest and lightest ever made by the company. The compact look of the iMac is all thanks to the M1 chip, that packs incredible power in such a small size. Another huge change, especially in comparison with the previous iMac model was the shape of the computer. The new one has a more squared look, similar to the new iPads launched by Apple. 

Overall, the MacBook design is closer to the past few years similar to Apple laptops, with little to no visual modification. The iMac, instead, has a revolutionary design fitting the modern minimalist style being developed today. The win in the design category was absolutely for the 2021 M1 iMac.


The M1 MacBook Pro is only available in a 13.3-inch size, unlike the bigger models from previous years. As this was the device, Apple decided to market test drive their amazing M1 chip, making sense the modification and options were limited to get the best feedback from the consumers. 

The MacBook’s screen has 500 nits of brilliance and a P3 wide color. The display sports 2560 by 1600 pixels for a native resolution of 227 pixels per inch. The screen quality and image fidelity are high, but certainly no match for a 4k screen.

The M1 iMac also has a smaller screen in comparison to its predecessor, due to the fact that it’s only 24-inches. However, the 4.5k screen with 5120 by 2880 pixels is a definitive improvement when compared with the M1 MacBook. The iMac offers an immersive screen with P3 wide color and 500 nits of brightness, the same as the laptop. The main difference lies only in the resolution itself of the screen, limited by the size.

13-inch MacBook 202024-inch iMac 2021
Resolution2560-by-1600 pixels5120-by-2880 pixels(4.5k)
Brightness500 nits500 nits
Wide ColorP3P3


The newest M1 MacBook Pro comes with the Apple native M1 chip. The  M1 has an 8-core CPU, and an 8-core GPU, together with a 160-core Neural Engine. The base model of the 2021 iMac has a similar setup using the M1 chipset fitted with 8-core CPU and GPU.

Since the M1 chipset for both devices seems to be virtually the same, let’s check which computer has a better performance by comparing the benchmark scores available at present.

Mac Benchmark scores

M1 iMac vs M1 MacBook Pro

In the Geekbench 5 scores, the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro scores 7360 for the multi-core test. For a laptop this is an outstanding result, and at the moment it outshines all the other Intel processors. 

The same test yielded extraordinary results for the M1 iMac. The computer scored in the Geekbench 5 multi-core test the unbelievable number of 18462.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the desk computer is much more powerful than the laptop. Apple designed both devices to operate heavy apps, and software and both do a pretty good job. However, the iMac is on a whole different level, especially when it comes to programs such as Photoshop, Affinity Designer, and other demanding apps that need a powerful machine.

Unfortunately, it’s too soon to make a further comparison between both devices. The M1 iMac preorder is available on April 30th and will be arriving for customers starting on the 21st of May. Only a few lucky ones have been able to do some pre-testing. Hopefully soon, we will get our hands in this revolutionary machine to fully analyze its potential and power. 

Geekbench 513-inch MacBook 202024-inch iMac 2021

The Bottom Line

The M1 MacBook Pro and M1 iMac can be built to order by choosing how much RAM and storage space. However, they both share the same starting price at $1299. This is actually quite incredible, considering how much more powerful the iMac is.

The winner between devices is without a shadow of a doubt the iMac. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is what you need. If working at a desk is something you can do most of the days, then the M1 iMac is 100% the better choice. 

On the contrary, if you need to be constantly moving, you might consider the MacBook Pro as a smarter investment. The new iMac is quite light and much easier to transport than its predecessor, but not to the level of portability of a laptop. 

The MacBook Pro is still essentially the most powerful non-gaming laptop, so the investment won’t be lost, and the computer will serve every single one of your purposes.  Apple is truly heading towards a new era, and we are very excited to see what the future holds.

Make sure to Protect your Mac

Related article: 24-inch iMac vs 13-inch MacBook Air | Which M1 Mac is for you?

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