Apple refreshed its iMac lineup on March 19, 2019 after a two-year wait, introducing 8th and 9th-generation Coffee Lake processors and upgraded Radeon Pro Vega graphics options for major performance improvements over 2017 models. Apple's tagline for the update, is, in fact "freaking powerful."

The 2019 iMac update was a spec refresh only, and there were no design changes or external updates. The 21.5 and 27-inch 4K and 5K iMacs continue to use the same "ultra-thin" slim-bodied design that was first introduced in 2012.

There were also no updates to the display, which was refreshed in 2017 with what Apple said at the time was the "Best Mac display ever," offering 500 nits brightness and 10-bit dithering for accurate reproduction of up to a billion colors.

Apple's 21.5-inch iMacs have been updated with Intel's 8th-generation chips with up to 6 cores at the high end, while the highest-end 27-inch iMacs feature Intel's 9th-generation chips with up to 8 cores.

Apple says the 21.5-inch iMac is up to 60 percent faster than the previous-generation model, while the 27-inch iMac is up to 2.4 times faster.

For the first time, Apple has introduced Radeon Pro Vega graphics in both the 4K and 5K iMac models. In the 4K Macs, Radeon Pro Vega graphics offer 80 percent faster graphics performance, while in the 27-inch model, the upgraded option provides 50 percent faster graphics performance.

These high-end processor and Radeon Pro Vega graphics options are add-on upgrades and are an additional cost over the base iMac pricing. The 21.5-inch 4K iMac is priced starting at $1,299, while the 27-inch 5K iMac is priced starting at $1,799.

All 27-inch models and the higher-end 21.5-inch iMac ship with Fusion Drives as a standard storage option, but they can be upgraded with SSD storage for an additional cost. The entry-level 2019 4K 21.5-inch iMac and the still-available low-end 2K 21.5-inch iMac continue to come with traditional hard drives. 

Both the base 21.5-inch 4K iMac models can be configured with up to 32GB of fast 2666MHz RAM, while the higher-end 27-inch iMac models can be configured with up to 64GB of 2666MHz RAM.

The new iMac models are equipped with two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, 4 USB-A ports, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, and a Gigabit ethernet port. A FaceTime HD camera, stereo speakers, and a microphone are also standard on all models.

Along with the new 2019 iMacs introduced in March, Apple is continuing to sell a lower-end $1,099 iMac that was not updated. This machine features a 2K display and an older 7th-generation processor. Apple also has an iMac Pro aimed at its professional users, and details can be found in our iMac Pro roundup.

Apple's iMacs ship with an Apple Magic Keyboard that can be upgraded to a Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad for $30 and a Magic Mouse 2 that can be upgraded to a Magic Trackpad 2 for $50.

iMac iMac Reviewed by bsm on May 12, 2020 Rating: 5

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