iMac or MacBook Pro?

If you are currently in the market for a new computer, then it’s no question that you are considering buying an Apple Mac. The computers unlike Windows PCs are always guaranteed to work in excellent condition, be fast, be efficient and always reliable. Plus, with the addition of Reina displays and even faster core processors, an Apple Mac is one of the best big purchases you could ever make right now.


However, that then brings up the issue of trying to figure out which Apple computer you should get. In most cases, for buyers the biggest debate usually comes down to deciding between getting the iMac or purchasing a MacBook Pro. This is because while both these devices tend to vary in terms of price points, power output , design as well as functionality, it can still be very difficult to decide which one suits you best. As such, we’ve put together this handy step-by-step guide to help you figure out which device should make that final purchase.


MacBook Pro vs iMac: The Differences


The first thing you need to understand is that there are no losers in the debate between these two devices. They are both very powerful Macs that offer extensive features and functionalities. However, there still remains quite a number of innate differences that deserve a deeper analysis.


One of the first things and most obvious differences that you will notice is the fact that an iMac is a desktop machine, whilst a MacBook Pro is a portable device. However, it isn’t that straightforward because you can always increase the level of portability an iMac offers by getting an iPad as well. Moreover, you can also expand your iMacs screen size as Apple also offers both 21” and 27” size models. Plus, the MacBook Pro also comes with a 13” and 16” size models. Additionally, users can always increase the level of screen size afforded to you by extending your workspace and purchasing an external monitor that offers you a multi-screen display. These can be extremely useful for those users who are constantly juggling a hectic workspace and need to carry out a number of various tasks at once.




When it comes to deciding between these two devices, you need to first determine how often you intend to use these devices for. Do you plan to sit at a prescribed workstation or to be frequently on the move? This is an important factor to consider because it will generally be the most influential and impactful deal-breaker, as they were each designed with their unique uses in mind.


In terms of overall design, both devices are pleasing to look at and are designed using high-quality aluminium materials, with a focus on sleek minimalism. However, they still aren’t perfect. This is because at the end of the day, being stuck staring down at  laptop all day long can be a very uncomfortable experience. It is for this reason that many users opt to purchase an external keyboard and laptop stand for better mobility and comfort. Additionally, the iMac offers up a similar problem, as staying hunted over a desktop for the whole day is not really practical or healthy and since they usually lack vertical adjustment features, this means they can’t be positioned at eye level either.


Processing Power


Both Mac devices essentially come with the same Intel Core chips, meaning they are on equal level in regards to overall CPU output. However, the difference between the two in this category comes down to how the MacBook Pro handles the heat when tasked with undertaking high impact software and programs. Some users have reported that the higher-priced model struggles with overheating, after ending up in Turbo Boost mode. However, the good news is that it only seems to apply to the highest priced models, as the low to mid-tier versions seem to work fine without these issues.


Display & Screen Graphics


When it comes to display and graphics, there is no doubt that Apple always ensures the highest quality possible. Whether it be through their Retina or Liquid Retina display innovations, their excellent peak brightness or color augmentations, all Macs are nothing short of outstanding. So, the differences between the two in this department are too minimal for anyone to notice.




Most users are surprised to learn that when it comes to storage the winner is not the iMac but the MacBook Pro. This is because while the iMac comes with 2 TB storage of fusion drives - which is a combination of HDD and SSD - the MacBook Pros usually come fully packed with 1 TB default SSD storage with an option to upgrade to an 8 TB version, which while expensive is significantly better.



Ports and Mac Accessories


When it comes to access ports, this is usually a major consideration and deal-breaker for many buyers. This is because several users end up complaining about Apple consistently minimising the number of external ports and accessory ports provided on their Mac devices. When it comes to access ports on the MacBook Pro most models are limited to just two external ports with the option to get four, if you purchase the more expensive option. This is what gives the iMac the advantage in this department, as even the cheapest priced model usually come with a much wider range of connectivity ports. 


However, you should keep in mind that there is an alternative to expanding your device’s port selection, without spending too much money on a higher-end model. It is for this reason that users like to invest in Mac accessories like; a USB 3.0 hub, as these devices will help you better expand your connectivity ports significantly. For instance if you are limited in terms of display, you can comfortably connect as many as three different monitors, improving your workflow, if you are eg. in music production, art design etc. They also offer extended functionalities with extra HDMI access ports, charging stations, auxiliary ports among many other useful extensions that improve your overall Mac experience.




While it may be easy to believe that iMacs would end up costing more than the MacBook due to their desktop nature, the reality is that they are actually very evenly matched. This is because the 21.5” inch iMac - which is the cheapest and smallest sized model - currently retails for about $1,300, with the smaller sized 13” MacBook Pro also costing the same amount. Meanwhile, the most expensive MacBook Pro model the 16” model, ranges for about ($2,400), while the most expensive 27” iMac will set you back ($2,300).

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