21 or 27inch iMac for a mac user who's never owned an iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by metalgear1, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. metalgear1 macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2012

    I’m torn over whether to get a 21 or 27 inch iMac. I won’t be using it for anything too intensive so either way will be buying one of the base models. I know a refresh is coming soon but that won’t stop me buying one of the current models because I need one now (my laptop has developed a very annoying flickering screen).

    My main usage will be website design and maintenance (I’m not a professional so won’t be using Dreamweaver etc I will be using WYSIWYG software). I’ve built several websites in the past using iWeb which is know is not being updated so am moving to an alternative soon and will have to redesign 4 websites from scratch.

    My question is whether it’s worth getting the 27inch over the 21inch. I can (just about) afford to get the 27 but is it worth it? The price of the 21inch is attractive but I’m worried I’ll regret not going for the bigger model.

    At the moment I’m updating all my websites via iWeb on a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook with 1 GB ram so I know either choice will be a huge step up. I’m just trying to weigh up the advantages of the 2 screen sizes. I’ve previously owned a Mac Mini with an Apple cinema display before the Macbook but have no experience of the iMac.

    Any advice is welcome.
  2. All Taken macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    27" Hands down, I have owned two 21.5 iMacs in the last two years, each time i've swapped for the larger 27".
  3. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    Another vote for the 27". Larger screen and amazing resolution.
  4. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    27" for Web design. You will appreciate the jump in screen size, and any model should suffice for your needs.
  5. fruitycups macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2011
  6. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    27" you will need that real estate for web design for sure.
  7. PaulKemp macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2009
    27". It's for working with everyday. Go for the bigger display and resolution.
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    What size screen have you been using? You mention your laptop is dying so I guess that is a 17" screen your used to. So it will be a big jump to either 21" or 27". So the basic choices you should consider is where will it be going? I would love a 27" but won't suit my desk and small study. Im currently waiting on the 2012 model and will go 21". However if you can't wait you could get the 21" and with the money you save get the next model up from the entry level you mention.
  9. zulkiflim macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2008

    I would suggest a mac mini.

    It better suits your needs and it best yet you can buy a bigger monitor or use your current HDMI TV screen as a monitor.

    Bigger real estate to play with
  10. Billdemart macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2012
    27 inch without a doubt. I just got mine and wish is was 35 inches. I'm already thinking about chaining two more monitors to it.
  11. SR20DETDOG macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2011
    Queensland Australia
    Have you considered buying the 21.5" iMac and adding a second 21.5" monitor yourself? Of course it depends on your situation but you stand to save a couple of $100s and actually have more pixels than the 27" iMac.
  12. thomasfrdavis macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2011
    same here. still cant decide which will do best for me.

    been doing some web stuff with MBP 13", and a lot of times I do it on my 23" SAMSUNG. I've tried 21" before the 23", gotta say, 21" is not enough. but at the same time, I think the 27" is too big for me. :(

    now im just hoping for a 23"/24" for this year model (although I know its unlikely gonna happen :( )

    or maybe someone here would like to convience me to buy the 27". :rolleyes:
  13. ad2435 macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2009
    21" monitors are so 2005ish.

    get the 27" and be happy for the next 5 years.
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    One more vote for the 27" display. You will NEVER regret having spent a little extra money to buy it.

    I know you said you weren't going to "wait" for the upcoming iMacs, but their release date seems to be getting pretty close. Is there any way you could hold out a little longer?

    I think it's almost a certainty that the new ones will have USB3. The new Ivy Bridge chip notwithstanding, that's going to be the most important upgrade on the new iMacs.
  15. TjeuV macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2011
    why not try 21" with 2nd external screen if you really need more real estate
  16. Fandongo macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    I'm still hesitant to guarantee the future of USB3 in the refresh.
    That being said, there's a great incentive to go with the 27"...
    2x Thunderbolt ports.


    You know, if for some reason people invent adapters that kill the Thunderbolt chain. :eek:
  17. aComicBookFan macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2012
    I got the 21.5" display and it's big enough for my uses but I am not a power user. My desk is also pretty small so a 27" wouldn't fit very well. Bigger screens are always cooler like sports cars with bigger engines. If you can afford and if it would enhance your computing experience then go for it. Otherwise, I think you may be happy with the 21.5".

    -=- Boris
  18. Flood123 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2009
    Living Stateside
    Go big or go home! I've never heard someone saying "this monitor is just to darn big and beautiful". However , I have have heard the opposite. If your space allows, the 27" is a no brainer.
  19. illini71 macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2010
    The 21.5 is fine for normal use.

    Now if i was to use it for a "Internet Theater" then i would go with the 27.

    The 21.5 is not small by any means.
  20. BStyle105 macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2009
    27" or 21"

    I'm facing the same dilemma myself. I think I would rather get the 21" and use the money saved to buy a bigger engine. For around $100 I could always get a second monitor and actually have more real estate. If the iMac was doubling as a living room screen I can see value in the 27" but for something I would sit about 2 feet from in a study....
  21. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    I'm a professional web developer and the 27" screen is priceless. So much better than runnind dual monitors like I have to at work. Running split screen Dreamweaver on a 27" screen is a joy to work in.
  22. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2012
    Before reading this thread i was all set for the 21". Now it's 27" or bust!
  23. emilcar macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2009
    Murcia (Spain)
    I have a 24' iMac (2009) and it's time for a new one. The 27' iMac is as taller as my iMac but wider, so it would be ok. But I have seen a 21' iMac in the desk of a friend and I think it is enough for my stuff (Aperture and iMovie) and suits better my desk. I have also an (awful) Acer 18'5 monitor which would be a creepy partner for my new iMac.

    The question for me is that the top 21 iMac is only 200€ cheaper than the lowest 27 iMac and they have exactly the same specifications, but the screen, obviously.

    Is it worth to pay only 200€ less for less screen size and less top resolution?
  24. Lancer macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    If you're on a tight budget I'd suggest the 21.5" but go for the better model with bigger HDD, you can add a 2nd monitor later for more screen space.

    I have the same size LG on my G5 as the 21.5" iMac and find it is fine for most situations, that said I'm all set to get a 27" when Apple updates them.
  25. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    I own a 21.5", and it is perfect for most tasks. I bought better hardware with the smaller screen to meet my budget back in 2010.

    But I know with certainty that the next iMac I purchase will be a 27" (or whatever the larger form factor proves to be once Apple gets around to releasing the 2012+ iMacs).

    You know that sense of wonder and amazement you get when you see one of the 27" models at the store? Want that feeling every day? Go for it!

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