iMac 21.5" vs 27"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by imanidiot, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. imanidiot Suspended

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    Denver, CO
    #1
    I need a new iMac. I currently have a mid-2010 21.5" and it's been great for over 4 years. If I buy a 2013 21.5" with fusion drive and 16gigs of RAM, it's $1899. If I buy a refurbed 27" with fusion drive it's faster, better graphics and I can upgrade the RAM myself, and, for $1869, a better buy. The only thing that makes me hesitate on the 27" model is that the display is, well, 27". I just came from the Apple Store to compare them in person (it had been awhile), and am debating whether I could get used to the larger model, because it just seems enormous.

    I'm wondering if anyone has purchased the 27" and returned it, just because it was (for them) simply too much screen real estate and they could not adjust to it? I'm worried that the size of the display would be a distraction.

    Thanks.
     
  2. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #2
    Thats the issue. 21" iMacs are terrible for your money. While there are times I appreciate 27" displays...there are also times where I find them them less efficient do to hunting around the screen I tend to do with that much screen real estate.
     
  3. tillsbury macrumors 65816

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    Dec 24, 2007
    #3
    Wow. Exactly the opposite. I am wondering how I'll get away with a screen as small as 27". I find I get used to larger screen sizes in minutes, and suddenly anything smaller is a terrible downgrade. It's only the resolution that's made me go with the iMac.

    If they launched a 32" version, even for a couple of thousand more, I'd sell mine and buy that without a second's hesitation...
     
  4. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #4
    I suppose it comes down to what you use a computer for. I'm a writer and spend most of my time working in Pages (the old Pages, not the laughable new version). The rest of the time I do what most others do, surf, email, iPhoto, watch YouTube videos, and once a year, my taxes. I have created little projects in iMovie in the past, but don't see much of that going on in the future. In other words, I don't need to have many windows open at once, and when I'm writing I don't want to be distracted by a bunch of stuff on the screen. But the 21.5" is just such poor value for money compared to the 27" that I am torn nonetheless.
     
  5. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #5
    This is an excellent question and I debated this when my wife got a 2012 iMac 27. Her small desk is only 39 inches wide and 24 inches deep. It worked out fine and fit visually and aesthetically within the available space. She even has room for Harman Kardon Soundsticks III speakers.

    I think the very thin form factor, small keyboard and overall appearance helps it fit in. Despite the large size it doesn't overwhelm the space, and looks good.

    She also finds the larger screen real estate helpful. I have a 2013 top-spec iMac 27. Although I have a much larger desk, I like the screen size. The Fusion Drive and upgraded GPU work very well for photo and video editing.
     
  6. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #6
    I'm not worried about it fitting (my "desk" is a 60"x30" butcher block table top resting on two filing cabinets) so much as I'm worried about it fitting my eye, i.e. not being overwhelmed visually by all that screen. I'm concerned about it being a visual distraction for the most important thing I do, which is create documents in Pages (for the most part). I know that everyone says you'll get accustomed to it quickly and trots out the HDTV analogy (which I can understand, having a couple of years ago gone from a smaller TV to my first "serious" TV with a 46" screen and was at first overwhelmed, and now wish I had purchased a bigger one, and the next WILL be bigger, but I think it's a bit different given that it's purpose is to view content rather than create it). But I do thank you for sharing your thoughts/experience. My head is saying go for the 27" but my gut says be careful what you wish for.
     
  7. nilk macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 18, 2007
    #7
    What is this "too much screen real estate" on a desktop computer you speak of? I use a 27" TB display which is pretty much the same as this, and I find it lacking compared to my 30" Dell U3011 that has more vertical pixels.

    On desktops, the more screen real estate the better. It might take you few a days to adjust, but you'll never want to go back once you get used to it.
     
  8. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

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    Brooklyn, NY
    #8
    That's why I'm holding on to my 24" iMac as long as I can. :)
     
  9. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #9


    The HDTV analogy is crap honestly as you pointed out that a TV has a completely different purpose than a computer monitor. When viewing content you want to be immersed which is why a IMAX theater usually is considered the ultimate....it's almost like an amusement ride.

    Computers are a lot more tricky. Hell I'm currently typing this on a 2580 by 1440 27" monitor. Nothing is perfect and pluses and minuses to different sizes. Honestly I've rarely found myself complaining on a monitor that is in the 21"-24" range whereas sometimes there can be some annoyances when I jump up in size.
     
  10. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #10
    Spot on. And therein my problem. I'm not buying this to view content (for the most part) but as a necessary tool to create content. Big difference. I don't plan on running windows/apps side by side, etc. I think I'll call Apple and simply ask them if I order the 27", and find that I can't live with it, because I can't deal with the size of the display, can it return it just for that reason?
     
  11. jesusplay macrumors 6502a

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  12. Thunderchicken macrumors member

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    Mar 27, 2009
    #12

    I love my 27" iMac the real estate is perfect which the wife has now since I decided to get back in to gaming and couldn't live without a 27" with 2556x1440. But then again my work monitor is nothing but a 17" CRT monitor with a max resolution of 1024x768 and real estate gives me issues.
     
  13. kendrickhphoto macrumors member

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    Jan 20, 2011
    #13
    You don't have to have a reason to return it. Just go online within 14 days and hit the return button, print the label, and then ship it back.
     
  14. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #14
    I mainly use my 2013 iMac 27 for video and photo editing, which admittedly is different from writing in Pages. My wife uses her 2012 iMac 27 mainly for web and email. She strongly preferred it over the 21.5".

    I'd suggest getting the 27, make sure you get either Fusion Drive or SSD, then use it for the *full* evaluation period. Yes it will seem big at first but I'm guessing after a few days you'll get used to it, you'll figure other ways to use the screen real estate, then all will be OK.

    However in the outside chance you can't live with it after that period, you can always return it and get the 21.5" version.
     
  15. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #15
    I'm leaning in this direction. Try it and see. Why not?
    Thanks for the input.
     
  16. hyune83 macrumors member

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    Sep 19, 2008
    #16
    Definitely 27. I think a large monitor and ssd make a huge difference in everyday computing.
     
  17. tyche macrumors 6502

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #17
    I have a 2010 21.5" iMac since release and it is still a great system (I put in an ssd and 16gb). The only thing I would change is the screen resolution. 1080p was find in 2010 but I need more now especially vertical space.

    Without getting caught up in the retina models, a referb 2013 27" model is a good choice. Yes, the screen will seem huge for a day or two and then you will adjust.
     
  18. OS X Dude macrumors 6502a

    OS X Dude

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    I work with a 2009 21.5" iMac and always thought it'd be the perfect screen size. However, I'd probably go for a 27" now, because with about three programs open to a good size, the screen is full.

    I work in an Apple Service Centre, and I have Safari taking up 66% of the screen, our repair logging software and Notes taking up the rest. I need to use a USB microscope to check all the components and this often needs opening in a new Space. Then I have Mail and Wunderlist (my to-do app) on another Space, and then iTunes in one on its own for diagnosis/restores.

    My head office colleagues have 27" iMacs and have everything on one Space. I'd kill for that. I agree that it can look huge, which is the only reservation for me in my house.
     

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