Which screen size to choose?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Freeman3030, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Freeman3030 macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    Hi, I'm really torn between which size iMac to choose. At first I thought the 21.5" would be ample, but I went and had a play with one in the apple store and right next to it was a 27" iMac which looked super sexy and made the 21.5" model look rather crap!
    So I'm just curious as to what you iMac owners think of your machines? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each screen size?

    I will mainly use it for browsing the net, playing the sims 3 and doing some photo editing (as the photography bug has just bit me!)
    This will be my 1st apple computer and have spent hours researching. Just want to make sure I make the right decision!

    Then it comes to picking one, I was going to get the standard 2.5 ghz i5 iMac, but have seen the older 3.06 ghz iMac for sale for £799, which is £200 cheaper than the £999 price tag of the current outgoing 21.5" model.
    If I get the 27" iMac, I'm forced to getting the cheapest older 2.7ghz i5 version priced at £1400 as I'm going to be stretching myself if I want a higher spec one... Oh the decisions I've got to make, any help?
  2. mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Lawton, OK
    From someone with a 27" iMac and 27" Cinema Display, my recommendation is to always "go with the best you can afford".

    On the 27" display I have my Adium Contacts, Adium Chat Window Twitter, and a VERY generously sized Safari and Mail window open at the same time, not overlapping (and I have another entire display for VMWare or XCode or whatever). I can work on three letter-sized documents, at 98% zoom, side-by-side. The display is large enough to view a 3.7MP image at 100% zoom without having to scroll or pan. Overall, the 27" display has 78% more pixels than the 21.5".

    For games, you probably won't be able to run most brand new games at the 27"'s native resolution unless A) you get the RADEON 6970M equipped model and B) you boot into Windows. Older games will run at the native resolution quite comfortably though, as should Sims 3. Worst case, I reduce resolution to 1920x1080 and that runs smooth as butter.
  3. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    For photo work, the larger screen is fabulous.

    I have a 27" iMac and two external monitors. The 27" has my main Aperture stuff, and is terrific when viewing thumbnails or full screen images. You can see a whole lot at once in a good size.

    The side monitors are used for Aperture HUDs, Finder and Safari mainly.

    Having the HUDs off the main screen is very convenient, and you don't need a fancy second monitor for this.
  4. RiceKilla macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2011
  5. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    If you have the money and space to spare, 27" for sure. It's a thing of beauty (and if you go for the very top end one - a thing of great power too).
  6. GoDuke1 macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2011
    North Carolina
    I have a 21.5 only because I didn't have room for a 27". I would have gotten the 27" if I did. That said the 21.5 is meeting my needs great!
  7. wxman2003 Suspended

    Apr 12, 2011
    21.5 is plenty for me. Sitting only a few feet from the screen, and really don't need anything larger. But everyone is different. Go with what you want, not what people tell you to get.
  8. iwan073 macrumors regular


    May 1, 2011
    The Netherlands
    I bought the 21.5" iMac a week ago and believe me, at 1920x1080 you really have enough screen to browse the net, play games and edit your photo's.

    Of course, the 27" is one sexy machine. But sounds like you don't really need it. So keep that money in your pocket and go for the 21.5".
  9. Brown Trout macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2011
    I also think it's the perfect size, coming from a PC 14" notebook at home but with 3 21" monitors at work. And the 21.5 works just fine for regular resolution DVDs if you use it for the occasional movie.

    I think it's perfect for my needs, but that does not include heavy photo editing.
  10. RafaT97 macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2011
    27" has a beatiful display and has better graphics if you have the money and the space go with the best 27"! you wont regret it!
  11. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    Another vote for the 27" iMac. And this is coming from a guy that planned on getting a 21.5" iMac for 6 months before the refresh. Once I adapted to the idea of having such a large monitor, I couldn't go back. And after using it for a few weeks, I will never go back.
  12. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006
    This is one of those cases where you can safely say, "Bigger is better".
  13. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    This is a pretty classic saying! Apple will be glad to hear this!
  14. atMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2011
    I went with the 21.5". I would never make use of the screen space of hardware in the 27". Not to mention it would probably require me to buy a new desk to fit it.

    On the 27" we have at work I find I have to actually look around to much to find the mouse, or things in the menus.
  15. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    This question can only be answered by you because only you know how big your desk is :). if your desk can hold a 27" then get a 27" if not, then a 21.5" :)
  16. mackage macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2011
    Bigger does not mean better. Just because your desk can hold a 27" doesn't mean it will be a better fit for you. I have the 27" and I am returning it for many reasons including the size. It is just too big so I am going with the 21.5. You can have multiple windows open on a 21.5" so having all this space around my windows on the 27" that is not being used is a waste. The font is alot smaller on the 27 as well.

    The 27" is only good for those who actually TRUELY need that much space (not want that much space), and those that want bragging rights.
  17. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    24" was the perfect size for iMacs.
  18. jedolley macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2009
    Prior to my first Mac purchase I was using two 22" Dell IPS monitors. I wanted the 27" right from the start, but what made it easier was that all the upgrades I wanted i.e. CPU, and VRAM.
  19. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    Some people simply have to have the latest and the biggest! I suppose it helps boost their self confidence and makes them feel better!

    The correct way to decide is how one chooses any item is by satisfying certain criteria. For example, how much space is available? How close to the screen will you be sitting? - many forget that when sitting approximately 1.5-2 feet from the 21.5" screen, the relative perceived image size is identical to sitting further away from a 27" screen! Will you be watching a lot of films etc etc.

    Biggest isn't necessarily the best - some say that small is beautiful! ;)
  20. jedolley macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2009
    In some respects I agree... The 21.5" is big enough. As I previously stated, I was running a 22", so 21.5" would have been ok. However, you aren't just choosing screen size. Components that are available on the 27" aren't available on the 21.5". While your criteria are important, it's hardly complete. I think one needs to consider what the uses are going to be now and a bit into the future. Since the iMac is not really upgrade friendly, it does not hurt to consider possible future needs.

    For example, I prefer PC games over consoles, and this was a consideration when choosing my first Mac. I'm not a hardcore gamer, and play even less now that I am a new Dad. However, I still knew that I enjoyed playing computer games and already had a few current and upcoming titles in mind. This was one of the main reasons that made me go for 27". I could have played some of the games on the 21.5" at lesser settings, but I also had no clue how it would hold up with games in a year or two.
  21. Dr. McKay macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2010
    Belgium, Europe
    I agree.
    But remember that the 21.5 inch has the same resolution as the old 24 inch.
    Get the high-end 21.5 inch and play games at the native resolution of 1920x1200. They'll look a hell of a lot better than when you play them at the same resolution on the 27".

    But I agree, what was wrong with the 24" anyway ?
  22. Vanan Navarasan macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2011
    On a tiny island in ASEA

    Hi did you had to return the keyboard and mouse as well? Will u be able to re-order a 21 inch BTO again? how long the return process takes?
  23. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006

    This is the main reason why I also went with the 27", the 3.4GHz CPU and 2GB GPU upgrades aren't available in the 21.5".

    Honestly, I love all of the screen real estate, especially after using it all this time.
  24. SimonBlanckaert macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011
    Does the 21,5 inch model also have an IPS display?

    PPI (= sharpness) is only marginally lower than on the 27 inch, 102 vs 109.
  25. mackage macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2011
    The easiest way to do it is to return everything and just place a new order for the 21.5".

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