2020 Apple iMac (21.5-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) | $899 | Amazon
I was as surprised as you to see that they’re still selling this smaller-form, bezel-if-you-got-em Intel iMac, and yet here it is, in all its black-and-silver, tapered edge glory, Catalina wallpaper and all. You may wonder why you should bother with what is essentially the 2019 version with “2020" tacked onto the end of the name (in 2020 Apple refreshed the lineup by dropping the hard drive tier and making SSDs standard, at long last), and believe me, that was my first reaction, too. But I do have some thoughts, so bear with me here.
First: ports. This thing has ‘em. You buy the $1000 M1 iMac, and Apple gets reeeeaaaaal stingy with the ports, leaving you a headphone jack (hooray!), ethernet port on your power adapter (what? Trust me, it’s actually a lot nicer to have it there than you’d think) and two measly Thunderbolt 3 ports (boo!). The older machine, by contrast, has four USB 3.0 ports to complement its two Thunderbolt 3s. And if you are certain you prefer your ethernet port to be on the machine itself, it’s right there next to those ports. There’s also an SD-Card slot, which Apple nixed for its newer, more svelt machines. Notably missing from this machine, though, is the removable panel to upgrade the RAM. You can do it, of course, but it’s quite needlessly complicated.
The other benefit is in the CPU. Being powered by an Intel chip may be something of a disadvantage, but if all you’re doing is a little light web browsing, writing, or other processor-light projects, it’s more than enough for you, and you have the option of dual-booting Windows, making it the last small iMac to support that use case. So if you’re looking around for a brand new, never-been-used, 21.5" Intel iMac, this is probably one of your last chances to pick one up easily, and though it may seem pricey for what it is, it’s actually the cheapest Amazon has had this machine priced in the year and change since its release.
This post was originally published by Wes Davis on 11/28/2021 and updated by Keith Stawarz with new information on 12/18/2021