Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The 21” iMac’s Design Compromises

Chris Armstrong:

Putting form over function in a desktop computer initially sounds nuts: why would the thinness matter if performance suffers? There’s plenty of space on a desk, and desks don’t complain about weight.

I’d argue that the move, although unfortunate for some users, was the right thing to do. This becomes clearer after examining the 21” iMac’s bigger sibling, the 27” model.

Armstrong argues that had Apple given the 21″ model a 3.5″ hard drive like the 27″ model instead of a 2.5″ hard drive, the smaller iMac would have looked like the big one’s ugly sibling. While that’s true, the end result is that the 21″ isn’t as good as the 27″ model — even though it looks better, it performs worse than it would have.

But what Armstrong curiously doesn’t argue is that these performance losses will likely go without notice for the vast majority of 21″ iMac customers. That is to say that the performance tradeoff is worth it for most people.