iMac vs. MacBook Pro: Which One Should You Buy?

iMac vs. MacBook Pro: Which One Should You Buy?


If you are torn between choosing an iMac and a MacBook Pro, this short review guide is for you. 

At the very outset, a MacBook Pro gives you the portability that an iMac cannot, so it is something to keep in mind. But, an iMac has tons of features and is value for your money. 

The iMac is generally on the less expensive side when compared to a comparable MacBook Pro. 

You should know that Apple has several different versions of both the MacBook Pro and iMac, so this guide will try to cover all these versions. 

#1. 27” iMac vs. 16” MacBook Pro

In this comparison, the iMac costs less but is much better than the Pro when it comes to performance

Let’s compare the specs for both:


The iMac offers a 3.1 GHz and 3.3 GHz 10th gen Core i5 and an eight-core 3.8 GHz 10th generation i7 processor. 

The MacBook Pro does not compare in this regard. It has a six-core 2.6 GHz 9th generation i7 processor. 

Clearly, the iMac is the winner here. 

RAM size:

On all three available models, the RAM for the iMac is limited to 8GB. The standard for the MacBook Pro is 16GB. You can upgrade the RAM on the iMac, so it is not a complete deal-breaker. 


GraphicsBoth the iMac and MacBook Pro are almost at par here. The AMD Radeon Pro graphics cards can be found in both versions.

The slight difference is in the card. The iMac has the Radeon Pro 5300, whereas MacBook Pro has the AMD Radeon Pro 5300M.

iMac has the upper hand given the top of its range model that has the best graphic card. There are ways you can customize the graphics card for a better overall experience. 


The MacBook Pro has a slight advantage here. The starter model has 512GB, whereas the comparable iMac has a 256GB SSD.
The top of the line on the MacBook has a 1TB SSD, but that is not the case with iMac since it only goes up to 512GB.
More storage can be added, but the limitation is 8TB on both the iMac and the MacBook Pro. 



Neither the iMac or MacBook Pro is particularly ergonomic, but the design is obviously a big reason why people buy into the Apple ecosystem. There are designs to improve the iMac, but nothing in store for the MacBook so far.

Giant screens are definitely the saving grace for the iMac. That is why a lot of designers prefer the iMac over the MacBook Pro. 

Which one should you choose?

iMac with custom options and extra RAM and storage is the way to go here. The MacBook Pro’s starter model is a good portable option too. #2. 21.5” iMac vs. 13” MacBook Pro

For a modest budget, both these models are good options. iMac is still generally less expensive than the MacBook Pro if you look at the starter model, which is outdated. If you remove that from the equation, then the price is comparable. 


macbookThe iMac has the upper hand here. You can purchase one with a 3.6 GHz quad-core 8th gen i3 processor, while the comparable MacBook only has a 1.4 GHz quad-core 8th gen Core i5. 

You also have a 2 GHz model for the MacBook Pro, but the price point is significantly higher. For the same price, you can get a 27” iMac with a 3.1 GHz processor. So, the MacBook Pro is definitely not the route you want to take. 


Both the MacBook Pro and iMac offer 8GB of RAM. The higher-end version of the MacBook Pro does offer more RAM, but you can upgrade the RAM on the iMac instead of paying a higher price for extra RAM. 


The iMac offers a ‘discrete Radeon Pro graphics card,’ whereas the MacBook Pro has an integrated version. To put this in perspective, discrete graphics offer better graphics, so the iMac comes out on top here. 


Both the Pro and iMac offer similar storage options. However, you should keep in mind that your Mac may not perform optimally with a lesser storage size if your files are hogging up your storage. You should have a dedicated cleaning schedule to free up memory. You can find a list of ways to clean up your Mac here. It will help you ensure your system runs smoothly. 


For fixed use-cases, the iMac is your best bet. For portability, the MacBook Pro makes more sense. 

Which one should you choose?

The tricked-out iMac is still the better out of the two. The MacBook Pro has a clear advantage: portability, but it takes second place for everything else. 


If you’re looking to get started with MacBooks, the 13” MacBook Pro is a good option. For iMacs, the 21.5” is a good way to get initiated. But if you’ve been using Apple devices, the 27” iMac and 16” MacBook Pro will be more your speed. 


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