A detailed look at the advanced display technology of the Apple iMac M3.

(Image: © Apple)

Though Apple's new M3 CPU makes this machine an even faster all-in-one, it's still simple to recommend to families, students, and anybody else who wants a Mac for basic work and play. The Apple iMac M3 looks and sounds just as nice as its M1-powered predecessor.

  • Bright, beautiful (and thin) 4.5K display
  • Speedy performance
  • Great audio
  • Solid 1080p webcam
  • $1,299 model feels underpowered
  • Lack of height or angle adjustment hurts

Although the new Apple iMac M3 ($1,299 starting price) shares a striking resemblance with its 2021 predecessor, it is powered by the brand-new Apple M3 processor.

The 24-inch iMac receives a much-needed boost from that state-of-the-art piece of Apple silicon, while the previous model was powered by 2020's Apple M1 CPU. Although the M3 update provides the 2023 iMac greater power and capabilities than the previous model—such as improved wireless networking, faster image processing, and compatibility for newer graphics technology like hardware-accelerated ray tracing—that model is still sufficient for basic work.

You would struggle to distinguish the two models based only on appearances. The new iMac M3 from Apple is available in the same seven colors as its predecessor, costs around the same, and has many of the same problems as the 2021 model, which was nonetheless among the finest computers of the year in spite of its shortcomings.

In 2023, does the brand-new M3 model of Apple's all-in-one still merit a spot on that list? I'll explain why I believe it does in this iMac M3 review.


Category Specification
iMac M3 2023 Starting price: $1,299
Colors Blue, Green, Pink, Silver, Yellow, Orange, Purple
CPU 8-core CPU
GPU 8-core GPU (up to 10-core)
Display 24 inches (4480 x 2520)
Memory 8GB (configurable to 16GB or 24GB)
Storage 256GB (configurable up to 2TB)
Ports 2x Thunderbolt / USB-4, 3.5mm headphone jack, Gigabit Ethernet (optional)
Webcam 1080p
Size 21.5 x 18.1 x 5.8 inches
Weight 9.75 - 9.87 pounds


Orders for the new M3-powered 24-inch iMac may be placed on Apple's website for as little as $1,299, and the first computers are expected to ship to shops and customers on Tuesday, November 7. You must purchase an iMac M3 with a VESA mount adapter in place of a stand if you would like one with a VESA mount adapter on the rear for attaching it to a wall or monitor arm.

The base-model $1,299 iMac M3 has an Apple M3 processor with an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and two Thunderbolt 4 connections. It's good to see that for the same price as the 2021 iMac, you can have a more powerful CPU with an additional GPU unit.

These entry-level iMacs, however, still only come in four colors instead of the seven that higher-end iMacs offer, and they now again come with a Magic Keyboard that isn't Touch ID compatible. When Apple used this tactic to sell the 2021 iMac, I detested it, so seeing that buyers are being coerced into buying more for the more costly iMac models if they desire one in orange, yellow, or purple is unsettling and perplexing once again. Do these colors not work well with the iMac that is intended for beginners?

(Image credit: Future)

Apple appears to think so, as the improved iMac M3, available in seven colors—blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange, or purple—comes with a 10-core GPU and an 8-core CPU for $1,499 dollars. There are two Thunderbolt 4 connections and two USB-C ports on the rear of this model, as well as all of the more costly ones. You also get a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The iMac M3's M3 chip is limited to an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU; however, if you need additional memory, you may spend extra to boost the RAM and storage. At $2,699, you can get an iMac M3 model that is fully loaded with up to 24GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage.

Additionally, you'll need to spend an additional $50 if you want a Magic Trackpad, even though every iMac M3 comes with an Apple Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard (though, once again, the $1,299 versions come with keyboards without Touch ID compatibility until you pay $50 to upgrade). With my hand and wrist problems, I find the Magic Mouse to be nearly useless, therefore I'm happy that Apple sent a Trackpad along with our review device.

(Image credit: Future)

The fully updated M3 processor (8-core CPU, 10-core GPU), 24GB of RAM, 2TB of SSD storage, and a complete Magic Keyboard, Trackpad, and Mouse were all included in the pink iMac M3 that Apple supplied us for evaluation. Upgrading to the same bundle straight from Apple would run you $2,700.


Though I did enjoy the way the 24-inch iMac M1 looked, it's not the worst thing that the new iMac M3 looks almost exactly like its predecessor.

Even though the iconic "big monitor wrapped in silver aluminum" look of iMacs was discontinued not too long ago, seeing a vibrant pink computer on my desk when I wake up and enter my living room is still a strange but pleasant sensation. Like its predecessor, the iMac M3's paint treatment startled me a little bit when I saw it in person. Our review unit's back is so intense that it almost looks red, while the front is a very subdued pink.

(Image credit: Future)

And all the components you'll need to use the iMac M3 are located on the back. There are just a few Thunderbolt/USB-C ports available, which helps reduce frustration as all the ports are essentially the same and arranged in a row along the back left side of the display. The power button and ports are all mounted on the back of the display within (relatively) easy reach. However, if you don't want to spin the display around, you will have to blindly grope around to find a port.

(Image credit: Future)

Regretfully, the metal stand that annoyed me with the iMac M2's predecessor still supports the iMac M3. It annoys me because although there is a device that allows you to slightly tilt the screen forward or backward, there is no way to change the height or rotation.

While the display's little rotation feature would have been a good addition, the inability to modify the height merely seems unkind to those who are not inside a specified, narrow height range.

I know that calling industrial design "cruel" is a strong term, but come on, I'm six feet four, and there's no way I could ever use the 24-inch iMac comfortably if I set it up on a desk with the keyboard and mouse in front of me. In order to utilize this Mac efficiently, I essentially need to either buy one with a VESA mount adapter and install it on an arm or wall, or make an improvised tiered desk setup with the iMac perched precariously on the thickest, sturdiest books I can locate.

(Image credit: Future)

In contrast, the $400 1080p Dell touchscreen display that I'm now evaluating features tilt and height adjustments. Actually, the majority of the displays I've examined for Tom's Guide include some degree of height and rotation adjustment, so it kind of stings for Apple to leave out such a widely used ergonomic feature.

Review of the Apple Imac M3: Display

The iMac M3's dominant feature is its 24-inch 4.5K (4,480 x 2,520 pixels) Retina display, which is still as stunning and captivating as it was on the 2021 edition. The iMac M3 is bright and vivid, and I never once observed any graphics performance difficulties or screen issues while playing games or streaming movies and TV shows on it.

Sadly, as of 2023, HDR (high dynamic range) and related technologies like Dolby Vision are still not supported on the iMac's screen. These days, HDR and related technologies are becoming more and more widespread in games, movies, and television shows.

(Image credit: Future)

That is not to argue that the iMac M3 offers lower-quality experiences than it does; on the contrary. Even with streaming versions of movies like The Green Knight, I was extremely pleased with how our review unit looked, and because of the broad viewing angles, I could imagine watching this from the far corner of a living room and still being able to see and hear everything that was going on screen.

Games also look fantastic on it, and when I was going through a few Hades levels, I wasn't too concerned about HDR levels; but, when I was playing No Man's Sky, I noticed that some of the colors in space were oddly bright and crisp.

Display iMac M3 Apple Studio Display HP Envy 34
Average brightness (nits) 479.8 518.4 417
Peak brightness (nits) 508 (center) 563 (center) 492 (center)
sRGB color gamut 108.2% 114.1% 159.1%
DCI-P3 color gamut 76.6% 80.8% 112.7%
Delta-E 0.2 0.21 0.26

We put the display through a several rounds of testing in our lab to be sure Apple wasn't lying when it said the panel could reach brightness levels of up to 500 nits. Our iMac M3 review unit attained an average brightness of 479 nits, with a peak brightness of 508 nits precisely in the middle of the screen, according to our Klein K10-A colorimeter reading.

That fits perfectly with Apple's marketing strategy and is fairly bright for a monitor. The color accuracy of the iMac M3's display is likewise rather good, with a Delta-E score of 0.2 (a score of 0 being optimal) indicating 108.2% of the sRGB color spectrum and 78.6% of the more exacting DCI-P3 color gamut.

(Image credit: Future)

Unfortunately, we weren't able to test the iMac 2021 as completely as we examined the 2023 M3 model because of review time limits, so I'm not sure how much better or worse the display is than the iMac M1. Though the HP PC can show a larger portion of the DCI-P3 color gamut and is almost as bright as the iMac M3, which can be purchased for as cheap as $1,299, this all-in-one is brighter and more color-accurate than the HP Envy 34 all-in-one that we tested last year.

Additionally, if you're considering purchasing the ideal desktop Mac configuration for your requirements, you should be aware that the 27-inch Apple Studio Display ($1,599) and the new iMac are almost identical in terms of brightness and color accuracy. Though not by much, Apple's standalone 5K display is still sharper and brighter than the less expensive iMac M3.


As was already said, the iMac M3's port array is practically the same as that of its predecessor. "The port selection is pretty anemic," as I noted in my review of the iMac M1 in 2021, and this is also the case with the entry-level iMac M3, which has just two Thunderbolt 4 connections on the back and a headphone connector on the left side of the screen.

A Gigabit Ethernet port on the power adapter and an extra pair of USB 3.0 Type-C added to the back next to the Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports are included when you upgrade from the entry-level model for $200 or more.

The new M3 CPU hasn't made the iMac any less of a monstrous performance powerhouse than it was before. However, it has enhanced an already quick all-in-one, enabling it to multitask, play games, and complete tasks faster than any previous iMac.

href="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEj2Aonq8hSEGlJcljTH3icNNxapyWKiISb-M2Pr1kOMDyXwhpkdv_e7PW2OWbzrXzGqi1wnDG8tfsMo_4WRpL3qOUwNHdGMt4CpJaDLPYDO978eB7E3vr910khh2BH5CNmcPGEWWAiY00NbV-IutXxAXirpePWM9oZed0Z-qnBdSyXyc5mMVS_Mo7nj2Fyb/s1600/V9pU49K8mUfNXPrtDifnt3-970-80.jpg.webp" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding: 1em 0px; text-align: center;">(Image credit: Future)

In case you would rather connect to the internet wirelessly, you should be aware that the iMac M3 is compatible with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, which is an improvement over the Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 compatibility found in the previous generation of iMac M1s manufactured in 2021.

Even if I wish the entry-level iMac had been a little more affordable, the ease of use of the ports isn't anything I can really complain about. Even power users may find the more expensive models' expanded four-port array to be a bit lacking, but since this is an all-in-one computer meant to be desk-mounted, you can easily make up for any features you really miss, like USB-A ports or an SD card reader, by simply purchasing an adapter, dongle, or hub to place on the same desk.

Review of the Apple Imac M3: Performance

The new M3 CPU hasn't made the iMac any less of a monstrous performance powerhouse than it was before. However, it has enhanced an already quick all-in-one, enabling it to multitask, play games, and complete tasks faster than any previous iMac.

Having said that, allow me to adjust your expectations for this new iMac. I never felt constrained or slowed down by the system's lack of resources while using our review unit, which had an M3 chip that was fully optimized (8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and 24GB RAM). I was also able to switch between tasks with ease, keeping up to 20 tabs open in Chrome and streaming music from iTunes without any lag.

(Image credit: Future)

I also spent a nice time playing games and streaming movies, including both classics like No Man's Sky and more recent titles like Lies of P and Total War: Warhammer III. Although I had a decent time playing such games, the iMac M3's graphics performance was well below that of the finest gaming PCs.

This is partially due to the iMac's lack of support for certain cutting-edge graphical features that are standard on contemporary gaming PCs and game consoles, such as variable refresh rate and HDR. A portion of the reason behind this is that many games simply cannot be run well at the iMac's native 4.5K resolution with the stock M3 processor.

Because of the enhanced power and capabilities of the M3 CPU, the iMac M3 is plainly quicker and more powerful than its predecessor, but it's still not a PC I would suggest to someone who enjoys playing games.

However, because this iMac is a multipurpose all-in-one, it's simple to suggest it to families and children for jobs like online surfing, schoolwork, light gaming, and simple coding or photo/video editing.

Performance Test iMac M3 (2023) HP Envy 34 (2022) iMac M1 (2021)
Geekbench 5 (single-core) 2,235 1,621 1,739
Geekbench 5 (multi-core) 10,745 7,856 7,684
Handbrake (minutes:seconds) 6:46 8:23 13:38

That's based on our performance testing findings as well as my personal experience with the iMac M3. We were able to put the new iMac through our performance testing lab and provide you with a more comprehensive analysis on how well this Mac works under strain because we had a little more time with it than we had with the M1 model I examined in 2021.

Furthermore, I can attest that the new 2023 iMac M3 performs far better than the previous model, having personally conducted some of these tests on the outdated 2021 iMac M1. In the Geekbench 5 multi-core CPU benchmark, the iMac 2023 review unit achieved a good score of 10,745 thanks to the M3 processor, which is much better than the iMac M1's result of 7,684.

Additionally, it outperforms the HP Envy 34 all-in-one ($1,999 starting, $2,639 as reviewed) that we examined the previous year, even though that Windows 11 PC featured an older 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU as opposed to the more recent 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake CPUs that it now has.

However, you know what's fascinating? Our testing revealed that this iMac M3 performed quite similarly to Apple's Mac mini M2, which was introduced at the beginning of the year. Not that we tested the upgraded M2 Pro model for our Mac mini M2 review; rather, what I'm saying is that the $799 Mac mini M2, which we also tested earlier this year, with its standard M2 processor, did almost as well in our testing as the more costly and newer iMac M3.

Here's a summary of some important performance tests we conducted on the previous three generations of desktop Macs with Apple hardware to help you understand what I mean.

Performance Test iMac M3 (2023) Mac mini M2 (2023) iMac M1 (2021)
Geekbench 5 (single-core) 2,235 1,959 1,739
Geekbench 5 (multi-core) 10,745 9,048 7,684
Handbrake (minutes:seconds) 6:46 6:46 13:38
BlackMagic Disk Speed (read) 3,008 2,933 DNR
BlackMagic Disk Speed (write) 3,289 3,220 DNR
PugetBench for Adobe CC: Photoshop 1,082 963 DNR
3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited 8,180 6,887 DNR

The data show that while there is a gradual rise from M1 to M3, there is only a little difference between the Mac mini M2 and iMac M3. Interestingly, although our iMac M3 review unit's M3 processor beats the M2 in nearly all tests, the difference was minimal when it came to raw CPU performance and disk read/write rates. Heck, the M2 Mac mini outperforms the new iMac M3 in our video editing test, which measures the amount of time it takes a PC to use Handbrake to convert a 4K video clip down to 1080p.

During the review process, I also had some chance to run some gaming benchmarks on the iMac M3, and the results confirm what I observed in person: this all-in-one is a Mac that can play games, but not very well.

Unfortunately, because many of the titles we use don't run natively on macOS, it's difficult for us to adequately evaluate Mac gaming performance vs. competitive Windows computers' gaming performance. Additionally, I don't have a lot of historical data to compare against the outcomes of our iMac M3 game testing because we haven't usually performed many game tests on Mac desktops (as few can run them).

Gaming Test iMac M3 (2023) Mac mini M2 (2023) iMac M1 (2021)
Civilization VI: Gathering Storm 35.9 44.8 28.7
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 34 DNR DNR
Borderlands 3 21.4 DNR DNR
Total War: Warhammer 3 [Low/Ultra] 49/20 DNR DNR

Nevertheless, maybe you can benefit from what I have to offer. As you can see, the iMac still struggles to run recent games at respectable framerates, even when you play them at a lower resolution of 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) rather than the native 4.5K.

For example, using Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm graphics benchmark at 1080p, we were able to get a high framerate of 35.9 frames per second; but, when playing the same game at native resolution, the result lowers to 20 FPS.

That's a little disappointing because, in my opinion, the iMac M3 fails to attain a smooth frame rate of at least 30 fps in most games, unless you drastically reduce the settings. In fact, the new iMac performed worse in Civ VI than the older, less powerful Mac mini M2 that we tested at the beginning of the year, as you can see from the chart of results above.

I would be negligent, though, if I failed to mention that the M3 processor supports sophisticated gaming capabilities like mesh caching and hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which the earlier M2 chip does not. However, you might be better suited spending your money on one of the new MacBook Pro M3 laptops with its more powerful M3 Pro and M3 Max CPUs if you truly want a Mac for gaming.


The iMac M3's six-speaker sound system, which consists of two tweeters and four woofers, produces incredibly clear sound and good bass for the price. Dolby Atmos and Apple's Spatial Audio technology, which use directional filters and other techniques to create the illusion that sound emanating from the iMac is truly occurring in 3D space around you, are also supported by the speakers. It seems like a bigger, lusher, deeper soundscape to my untrained ears, and I like the added pop of sound on songs by artists like Rage Against the Machine, Megan Thee Stallion, and Huey Lewis & The News.

(Image credit: Future)

However, crisp and clear sound is still produced even while watching movies or listening to music without Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio support. The iMac's speakers produced a fantastic sound quality when playing my favorite Spotify playlists, but I'm too poor to get the truly good things. They can become rather loud, too, so if you have neighbors, you might want to be careful while turning up the volume.

Although a house speaker system or standalone set of speakers can provide superior sound, integrated speakers that sound this fantastic are an uncommon find. Although other all-in-one computers, such as the HP Envy 34, do have good built-in speakers, very few can equal the iMac's sound quality.


Look your best on Facetime, Zoom, and other videoconferencing applications because the iMac M3's 1080p FaceTime camera, which is positioned in the middle of the top bezel, is excellent for selfies and video chats

The iMac's triple-mic array appears to function fairly well, and although I'm not sure if I'd suggest using it for tasks where audio quality is crucial (like podcast recording), it's more than adequate for simple tasks like FaceTiming with family—I had no issues with sound quality while doing so.

Along with its efforts to enhance audio and visual quality, the M3 processor also packs even more power and does all the same tricks as the previous M1, so you can expect to see features like the gesture-triggered video responses that made their debut with macOS Sonoma. If you haven't used responses in video conversations on macOS Sonoma yet, check out this guide.


If you're seeking to upgrade from an iMac M1 or are just in the market for a new Mac, the 2023 iMac M3 is a wonderful all-in-one PC that's simple to suggest.

The 2023 model has all the same advantages as its predecessor, including an eye-catching, amazingly tiny display, excellent speakers, and an exquisite, colorful style. Because the 2021 M1 iMac delivers so much in such a little container, it was simple for me to suggest it to families, kids, teachers, and anybody else who desired a deskbound Mac for light work and play.

Because the iMac M3 still has a $1,299 starting price and comes with the extra features and processing power of the M3 processor, it's an even better offer. Better performance in activities like gaming and video editing pays financially, as does higher-quality video during phone conversations. The iMac M3 is an excellent choice if you're looking for a new desktop Mac and you like the notion of an all-in-one since it offers serious gaming and creative work along with acceptable performance at almost everything in a compact that costs less than $2,000.

That's a better value than shelling out more than $2,000 for an Apple Studio Display ($1,599) and a Mac mini M2 ($799), which would be another option to assemble a desktop Mac system that would perform similarly to the iMac M3, as you can see from our tests.

For this reason, it's difficult to strongly advise current iMac M1 owners to switch to the new M3 model: It still has all of the same flaws and isn't all that much quicker or better. The fact that there isn't much space to move the display on the stand is frustrating, especially considering how many Windows all-in-one competitors have built-in VESA mount brackets and provide more choices for adjusting the display's height, angle, and tilt. The fact that you essentially have to pay Apple an extra $200 if you want one in purple also seems absurd.

You do get what you pay for, though, with a fast Mac all-in-one that looks and sounds amazing—it's one of the greatest all-in-one laptops of the year—because of the additional ports and other features that come with it.

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