iMac M3 2023 hands-on: Early impressions of Apple's new all-in-one

First impressions of Apple's refreshed all-in-one with M3 power

iMac 2023
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The refreshed iMac with the new M3 chip promises up to twice the performance of its predecessor in the same colorful package. While we'll need to wait to test and review it, the extra power of M3 seems to offer across-the-board improvements.


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    Powered by new M3 chip

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    Improvements for gaming

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    Stunning 24-inch 4.5K display

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    Same great color selection


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    Identical design

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You'd be hard-pressed to tell the new 24-inch iMac 2023 apart from its 2021 predecessor, but rest assured, there are some big improvements under the hood.

The iMac 2023, announced during Apple's Scary Fast October event, packs the next-generation Apple M3 chip. Compared to the previous iMac's M1 processor, the iMac with M3 promises up to twice the speed and better performance across a variety of tasks. Apple claims this new iMac M3 is the best yet for gaming, too.

That said, the machine comes in a familiar package. It's once again available in a rainbow of color options, and you'll still find all the ports on the back. The starting $1,299 / AUS $2,199 also still has its limitations, but overall, the iMac 2023 is already positioned to be one of the best all-in-one computers of the year. 

We'll need to conduct a full review before coming to our conclusions, so for now, here are our first impressions from going hands-on with the M3-powered iMac.

iMac M3 2023 specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iMac M3 2023
Starting price$1,299
ColorsBlue, Green, Pink, Silver, Yellow, Orange, Purple
CPU8-core CPU
GPU8-core GPU (up to 10-core)
Display24 inches (4480 x 2520)
Memory8GB (configurable to 16GB or 24GB)
Storage256GB (configurable up to 2TB)
Ports2x Thunderbolt / USB-4, 3.5mm headphone jack, Gigabit Ethernet (optional)
Size21.5 x 18.1 x 5.8 inches
Weight9.75 - 9.87 pounds

iMac M3 2023 price and availability

iMac 2023

(Image credit: Future)

The iMac M3 2023 is available for pre-order now, with full availability on Tuesday, November 7. Here’s where you can buy it now.

You'll pay the same price as you did for the iMac with M1. For the $1,299 / AU$2,199 starting price, you'll get the base model with 8-core GPU, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. For $1,499 / AU$2,499, you can get the model with a 10-core GPU. You can pay an additional premium a machine with 512GB SSD, too. 

iMac M3 2023 design and display

iMac 2023

(Image credit: Future)

Whereas the previous-gen iMac received a major redesign, this 24-inch iMac looks the same — it even comes with the same coats of paint. The machine comes in 7 color options: Blue, Green, Pink, Silver, Yellow, Orange, Purple, though once again the latter three colors aren't available on the entry-level model. You're still able to pick up color-matched accessories, too. 

The flat rectangular chassis measures about 0.45 inches thin and 14.75 inches tall from top edge to bottom lip. Lacking any vertical height adjustment, the iMac 2023 stands 18.1 inches tall with a hinge that lets you tilt the display slightly backwards if needed.

iMac 2023

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of the display, you'll find the same 24-inch 4.5K Retina panel with 500-nits of brightness. It also has the same 1080p FaceTime camera up top, the same port selection, and the same power cord that feeds through the machine's stand. Are you seeing the theme here?

iMac M3 2023 performance

iMac 2023

(Image credit: Future)

While the iMac 2023 might not look like anything new, performance should feel entirely fresh thanks to the M3 chip and 8-core CPU/10-core GPU. Unlike the MacBook Pro family, the iMac skipped over the M2 chip. As a result, the iMac 2023 should feel plenty more powerful compared the machine powered by M1. In fact, Apple claims that the iMac with M3 is twice as fast as the iMac with M1.

Not only does Apple silicon promise a fulfilling macOS experience with integrations across Apple's product ecosystem, but it should improve use across a variety of needs. The 16-core Neural Engine built on the chip is apparently 60% faster than it was on M1, resulting in improved on-device AI processing. The M3 processor also has a new Media Engine that provides hardware acceleration for video codecs like H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW, as well as support for AV1 decoding.

But what I'm perhaps most excited about is the gaming performance made possible by M3. Just like the A17 Pro found on the iPhone 15 Pro, the M3 supports accelerated ray tracing, letting games have more realistic lighting based on the environments. I demoed Stray on the new iMac, and thought the neon-lit alleys looked incredibly nuanced. With the M3, there's probably never been a better time to try out Mac gaming. 

iMac M3 2023 outlook

iMac 2023

(Image credit: Future)

Although the iMac M3 2023 might not seem revolutionary at a glance, it refreshes a popular all-in-one computer with some impressive-sounding performance upgrades. The new M3 silicon seems to offer improvements for all kinds of users, whether they be students, small business owners and even gamers. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef. 

  • thespanky1
    8GB of "non-upgradeable" RAM in a 2023 premium device is a hard nonstarter. And to kick it off, it will swap like crazy to it's non-replaceable SSD which will attain a much higher amount of writes...and you can't replace it if it fails. You can't upgrade it beyond a paltry 256 GB (seriously? 1 TB NVME SSDs cost $65). NO THANKS!

    Mod Edit - Inappropriate content