iMac vs MacBook Air: Maxing out the specs
If your budget allows, then fully kitting out either an iMac or MacBook Air will get you a serious machine, and a noticeable difference in price. The 13-inch MacBook Air with the build to order spec of a 2.2GHz dual-core, Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, and 512GB flash-storage comes out to a grand total of £1,449. Add Apple Care to that price and you come in at £1,648 for a very quick, lightweight, and capacious laptop.
You can configure a 27-inch with a 4.0GHz quad-core, Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM (as this is a user serviceable part, you can buy more RAM later from third party suppliers such as Crucial instead of paying Apple's high prices), 512GB flash-storage (1TB is available, but the £480 price tag seems a little excessive) and even upgrade the graphics card to an AMD Radeon R9 M395X, all for £2,409. Apple Care will add a further £199 to the price.
At nearly a grand apart you would expect these machines to be different, and of course you'd be right, with the iMac being an absolute beast.
iMac vs MacBook Air: Buying advice
It's pretty obvious that iMacs and MacBook Airs are built for different purposes, but if you're considering the lower-end models then it's worth nailing down whether you really want a desktop or a laptop, or both. If your intention is that the computer will sit on a desk all its life, then the iMac is the way to go, and we'd recommend opting for the 2.8GHz model if your budget allows. Better yet, upgrade the hard drive to the 1TB Fusion for £80 if you can.
If you want to keep your spending under £1000 though, and don't mind a bit of non-Apple equipment, then the 11-inch MacBook Air, upgraded to 8GB RAM, is available for £829 and is easily the match of the base-level iMac. Add to this a third party display (around £80), bluetooth mouse, keyboard, external hard drive, and with a bit of shopping around you can have the best of both worlds for under a grand.
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