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The best iMac alternatives

The iMac G3 revolutionized home computers in 1998 with its colorful design, and Apple dominated the all-in-one desktop computer market for years because of its popularity. Even though the iMac remains a popular option, some users seek alternatives for a number of reasons. Some users prefer all-in-one desktop computers from other manufacturers because they would rather use Windows, while others decide to explore products in cheaper price ranges.

Other manufacturers have adopted the all-in-one design and offer alternatives to the iMac. If you’re thinking about getting an all-in-one desktop, we have some recommendations for you. These four computers are the best alternative to the iMac.

The best iMac alternatives

HP Envy 32

HP Envy 32

HP’s Envy 32 is simply one of the best iMac replacements you can find. It’s an HDR 600-class machine packing a 31.5-inch screen with a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, a 600-nit peak brightness, and a 6,000:1 contrast ratio. It’s a great solution for gamers too, with options for the GeForce GTX 1650, the RTX 2060, and the RTX 2080 (Max-Q) discrete GPUs.

Behind the screen, you’ll find either Intel’s ninth-generation Core i5-9400 or its Core i7-9700 processor, depending on the configuration. It’s complemented by 16GB or 32GB of system memory (two slots) and a barrage of different single and dual storage configurations. HP’s AIO PC supports Intel’s Optane memory too.

For connectivity, the HP Envy 32 provides plenty, including Thunderbolt 3, USB-C and USB-A at USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds, and HDMI 2.,0 input. The base supplies wireless charging for your compatible mobile devices. The 5MP camera features a cool pop-up design so you can tuck it away when not in use. You can read more about this product in our review of the larger, curved 34-inch model.

Surface Studio 2

Surface Studio 2

Sure, the starting price is rather steep at $3,499, but Microsoft’s second-generation Surface Studio is a great alternative for creators. The 28-inch touch screen and Zero Gravity hinge provide ample ways to inspire and keep those creative juices flowing. It supports both the Surface Dial (sold separately) and the Surface Pen (included) so you can draw, paint, and move the natural, mouse-free way.

The hardware of the Surface Studio 2 is a little outdated, with Microsoft only providing three set configurations based on Intel’s seventh-generation i7-7820HQ four-core processor, but it’s still plenty powerful. It’s complemented by Nvidia’s GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 discrete CPU, 16GB or 32GB of system memory, and 1TB or 2TB of storage. Connectivity includes four USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a single USB-C port 3.2 Gen 1 port, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an Ethernet port.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review

Dell Inspiron 27 7000 Series

Dell Inspiron 27 7000

If you’re hunting for an iMac alternative at a much lower starting price, Dell’s Inspiron 27 7000 series starts at just $799. It features a 27-inch Full HD InfinityEdge display framed by an 8mm border and complemented by a pop-up camera. It’s backed by Intel’s tenth generation Core i5-10210U or Core i7-10510U four-core CPU with integrated graphics — depending on the configuration — and 8GB or 12GB of system memory.

On the connectivity front, the Dell Inspiron 27 7000 Series includes both HDMI input and output. Additional ports consist of four USB-A and one USB-C, an audio combo jack, Ethernet, and an SD card reader. However, storage configurations offer slim pickings: The AIO PC has up to a 512GB primary SSD and a 1TB secondary 5,400RPM hard drive. As far as connectivity, the laptop supports Dell’s Mobile Connect app for Android and iOS.

Read our full Dell Inspiron 27 2700 review

Apple Mac Mini

Apple Mac Mini
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Mac Mini is a great alternative for anyone who either wants to continue using Apple products or who wants an iMac but can’t afford it. There are two models available for the Mac Mini: the Core i3-8100B and the i5-8500B. They cost $799 and $1,099, respectively, and can both be upgraded to Intel’s Core i7-8700B six-core chip. You get to make this decision before you even purchase the product when you buy it through Apple. 

The Mac Mini also includes 8GB to 64GB of system memory and up to 2TB of storage. You have one Ethernet port, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 2.0 output, and an audio combo jack for connectivity. Unlike the other units on this list, Apple’s Mac Mini requires an external display. One perk is that you can connect up to three, depending on the resolution and connection type.

The iMac may be revolutionizing the desktop experience, but it’s not the only option out there. With any one of these alternatives, including the Mac Mini, you can accomplish nearly everything the iMac can — and often for a lower price.

Read our full Apple Mac Mini review

HP Z2 Mini Workstation

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The HP Z2 Mini is small but performs like a beast, featuring better specs than some larger PCs on the market. The Z2 Mini can mount on the back of a monitor. It’s the ideal choice over an iMac if you need power but don’t have space for a large unit. 

There are different options available with the HPZ2 Mini. HP has come up with the Z2 Mini, which can be mounted directly to the back of a monitor. The Z2 Mini is a smart option for those who need a lot of power but want it in a more compact form. You get the benefits of the smaller form factor of an all-in-one PC without losing the ability to upgrade your monitor without replacing the entire system.

The HP Z2 Mini also boasts a variety of configuration options. If more horsepower is what you need, you can upgrade to 10th-Gen intel processors or the Xeon processor. The Z2 Mini is also compatible with video applications, with an option to include a Quadro P600 GPU. It’s compatible with video applications, and HP is upgrading the Z2 Mini to support an RTX 3000 graphics card. For those looking for advanced graphics hardware, there are so many reasons to consider the Z2 Mini over the iMac.

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
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