DEV Community

Cover image for How and why I gave up the MacBook Pro... for the iMac 27"
Jean-Michel (
Jean-Michel (

Posted on

How and why I gave up the MacBook Pro... for the iMac 27"

This started as a comment to this article, but it ended up being way too long. To recap, @dzello is happy with his new MacBook Pro 16" because, while expansive, it may be worth investing in it because of high end specs, a better keyboard, ... Read the whole thing here:

I was a big fan of the MacBook Pro, but the last one I got died in November last year. Because of money constraints I had in November, I looked at all the available options, and ended up giving up the MacBook Pro.

In the end, I chose to switch to something both very similar and quite different to the MacBook Pro:

Apple iMac (27-inch, 2017)

Operating System

I was considering switching to Linux or Windows, because those have improved a lot while Mac OS has stagnated in the recent years as far as my needs are concerned.

But I stayed to the same operating system, and I'm happy that's it's the case because I'm not distracted by the tentation to play with all the new toys available.

CPU, Trackpad, Speakers

They are good, as in the case of the MacBook Pro 16"

I bought the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 for 130€



I don't think I would need more, but you can find good affordable external hard drives


The 5k display is splendid.

The big upgrade compared to the MacBook:

My screen is 27" instead of 16"


Something like the stiff butterfly switch keyboard will never be a problem with an iMac. You just buy another keyboard. Done.

In fact I have bought a keyboard that is much better than the one from the macbook =>


RAM is a big issue because I do Android Development

I upgraded to 24GB for 90€.


Total cost was around 2.000€

I bought additional insurance, because like this is something I need to do my work.

Initially I wanted to buy it from Apple directly. But I wanted to have a credit on two years, because why would I buy cash something I would use for at least two years?

I gave up buying from Apple because they have 6% interest rates. I went to a local shop in Berlin, who offered me a two years credit for 0%.

This was surprising. I understand why people buy better computers from Apple for a premium price, but what is the reasoning for thinking that credits from Apple are better?

Lack of mobility is great

Ok, this was the most surprising thing of my two months with the iMac .

Obviously a big difference between the MacBook and the iMac is that the second is not mobile.

I have embraced this constraint. I now actually prefer that my main programming station is not available everywhere everytime.


It gives me more structure.

There is a time and a place for me to do programming.

When I'm in this place, I have things I often didn't have when I was programming outside.

Like a good chair. Like good luminosity. Despite all those Medium articles, programming in a beach is in fact stupid.

When I'm not in this place, then I'm happy to do something else than programming.

What? How do I even live without a MacBook?

I have a few strategies:

  • When I need internet like for a meeting, I use a simple iPad or a Chromebook. I don't actually need to have a programming workstation.
  • When I am in a cafΓ© and need to write, answer emails, do project management, I use a Chromebook or an iPad, I don't actually need to have a programming workstation.
  • When I am at a meetup, I prefer talking to people, I don't actually need to have a programming workstation.
  • When I meet people, I listen to them and take notes on a chinese technology called "Paper".

Note: you may have read me saying that you can do programming on a Chromebook.

Yes, I could do it. But should I?. I embraced the constraint to not program anytime from everywhere, so I usually don't. I just use Visual Studio Code and the command-line tools of my static website generator. So writing yes, programming no.

Is this for everyone?

No, nothing is for everyone.

The issue right now is more than everybody thinks that the MacBook Pro is for everybody. That very much included myself until not so long.

I would challenge that assumption.

After having switched to the iMac, I am not looking back.

Top comments (8)

undecided profile image

Me to iMac at home but for mobility I use the old laptop with Linux I just push my code to the Github and continue code at home.

yuridevat profile image
Julia πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» GDE

Nice, thanks for your insight.

dzello profile image
Josh Dzielak πŸ”†

Good perspective here. I have a hackintosh desktop in my office and will still be using that more than the laptop when I'm not travelling. I agree that having a stationary computer just for work is great and helps create good habits, same for working in a consistent environment with good light and not much noise. In other words the opposite of a beach 🌴

pavelloz profile image
PaweΕ‚ Kowalski • Edited

Yeah, I think in general its good to have at least 2 computers, no matter form factor - one for work, one for not necessairly work.

iMac + additional display is excellent for frontend work (ie. when you need code editor, design and browser at the same time).

Laptop on the other hand is great if you are the type of person who needs to change environment while working. Couple years ago I needed that and i started day in the office, couple hours later i switched to caffe, then home. I think those breaks were important. Without laptop that would be pretty hard to do.

Having said that, my iMac is from 2013 (bought used), MBP from 2015 (bought used in 2018, because Apple 2016-late2019 is pretty useless if you need keyboard :D ) and i struggle to find an excuse to replace them with anything newer. Such an amazing machines.

gualtierofr profile image
Gualtiero Frigerio

Most of my work is in Xcode so I really need to have a Mac.
At office I've worked on an iMac for 7 years and then switched to a Mac Mini as we had plenty of displays to use and were able to save some money.
I also have a 2016 MBP I use at home and if I go visit a customer. If I had to chose only one Mac it would be the MBP as sometimes I need portability and I have to say is it powerful enough for Xcode, I have 16GB of RAM but as long as I don't open a lot of different simulators I'm fine.

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (

What is your use case for needing not only portability, but specifically portability of the computer where you do iPhone programming?

kailoon profile image
kailoon -ΛΛ‹ε‡―δΌ¦ΛŽΛŠ

Thanks for the sharings. I am on the same boat actually. I'd been using this mid-2013 MBA 13' for more than 6 years, hooked on to a Dell 4k display, it serves me great. However, I started to feel the machine is slowing down especially when working on graphic design works.

I was thinking to get the 16' base model as a replacement but realized that I have been working on this desk 90% of the time with the MBA connected to a monitor. I want to wait for a refresh model of the iMac. I'm still not 100% sure about the switch because sometimes, I still need the mobility when meeting clients or travelling.

After reading your post, I make the decision. I am going for the iMac and use the iPad while I am on the go. after all, iMac is a more powerful machine compare to the compact 16' but heavy MBP...

Thanks again for the sharings.

andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

Their laptop are awful every since past 2011.

Defects, last-year specs, touch bar, fewer ports.

I have a Hackintosh but sadly you have to rebuild for every upgrade.