Conclusion: With the latest version of its all-in-one desktop, Apple left everything that was great about the 27-inch iMac alone (namely its best-in-class screen and beautiful design), while making some serious improvements to it internal components. In almost every way, this top-of-the line model beats every other AIO on the market.
Is the new iMac just another processor bump, or is it a serious upgrade?
9 May 2011
Summary: Every year I review the iMac, and every year my conclusion is the same: the iMac remains the single best all-in-one computer available. The 27-inch model is virtually the only machine of its class on the market, and it's hard to argue with its $1,699 entry price given that a similar IPS display alone costs nearly $1,000.
Conclusion: Casual Mac users will love the new iMac (Intel Core Duo), but professional users or anyone who uses graphics apps like Adobe Photoshop and video-editing software (such as Final Cut Pro) should wait until those tools are updated.
Pros: Intel Core Duo dual-core processor. Mini-DVI port for true dual-monitor usage. Front Row software is now peppier.
Cons: Many applications that are not optimized for Intel will run slower. Classic OS 9 environment no longer available.
Conclusion: Apple moves closer to the sweet spot with the iMac (Nvidia GeForce 9400M). This new all-in-one gives you the screen real estate you crave, along with strong multimedia capabilities, and the covetable Apple design, all for a reasonable price.
Pros: Both Windows- and Mac-compatible. Fully HD-capable screen. Recyclable aluminum-and-glass construction. EPEAT Gold certified and Energy Star 5.0 pre-certified. Minimal cables. 4GB of DDR3 RAM is standard. No crapware. iLife '09 included. Same price as old 20-inch model.
Cons: No media card slots. Mighty Mouse is slippery and annoying. Vista 64-bit installation complicated. No Blu-ray option. No eSATA. No numeric keypad and cursor control on standard keyboard. Only 90-days phone tech support.
Conclusion: Overall the 17″ iMac is a welcome improvement from the 15″ predecessor. The upgrades and features of the 17″ model are substantial enough to gain the attention of those looking for a serious long-term system. Our testing and use shows a significant increase in power and performance from the 15″ model, and the inclusion of expansion capabilities for both 802.11g and Bluetooth connectivity is a smart move by Apple.
Summary: No one wants to design desktop towers any more, but they've still failed to match Apple's aesthetic for all-in-ones. Rivals like the EeeTouch, Acer Aspire Z5610 , Sony Vaio L or Lenovo's IdeaCentre are technically worthy, but design-wise they just don't compare. The iMac is an astoundingly beautiful computer, all shiny unibody aluminium and unblemished sight lines. And with the latest revision to the 27in model, what's behind that attractive facade is quite likeable too.
Summary: Apple shows that the melding of hardware and software makes for a very compelling computer. Sleek and cool-running, the latest Apple iMac is arguably the best one-stop PC you'll find, at home running Windows or its native Mac OS X.
Pros: Great design, quiet
Cons: Won't run the latest games at highest settings thanks to its graphics card