Spring has sprung, and with it comes a refresh of the iconic iMac series from Apple. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the 27-inch model, which costs a walloping $1,999 to start. For your money, you get a Core i5 3.1 GHz quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM, a 1 TB 7,200 RPM hard disk drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory all to itself. The display is a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution IPS panel with an LED backlight, but you can attach up to four external displays via the two Thunderbolt ports around back. Also included is an SD card slot and a DVD-ROM drive. Overall, the look and feel isn’t much different. It’s still slim and understated, yet sophisticated in that patently Apple way.
In terms of form factor, I have relatively few complaints. I do wish the power button was located elsewhere. For one, it’s sort of hard to find if you’ve never used the computer before. But on the other hand, it’s just way too easy to press on accident when tilting the display backwards. I do wish that the DVD-ROM would accept Blu-ray discs, especially since the display is so gorgeous, and the guts of this machine can definitely handle high def movies.
To keep in line with Apple’s mobile devices, the iMac has a FaceTime HD webcam on the front, making it ready-to-go for video chat.
There isn’t much else new about the iMac in terms of features. A touchscreen iMac would be an exciting development, but it’s not here yet. For now, those who want to experience the joy of multitouch can swap out their Magic Mouse for a Magic Trackpad. Also, it would be nice to be able to choose a matte screen rather than a glossy screen.
In terms of performance, it does well. Games like Portal 2 and Half-Life 2, which would be more at home on a Playstation or Xbox, do very well in full-res on this iMac setup. It plays back 1080p
HD video clips with ease as well. It can even pull off some video editing, but at the end of the day, it’s not really built for that. While it will certainly do for your home movies and web clips, you’ll probably want to opt for something a bit more powerful for professional video editing.
Others who have reviewed the iMac complain about the price. But let’s put that criticism to rest. We all know that you can get a desktop with comparable specs for much, much less from the likes of Dell and HP. But the thing about the Apple computers is that you if you want one, you want one. Whether you prefer the style and aesthetics or the corporate identity, or you’ve had good experience with their reliability and enjoy the Mac OS X environment, these are all valid reasons to pay a little extra. That all being said, if you’re looking for a general purpose family computer to sit in the living room for checking email and organizing photos, this machine may be a bit of overkill.