Review: Apple's 27" iMac Delivers Svelte Computing That Refuses To Age

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Written by Tony Ibrahim     11/04/2012 | 07:22 | Category name i.e.HOME OFFICE

Apple pioneered the 27 inch all-in-one market and for almost two years sold the device unopposed. It's only recently Windows manufacturers have wisened up, with Samsung, HP and Asus offering 27" Windows renditions that could very well eat into Apple's market. With the current iMac approaching its first birthday, does it still prove desirable against the latest slew of Windows all-in-ones?

The new iMac is full of visual allure derived from its metal-and-glass unibody chassis. Like all modern Apple products, it promotes an understated design that continues to look good despite its age, evoking quality craftsmanship through premium materials and intelligible construction. Unlike its Windows rivals, sublime looks aren't limited to the screen alone, with the keyboard and mouse perpetuating its charisma.

Of course, some customers will be deterred by the iMac as it runs Apple's OS X software. Whereas Windows can effortlessly create professional content, OS X will appeal to customers who have an interest in multimedia creation, with its suite of easy-to-use photo, video and music editing software. Loyal Apple fans who have committed to an iPhone, iPod or iPad may see sense in buying an iMac as it plays a pivotal role in the Apple ecosystem. 

Our iMac review unit featured an Intel Core i7 processor operating at 3.4GHz, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a 250GB SSD and a 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card. More intensive users can up the RAM to 16GB, the hard drive to 2TBs and nominate the 2GB graphics card if they see fit, but for most day-to-day duties, ranging from web browsing, music management, video editing and your social networking, this set does just fine.

A 27 inch Apple iMac can be picked up from a deceptively reasonable $1,950, but once you start nominating extras—tinkering with different configurations—the price quickly rises. As an example, our higher up review unit barely scrapped in under $3,400, proving more expensive than similarly spec'd Windows alternatives.

Although it has the hardware to handle console-grade games, the iMac stumbles as a gaming device as it lacks the software support akin to Windows. In this category, game enthusiasts would be better serviced with a conventional Windows offering.

The iMac's screen merits its own mention due to its 2560 x 1440 resolution. The display articulates images and videos with utter clarity, while LED backlighting ensures colour is vivacious and spans a vast gamut. It's such a shame the iMac isn't positioned as an entertainment device like its Windows alternatives, lacking the option of a Blu-ray Drive and HDMI port. Instead Apple fails to take advantage of the screen, preventing the iMac from being a versatile entertainment machine.

Elegantly concealed at the base of the iMac are potent speakers that are capable of holding their own when playing music. Focusing on sound reproduction rather than manipulation, they're powerful enough to fill an ordinary room with atmosphere and are as competent as you'd expect from an all in one PC.

Its keyboard and mouse are an extension of great design and are fit for duty. Keys respond to ginger input, while the mouse canvasses the screen effortlessly, responding eagerly to instruction.

One of the great things about the iMac is it manages to conceal invasive features, such as the disk drive and power button, in an effort to remain beautifully symmetrical. Finding the on button requires some groping (at the back of the bottom right corner) while connection ports can be subtly found at the bottom right hand side. The traditional Mini-Display port has been replaced by two new thunderbolt ports, which will transfer data across two channels at a rate of 10 gigabits per second. Furthermore, it also supports video, audio and power, replacing messy cabling with a single neat wire.

When it comes to design, Apple's iMac continues to set the benchmark beyond the reach of its Windows competitors. Every aspect of it—even the power cable—has been endlessly engineered to ensure it emanates allure without sacrificing performance. If you want a great all-in-one computer, the iMac deserves a look. But, if you want something a little more versed in entertainment, check out the Windows all-in-ones instead. 

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Unparalleled design; High resolution screen; great peripherals;

Cons:

No HDMI; No Blu-ray; Limp gaming ecosystem;