Apple 21.5-inch iMac review
It's a bit expensive, but this 21.5-inch iMac is powerful and fantastic to use - it's brilliant, if you're happy with the restrictions of Apple's design and software choices
Review Date: 25 Aug 2011
Price when reviewed: £999
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
Apple's iMac is the original and definitive all-in-one computer. It's by far the best-looking and - if you're of a certain mind-set - the most prestigious to own. The model we've looked at is also one of the most expensive for a 21.5in display size.
Although its price is rather high, the 21-5-inch iMac is also remarkably powerful for an all-in-one (AiO) computer. Its 2.5GHz Core i5-2400S processor achieved an overall score of 88 in our benchmark tests. That's a far better performance than most rival all-in-ones and is easily powerful enough to satisfy any desire you might have for power-hungry tasks like multimedia editing and encoding. If you want greater scope for bulk image editing or virtualisation, you may want to increase the computer's 4GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM, but we encountered no problems in our tests.
Comparing the iMac's gaming performance to its Windows rivals is rather hard as none of our reference games run on it. Instead, we've opted for a 3D game which does run on a Mac: Call of Duty 4. The 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6750M mobile graphics processor isn't exactly a gaming powerhouse, but we got a perfectly respectable frame rate of 41fps at a resolution of 1,920x1,080 (the screen's native resolution) and 4x AA, so you should be able to play most Mac games.
Whatever you play, it'll look gorgeous on the widescreen display. Colours are intensely rich and vibrant, lighting is even and contrast is excellent. Because Apple hasn't bothered with the often-redundant touchscreen that you see on so many Windows all-in-one PCs, there's no chance of the gritty look that such displays sometimes suffer. The screen is glossy, with the reflectiveness and tendency to pick up fingerprints that goes with it, but its overall quality makes up for these issues. It's easy to tilt and swivel, too.
You don't really need a touchscreen, as Apple's OS X 10.7 Lion operating system doesn't require one. It's easy to use and the bundled keyboard has shortcut keys to access Mission Control, which zooms out to show you all of your open windows. We're not big fans of the supplied mouse, though, which is small and a bit uncomfortable to use; we recommend taking the free upgrade to the Magic Trackpad, which lets you use multi-touch gestures to use the OS.
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