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.
Well I finally took to plunge to get this iMac after months of indecision. I was very dubious about the price, getting used to a new system and having to obtain new software for day-to-day use! A lifetime pc user and not always the best at change, after one day of ownership I am thrilled and utterly convinced with Macs.
The screen is crystal clear and the 21.5 inches fits in my living room perfectly and far out performs my HD TV!. The keyboard is small but very easy to use. The 'Return' key is much smaller than I'm used to but that will come with time! The magic mouse lives up to its name. It is sooo nice not to have wires everywhere. Initial set-up is quick and painless. Whilst getting used to different names of programs over pc lingo will take me a little time, the software is far superior to windows in every way and actually very intuitive. Importing photos form a USB Flash backup was a breeze and the picture quality is amazing. Media Player is positively archaic ! This machine is so quite when in use.
Startup and shut down times are so fast I now take pleasure in actually sitting there for a few seconds whilst it happens instead of wondering off and doing something else whilst my 3 year old laptop takes its time! Yes the price may be steep at first glance before you purchase this computer, but the components, build quality and software speak for themselves. I did have reservations about having to purchase additional software to create new word/ excel document equivalents, but with some perseverance on google I managed to obtain a free licence for iWorks. Having imported all my documents, files and photos, the iMac is still running as fast it was before. It is also lovely not to be tied into some anti-virus software that again slows down your system.
I am completly convinced of my iMac over pc and will report back in a few months having lived and worked with it for a while.
*** P.S. IF you will buy this iMac 21.5 inch I suggest you have compare prices before you decide at: www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B004Z139FS?ie=UT
By Robinson2012 on 26 Aug 2011
Another fanboy review from Computer Shopper.
The specs are moderate for the price, better than previous iMacs and if I were to buy one I would appreciate the graphics chip. There is little video RAM though.
I won't buy one though for the simple reasons that (a) I don't think MacOSx is a step up from WindowsXP, let alone 7. And even more fundamentally, Apple have never acknowledged the overheating issues common to all their iMacs.
This computer will likely be no different and could suffer from the same temperature related incessant crashing. It's certainly very hot to touch, even idling.
This issue has been suppressed by Apple, including deleting relevant threads from Apple fora. But I would expect Computer Shopper to address it.
If your model doesn't start overheating after a couple of years, then you are lucky and simply have an OK computer that would warrant 4 stars for the price/spec balance.
By Aneddfa on 30 Aug 2011
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