A great-looking, well-built, impressive computer - but it's certainly not cheap
The iMac is a beautiful piece of technology.
For all the noise about the iPad, this is Apple's best-ever product. It has been making these all-in-one desktop computers since 1998 and though the current design dates from 2006 its new version has more power.
The 27in widescreen display has an LED backlight, giving more even colour and brightness around the whole screen.
Put simply, it looked stunning. While the size of the screen makes this computer both big and expensive, films and video looked excellent on it, as did games. The 27in iMac is great for watching BBC iPlayer or even DVDs.
Unfortunately Apple still refuses to recognise that some people are buying films on Blu-ray, so not only is there no Blu-ray drive on this computer, there's no option to add one either.
While there is nothing much new on the outside, what's inside has been significantly overhauled. For an ‘all-in-one' computer that combines the processing unit and screen into a single device, the iMac is formidable.
The one Apple sent us to review is a custom configuration that costs £1809 – to select it on the Apple website you need to choose the most expensive standard 27in model at £1,649, and select the 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor. The other specifications remain the same. While it was fast in use, for most people the cheaper standard processor (3.1GHz Intel Core i5) will be fast enough.
The iMac has 4GB of memory, a 1TB (1,000GB) hard disk and an AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card with 1GB of its own memory. Lab test results were excellent: a demanding recent game with all the detail settings turned up and in the screen's full resolution played at frame rates exceeding those of the fastest Windows PCs we have reviewed.
Another new addition is Thunderbolt, a new high-speed data transfer socket developed by Intel. Billed as a potential replacement for USB, it's capable of very fast transfer speeds but the technology is so new that at the moment, essentially no devices use it, and Apple doesn't even supply a Thunderbolt cable with the iMac.
However, it does include the excellent Mac OS X Snow Leopard operating system and iLife software for working with photos, music, podcasts and videos: even though Windows programs don't work on the Mac most people won't need to shell out for any extra programs.
All in all, this is a seriously good all-in-one computer that eschews the pointless touchscreens of so many Windows all-in-ones.
The price is high – for most people one of the cheaper models such as the £1,399 27in one will be better value – but if you want the best all-in-one computer around, this is pretty much it.
Read more reviews
A superb large-screen computer, though the increase in power isn't quite worth the extra cost above cheaper versions
Great screen; very powerful; looks fantastic and is well designed
No Blu-ray; the processor upgrade makes it too expensive
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