Apple’s 27-inch drool machine is back in its 2011 avatar. The physical form factor remains same as its predecessor. What has improved are the specifications under the hood and the addition of a little port Apple likes to call Thunderbolt. Is the iMac still the legend-daddy of all-in-one’s or has the competition caught up?
In a word, the device looks HUGE! It is definitely the largest all-in-one available in the market with an edge-to-edge glass covering the Super HD LED 27-inch display that boasts of a resolution of 2560 x 1440.
The design of the device stays true to tradition with a strong built unibody aluminum chassis and all the ports neatly laid out at the rear of the device.
The wireless keyboard is chicklet style, slim and very comfortable to type on and runs on two AA batteries. The mouse is the multi-touch magic mouse that many have come to love from Apple but we would personally prefer to swap it for the magic trackpad. The mouse also runs on two AA batteries.
Apple has gone all out and put some impressive hardware under the hood. The device runs on a second-generation core i5 Sandy Bridge Processor clocked at 2.7GHz upgradable to 3.1GHz, 4GB of RAM, upgradable to 8GB, 1TB of storage, upgradable to 2TB and AMD Radeon 6770 HD Graphics upgradable to AMD 6970 HD.
The review unit that we received ran on Mac OSX 10.6.8 but the retail version that you will purchase will run Apple’s latest OSX 10.7 also known as Lion.
If you are the type who keeps multiple apps open on your system then the 27-inch display is a real treat to work on. You could have Safari, iTunes, iPhoto, PhotoBooth, Mail and a lot more open on the large display and Apple’s user interface ensures that your screen never looks cluttered. The display is very bright at its maximum setting and Apple has included an ambient light sensor in the device that automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen. The downside to the display is that the screen is very glossy making it susceptible to glare. We wish Apple had provided an optional anti-glare display like that offered in the MacBook Pros.
All the connectivity ports are located on the rear of the device including the power button. These could be a bit irritating to access. The connectivity options include headphones and mic jack, four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire port, two Thunderbolt I/O ports and an Ethernet port. The power button rests at the bottom left rear of the device. It is very easy for you to press the power button if you are holding the display to tilt it. The DVD slot super drive and the memory card reader are located on the right panel of the device.
We would still like to see USB 3.0 and Blu-ray as an option on the iMacs but Apple isn’t obliging.
On the bright side, the newest additions to the connectivity options are two Thunderbolt ports. In theory, this port allows up to 10GBPS data transfer. This sounds fantastic but there aren’t any Thunderbolt-enabled devices available in the market. You can also use the Thunderbolt ports to work as mini display ports.
The lack of direct HDMI port too is missed and if you wish to connect the device to your HD TV, you will have to purchase an adaptor.
Multimedia and entertainment on this beast is very exciting. We ran a bunch of 1080p videos on it and they all ran very smoothly. There really isn’t content available to take advantage of the displays 2560 x 1440 resolution but the fact still remains that this is the best all-in-one display money can buy.
The audio output too is one of the best available in the market. Sure, like the competition these speakers lack bass but the audio output is loud, crisp and very clear.
Since the power under the hood is top of the line you can expect to run any game on the device. The downside here is that the video game library for Macs is very limited.
There is an HD webcam too in the iMac, which is great for FaceTime. It was a lot of fun using the device to chat via Facebook video chat and Google hangouts as well. With FaceTime you are limited to the small chat window until you upgrade to Lion but with Google Hangouts, it is great to take advantage of the full screen.
There is no doubt that Apple’s OS is one of the best out there and with preloaded apps such as iPhoto, iMovie, PhotoBooth and with a variety of apps available straight out of the box, it is without a doubt we can say this is the best multimedia all in one available out there.
All-in-ones these days, such as the Lenovo A320, can be used as multimedia monitors. They allow HDMI in and some of them even support a TV tuner card. The iMac however doesn’t which is a shame as it would have been a lot of fun connecting a PS3 to the device and taking advantage of the display to play some awesome games.
The 27-inch Apple iMac is the best money can buy for a starting price of Rs. 91,900. It boasts of the best specs under the hood, the best display and the promising new Thunderbolt I/O. It does fall a bit short with the lack of a Blu-ray drive and USB 3.0 but these factors can easily be overlooked, as the overall package is to die for. If you think shelling out Rs 91,000 is a bit too much, you can also check out the smaller 21-inch iMac, which starts at about Rs. 62,000.
Great 27-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440
Great power under the hood
Wireless keyboard and magic mouse
No USB 3.0
Glossy display may be a problem in well-lit rooms
Price: Rs. 91,900
27-inch LED HD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440
2nd Generation Intel i5 2.7Ghz Processor (Upto i7 3.1 Ghz)
AMD Radeon 6770 HD Graphics (Upto AMD 6970 HD)
Facetime HD Support
1TB Storage (Upto 2TB)
4GB RAM (Upto 8GB)
Ease of setup: 5
Wow Factor: 5