Apple iMac (2011) review
The iMac certainly makes a good first impression. The aluminium chassis looks fantastic and has a definite premium feel to it. The system is well built and should stand up to normal levels of classroom use.
Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard and mouse are included, and we found them both comfortable in use. The Mighty Mouse in particular impresses with its touch-sensitive scrolling and the ability to flick between pages in Safari by using fingers to swipe to the side. In a classroom, though, you’ll probably want to exchange them for wired alternatives; the iMac takes standard USB peripherals.
Performance is superb. Featuring a quad-core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, the iMac handled everything we threw at it; a benchmark score of 0.84 proves that it’s no slouch. With the exception of the DVD drive, it also runs incredibly quietly under normal use.
The 21.5in glossy screen has a 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD resolution and is magnificent. Everything is pin-sharp and video looks exquisite. The viewing angles are also superb, with the screen delivering near-flawless images wherever we were positioned. It also angles up and down. However, the power button is located at the rear, just where you’d instinctively put your hand to tilt it, which resulted in us accidently turning the PC off a few times.
The iMac has four USB 2 ports, audio in and out, and a FireWire 800 connector, while Gigabit Ethernet ports and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi handle networking. It also features a Thunderbolt port that claims to offer transfer speeds of up to 20x USB 2, and which also doubles as the iMac’s external display output. As a result, you’ll need an adapter to use the iMac with a second monitor or an interactive whiteboard.
An SD card reader and a slot-loading DVD-RW are situated on the side of the display; everything else is located at the back. While this contributes to the clean design, it means you have to keep turning the iMac around to plug in USB devices.
Overall the iMac is a great all-in-one PC, with a screen that sets it apart from the competition. The high price makes it a premium product, though, which some may find difficult to justify.
Author: Jamie Stephens
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