The Bottom Line
- Excellent High Color Display
- Strong Performance
- Excellent Mouse And Keyboard
- Base Hard Drive Is Relatively Small
- All Peripheral Ports On Back Which Is Inconvenient
- Keyboard Doesn't Include Numeric Keypad
- Intel Core i5-2400S Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 21.5" WUXGA (1920x1080) LED Backlit Display With AMD Radeon 6750M 512MB Graphics
- Intel HDA Audio With 20W Stereo Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Four USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Thundrebolt, 2.0 Megapixel Webcam, SDXC Slot
- 20.8" x 17.8" x 7.4"
- Mac OS X 10.7, iLife
Guide Review - Apple 2011 iMac 21.5-inch All-In-One Desktop PC
Jul 26 2011 - Apple hes left the exterior of their iMac completely unchanged in their latest update. For the most part this is great as the aluminum clad design is still the most stylish and functional all-in-one systems on the market. It would have been nice to see some relocation of the peripheral ports away from the back panel so they could be a bit more convenient but it is understandable why they didn't.
The big change to the 21.5-inch iMac is in the processor and the performance. The past model offered some solid performance with an older Core i5 dual core desktop class processor. This has been replaced by a newer second generation Core i5 processor that now features quad instead of dual cores. This gives it a significant boost in the performance and clearly outperforms most of the Windows based models on the market. Memory stays the same at 4GB of DDR3 which is fairly typical of most desktop replacements. It should do well for most tasks but it is relatively easy to upgrade the memory.
The other change is the to graphics system. It now uses an AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor that features 512MB of memory which is double the past Radeon HD 4670. This greatly improves the ability of the system to handle HD video playback as well as the limited number of 3D gaming applications that are available for the Mac OS X platform. The Thundebolt port can be used with external DisplayPort monitors or Apple's new 27-inch Thunderbolt based display. Of course, it is probably more affordable to just buy the 27-inch version of the iMac.
One area that should have been upgraded but wasn't is the storage. Apple only includes a 500GB hard drive for storing applications, data and media files. This is roughly half what most all-in-one systems come equipped with. With the cost of storage drives so little, it would really benefit Apple to include a larger drive. It is possible to get the next step up from the base model, but the $1199 price tag should really come with 1TB. At least there are options now to use the Thunderbolt port for external high speed storage for those that need additional storage space rather than relying on the USB 2.0 ports.
The display on the iMac remains unchanged and is still one of the best on the market. While most companies use more affordable TN based panels, Apple uses a higher color and viewing angle IPS based display. It even supports a full 1920x1080 resolution for full 1080p high definition video support. Some people may have issues with the smaller pixel size but the software does allow for easy scaling of the graphics. The glass display is still an issue for causing reflections and glare in certain lighting conditions however.
Finally, Apple now includes the Mac OS X 10.7 or Lion software with their systems. For many, the updates won't seem to have changed much but there are some annoyances for those that have been using Mac OS X over the past few years. Thankfully, many of the features can be turned off to keep the experience similar to past versions. Those that happen to want or use the Magic Trackpad will definitely enjoy the new multitouch gestures.