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back to article Seven all-in-ones that aren't the Apple iMac - and one that is

Pride comes before a fall, or so they say. When Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new super-slimline iMac towards the end of 2012, he started by announcing that the iMac was now the top-selling desktop computer in the US. Six months later, he has admitted that Apple launched the machine too soon, and that the complicated …

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All fugly except the mac

The only ones that look halfway decent are stylistic ripoffs.

Can't anyone come up with a decent original look? These things go on your desk, not out of sight.

(Then again, maybe they figure if anyone will put up with Windows 8 they'll buy anything)

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Meh

Re: All fugly except the mac

They're all a big, flat thing on a stand with a keyboard in front of them.

The only styling possible involves fiddling around the edges of that and that's going to be the way of things until we work out a way of getting rid of the big flat thing.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

I don't own a Mac, never have, and I don't care for their stuff but I must admit that the Mac is the only good looking piece of kit.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

Quire right - there's no such thing as style. All clothes are just basically cloth sacks for your limbs and torso. All cars are motorised metal boxes to convey you from A to B. All human beings are just organisms born to suffer and die.

Brain the size of a planet, etc , etc

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All fugly except the mac

All fugly and most pretty much the same price but without Apple levels of service etc. Picking over specs may suit certain people but not the sort that would be buying an all-in-one anyway. If you are a hard core gamer you are going to have something much more pokey - surely? But for most 'other' users they are a neat solution if you don't want boxes and cables.

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JDX
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Re: All fugly except the mac

It is amazing when you do a aesthetic comparison of Mac VS everything else how far ahead they are - of course many here favour function and cost over form but they are stunning these days.

More worryingly the other week I was looking at the bigger iMac in a store and caught myself thinking "that's not too expensive actually". I think I either got richer or stupider because clearly money > sense.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

I actually think the mac is quite ugly with the big redundant slab of gray at the bottom of the screen. Never really understood why people drool over it so much. Although I think I'm the only one in that regard, and for that matter I think the Lancia Stratos is a beautifull car. My friends think im crazy.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

apple fanboi in apple is best shocker

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Re: All fugly except the mac

I really like the Lenovo, quite surprised as most of their stuff is hideous.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

Holy shit that last one, the Toshiba, is ugly. Apologies if I've offended anyone who's just bought one. It would actually make a very interesting case-study they'd documented the process that lead to such a disgusting turd of a design.

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Stop

Re: All fugly except the mac

you do realise that if your style is absolute minimalism then every other design that wants to have a functional, minimal look will inevitably look similar. A design language that they "stole" from Sony, and before that Braun for that matter. This has nothing to do with wanting to copy Apple, as much as deluded apple fanbois want to believe. This is an industrial design necessity and every one of the alternatives do a good job of differentiating themselves despite having to work within these strict requirements. How exactly else would you design an all-in-one solution?

Personally I thing the HP is the best looking one, whilst the toshiba, acer and apple all look rather clunky and unbalanced.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

In terms of style this isn't really a fair comparison as half of them are from publicity shots that favour a "look at me" diagonal view whereas the other half were snapped by the review head on.

I'd be interested to see how the Acer model (for example) would look with a like for like studio quality "pose"

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Linux

Re: All fugly except the mac

> but without Apple levels of service etc.

You mean components that cook themselves and leaving your machine at the Apple Store for 2 weeks?

Apple can't touch the "fugly" vendors when it comes to service. It's far too much of a consumer doo-dad company. Apple doesn't really sell to people that have to worry about the cost of downtime. They are completely out of touch when it comes to "service".

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Re: All fugly except the mac

I thought the mac was the most stylish all in one, but recently Ive been deploying Dell Optiplex 9010's - the business version of the XPS reviewed here - Core i5 23" with touch for £700...

The all silver look, I personally think is a bit samey - yes the macs looked awesome when first released about 5 years ago, much like the alu laptops, but its all a bit old hat - the Dell is no way as thin, but it has good proportions and the stand is a lovely designed swivelling unit... less wow factor than the newest imacs, but my new suite of 9010's looks a lot more stylish than my sandybridge iMac suite. (and with a big saving!)

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Re: All fugly except the mac

I'm curious as to why you'd choose the lower specced £1479 iMac and complain about the graphics card than get the £1699 iMac with the better spec seeing as other machines were up at that price.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

" It would actually make a very interesting case-study they'd documented the process that lead to such a disgusting turd of a design."

Maybe they were looking for a design that matches the OS it is running.

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Re: All fugly except the mac

I've never seen anything stay at an apple store more than 72 hours. Usually just overnight.

Their service is fast and efficient.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All fugly except the mac

You've clearly never used Apple Service then.

Unless of course they bribe every respondent to every survey...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All fugly except the mac

Re Apple service - next day delivery of parts, and financial incentives to turn around AppleCare and Apple Authorised repairs ASAP means if you have something an Apple Authorised Repairs outlet for more than 48 hours, then somethings gone badly wrong - IE wrong part sent, etc.

Give them their due, they have it set up right in that regard...

Anon Worker Drone at Apple Authorised Repair outlet (doing mostly Windows stuff, where our real money comes from....)

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Van

Re: All fugly except the mac

"It is amazing when you do a aesthetic comparison of Mac VS everything else how far ahead they are - of course many here favour function and cost over form but they are stunning these days"

Ahead? you mean far back!

Apple's latest designs succeeded because people like you are too young to remember and too sheep-like to research the fact that Apple's looks were all done to death in the 1960s and early 70s.

The silver Aluminium design made a brief come back in the 80s albeit mostly in plastic with HiFi equipment.

How long before Apple make wood-grain computers and their fanbois think they are original?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All fugly except the mac

"How exactly else would you design an all-in-one solution?"

Same idiotic argument we heard about the iPad

"How exactly else would you design a tablet solution?"

The answer was about a gazillion and one ways other than the way an iPad looks, most of the previous designs being done before the iPad came along (or whatever it is based on if you like to believe Apple copied the design, fine, it does not alter the point) and quite a few after the iPad came along.

The amount of people with zero imagination and a similar apparent intellect on this forum is staggering.

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Lot of money....

......to pay for less reliable laptop parts.

I think I'd rather build my own. I don't care care for all in one machines. The reason being as you see in this round up they all have glaring omissions (SD tuners really?), cost more than they should and don't bode well for long term support.

I like being able to swap out the ram or a graphics card in less than 5 minutes without having to send my whole PC back (oh yes after I've backed all my data up off it). I'm old fashioned that way.

Style over substance I guess.

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Re: Lot of money....

Intel's thin mini-itx standard is meant to solve that but I don't know how well that's taking off, if at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lot of money....

Yeah that's fine for you but most people do not build their own PCs in the same way you could build your own car / house etc. but most people don't. For most people these are a good solution and yes they cannot really / easily be upgraded but for most people that's not really an issue.

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Re: Lot of money....

Yep that's the problem...people don't think about it. Like RoHs built kit is just so reliable these days, especially cheap laptop spec kit with the higher end Intel chips in cramped hot locations.

"Oh its stopped working!"

"Did we keep the box it came in?"

"How do we get the hard drive out?"

"Going to cost £500 to repair!"

I see these machines as a real liability. If you want a all in one then buy a mid-range laptop and take the hit. After all these machines are basically that laptop with a 27" screen thrown on it.

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@AC 10:01

Exactly. I built a tower several years ago, extra big case, it was going to be expanded and expanded. In the end, I replaced the graphics card, when the fan failed.

My next machine was an iMac, i upgraded the RAM on that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lot of money....

Jason,

I once built my own car, have you? Thought not. Bet you got one where if you have a electircal or maechanical fault it's off down the garage and hey presto £500, oh you do have a back up car?

Mine I could fix almost anything with a socket set, 2 screw drivers and a hammer. Ok I exagerate, may need gaffer tape and WD40 as well.

See works both ways dear child.

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Pint

Re: Lot of money....

Gaffer tape and a hammer is all you need. :-D

I've rebuilt a few cars (used to be a member of the Austin Healey Car Club). I've also repaired a fair few cars over the years, but on modern cars, there isn't much you can do without computer equipment - even if you manage to fix the problem, chances are the onboard computer will still show the error, because you don't have the dohickey to delete the error memory.

Beer: Because it was always a get-together down the pub after working on the Healey.

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Facepalm

Re: Lot of money....

I had a Caterham delivered in boxes in 1997. Does that count?

Plus in my experience comparing a 45 minute PC build which only needs one screwdriver with building a car is a bit silly really.

Plus you can still buy an off the shelf tower unit that's far easier to fix.

If you buy a All-In-One just make sure you get that John Lewis 3 year warranty.

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Re: Lot of money....

I can only speak for the Dells, but their recent (last couple years) all-in-ones are extraordinarily easy to work on. One or two screws and the back cover slides off with the hard drive and other important bits readily accessible.

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Linux

Re: Lot of money....

Except this AIO concept isn't even like a house or a car where you outsource all of the maintenance. This is more like some car where the hood is WELDED shut.

If a device isn't maintainable by an enthusiast then it won't be maintainable by a mechanic either.

Although plugging in a new video card is not nearly the chore some would try to make it out to be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lot of money....

> See works both ways dear child.

Not really no, dear child (see I can be ignorant, smug and patronising too). I struggle to see the fun in having to spend a beautiful day like today removing ill fitting fibreglass panels, sourcing parts for an ancient VV carb and skinning my knuckles on various engine parts.

When I had to I used to do all my own mechanicals but now I have the cash not to have to, I choose not to, just as you'd readily choose to spend a cold December morning relining brakes. :)

Also, I think you've over-estimating the labour costs at a good independent garage, but hey let's pretend you're right so it suits what you're saying.

These devices aren't built for home mechanics who love to have the bonnet up - to follow the analogy they're built for those who prefer to get out for a drive.

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Devil

Re: Lot of money....

"Gaffer tape and a hammer is all you need. :-D"

"Dohickey" is now a 30£ bluetooth plug plugging into a standard diag port and a matching Android app (funnily enough one of the higest rated and most popular non-game apps on the Android market).

Worth to have if you go somewhere far out. I am definitely going to get one before my next 5k miles around the Europe road trip (I had some scares with both vehicles lighting up diag on previous occasions).

Coming back to the PC topic - I still build my own to this day and I still repair all of the faults on them (even on laptops) so maintainability is fairly high on my list. I will buy a well built machine which is good value for the money like the HP shoebox (Proliant microserver). Something that is maintainable and well designed.

All in one? Forget it. Shite resolution all of them (except Apple and Dell), priced at 40% premium of a monitor + separate box, overheating laptop parts, wrong choice of disk for a desktop (can I have a decent size hybrid drive please), you name it. Most importantly all on the list are not particularly maintainable (if memory serves me right the HP may be an exemption though, I recall it nicely falling appart for maintenance).

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More specs on the screens, please. You mention the IPS screen on the iMac but not for the others. I'd have thought that if buying an all-in-one, screen quality is important. I'm probably out of touch with recent screen technology, but I work with an old model Dell IPS monitor and a newer ViewSonic non-IPS monitor. While the ViewSonic does a pretty good job with video and flashy stuff, looking at it for more than a few minutes when working with text is horrible compared to the Dell.

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Good grief

I can understand paying those prices for an iMac, since you really have no choice if you're buying from Apple, but the PCs are rubbish. Build a tower in a stylish case or a mini unit that can be hidden away and buy a nice touch monitor. You'll either slash the price or get a hell of a lot more for your money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good grief

What BS - of course you have choice. If you want a different solution you get a Mac Mini (starting from about £450-500), plug it into your existing keyboard, mouse and monitor (or Apple ones) and you are done - fully functional 'Mac' and the ability to upgrade the base.

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Re: Good grief

OK but you're still paying the Apple premium on a (very nice) low spec. machine. My point was not that Macs are relatively expensive, everyone knows they are, it was that you can accept paying over the odds for a Mac since you have no choice, but there is no point in paying these prices for a PC.

If, however, you've got all huffy because I've implied that Macs are relatively expensive, then... well, I'm sorry if facts upset you.

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Re: Good grief

No, no really Richard. The iMac's specs and features are better than more than half of the machines compared here.

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Linux

Re: Good grief

> but the PCs are rubbish

They are not. They're the same collection of random spare parts as the Apple product.

The only real difference is the OS.

Stop swimming in the kool-aid.

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Linux

Re: Good grief

> fully functional 'Mac' and the ability to upgrade the base.

Not really. The machine is simply not built to expose itself to the end user. What little you can upgrade will require more effort than a conventional PC requires. It's like trying to upgrade an Atari ST.

The Mini will quickly become a doorstop as tech passes it by or something glitches. You can't really repair it or upgrade it with high speed components. It accomodates a limited number of user serviceable components.

Plus there's the whole "lets cook the PC" approach to system design. Although you get that with any consumer Apple product.

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Linux

I'd buy an all-in-one with Linux!

I currently have an older iMac all-in-one, 27 inch I think. I was expecting to buy a new one soon, until the silly-slim iMacs appeared without an optical drive.

I don't want touch, I don't want Windows 8, I do want a "suspend" that works as well as the current iMac.

I searched for All-in-ones on the Ubuntu compatibility list, the only one had a restriction on power management.

So I'm stuck :(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd buy an all-in-one with Linux!

Optical drive - really - in a few years it will be seen as legacy like centronics ports are for most people. All you have to do is plug in a USB one. Yes not as neat as built in but probably one of the most likely things to fail and these days I rarely see people using CD/DVDs - sure many people still do but it's often less common.

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JDX
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Re: I'd buy an all-in-one with Linux!

Can't you just install/dual-boot Linux onto your older iMac?

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Pint

Re: I'd buy an all-in-one with Linux!

I'd say they are pretty much legacy now. My laptop's DVD writer was removed 2 years ago and replaced with a very capacious secondary HD. Haven't missed the DVD since. I have two machines with DVD writers and I think I've burned about half a dozen DVDs in the last year, all for other people.

As to the all in ones, for me they're a definite nono. I've had to deal with other people's all in ones when they've gone phut, and almost always it results in the purchase of a complete new system. For this sort of money I would be hoping to get a bit more in terms of oomph and long term peace of mind.

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Re: I'd buy an all-in-one with Linux!

I have two iMacs - one running OS X, the other running Xubuntu. Installing Xubuntu was straightforward and easy.

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Linux

Re: I'd buy an all-in-one with Linux!

http://www8.hp.com/uk/en/products/workstations/product-detail.html?oid=5230510

About it so far, and a bit out of my price range, but HP do certify these for RHEL, and appear to provide customised drivers.

I'd like to do build my own Last Desktop PC Before I Retire soon, maybe next summer.

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Sleek Looks vs Servicability

The all in ones computers such as the iMacs look nice but are a bear to fix. You should have to rip apart adhesive to get to the guts of the machine. Jason7 had it right where you are better off to build your own or go with a Mini PC mounted on the back of a monitor. Still easier to fix in the long run or to upgrade. Good article. I guess you can look at it is that the All-in-One computers are like a giant iPad or tablet. This may be the future Microsoft wants us all to embrace with Windows 8 on phones, tablets, and computers. Scary!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sleek Looks vs Servicability

One of our iMacs had a fault - call Apple - they arrange a courier to come and collect it - they bring a suitable box with the correct polystrene cut-outs - take it away - back with them the next day - fixed same day - courier back to us - arrived next morning - done.

Sure it's not as good as an on-site warranty but suspect could have taken it to an Apple store if that had been easier. I imagine people reading this will think 'ah but I could have just ripped the lid off and replaced the faulty component there and then'. That of course assumes you can determine which part is faulty, assumes you have spare parts and the technical ability to do it - some may have - many, many do not.

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Re: Sleek Looks vs Servicability

I don't want any company leaving site with either my personal data or that of my organisation, if it can't be done on site then the product and/or service isn't fit for purpose.

I use to repair Macs, back when the first iMacs came in and the clamshell ibooks, nice easy machines to work on even if they had a few sharp edges! But these days? I'm glad I dont' have to go near them.

Beautiful machines to look at and use, but no way I'd want to work on it's guts.

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