back to article Apple iMac 27in

For those of you who revel in Mac versus Windows shouting matches, click the Comments link now. You’ve already made up your minds, so feel free to dive into the debate without reading the review. That’s what you normally do, anyway. Apple iMac 27in Widescreen viewing: Apple's iMac 27in If you’re still with me, let me …

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  1. phlashbios
    Trollface

    Shortened review....

    It's pretty, it's expensive, fanbois will love it.

    1. Ted Treen
      FAIL

      So will a lot of others...

      Drug dealers love BMWs.

      They're not the only ones who buy/drive them though.

  2. hexx
    Facepalm

    "although the company still insists on including a Firewire 800 port. What is it for?"

    for FW800 devices, as simple as that. there are plenty of external harddrives with FW800 interface, yes it's much faster than usb

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Audio interfaces

      I have an Echo Audiofire 12 and theres no way I would buy another Mac without firewire. Okay I'm sure there is a thunderbolt version in the works but not yet available.

    2. Robert E A Harvey

      Well, quite

      I have a couple I use all the time.

      Useful for some video cameras too.

    3. lpcollier

      Audio and Video Interfaces

      And also for multi-channel audio and video interfaces. Audio and video are core markets for Macs.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      firewire

      And video cameras.

  3. Doug Glass
    Go

    Oh Silly Me

    I thought big screens were passe' and everybody who was anybody reveled in the "squint-to-see-or-put-on-your-reading-glasses" smart phone screens. And, of course, the pad things which are also small compared to this behemoth. Think as a definite throwback I'll just stick with my 22in models.

    1. Ted Treen
      Meh

      Nope...

      They're definitely NOT passé!

      I'd love a quality 27" IPS screen for when I'm working at home.

      My budget wouldn't allow it - so I got an NEC EA232WMI 23" IPS. Can't fault it for the price, but I'd still love an equivalent quality 27".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Well done...

    Seems like a faultless review to me.

    1. Jolyon

      Thumbs up

      If you were being sarcastic.

      A performance graph with no comparison system, no investigation of the bundled software, drivel about hard disk replacement (as I understand it at least it is the system *fans* that will spin at full speed not the *disk*) - this review is next to useless.

      I can't see anyone who already has an iMac getting much from this and as someone who hasn't I'm still no nearer knowing if I want one - apart from reassuring the people who have already ordered one of these without bothering to find out the first thing about it that despite doing something silly they won't be unhappy as a result I don't see who amongst the Reg readership gains.

      Maybe I've been spoiled in the past but I honestly would have expected a lot more from one of the superior Paris Hilton websites.

    2. vic 4
      Happy

      You mean you read it!

      He obviously couldn't see teh point, he obvious thought no one was going to read it judging from his opening paragraph so couldn;t be bothered. Personally I gave up at that point and skipped to the comments to see if he was right.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    ssd

    just ordered it 3 weeks ago... with ssd. i'm so happy to see i'm right about this. i'll be using it mostly for ipad development and for work in windows 7, but my wife will be using it for pictures processing *aperture that should be good apparently... the pictures are on a gigabit network location hopefully that will be fast enough for her.

    just 3-4 more weeks to wait *long waiting queue at the mo.

    1. hexx

      pics on network

      i'm not sure about the speed - if she keeps aperture library on ssd it's gonna be fast but over gb network it might be slow - depends on the filesize of raw images.

      when i used aperture i kept my files on external usb drive, slow

      moved them to internal drive, was much better

      now i've got ssd and use lightroom and all originals are on fw800 disk and the 'processed' ones or the ones i decided to import are on ssd but i still keep originals on external fw disk (you never know, maybe photos you didn't import week ago aren't that bad after all and you might need them in the future)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        why lightroom?

        hi hexx,

        has to be on network, cause i want to have everything backed up. our file server *drobo is safer ok maybe not necessary for ssd *they revert to read only when broken i heard. but why lightroom instead of aperture is it really better? aperture is very nice...

    2. F. Svenson

      Apple OSX and network storage

      To get the best performance with OSX and networked storage use AFP when possible. There is FOSS program called NetAtalk which works really well on Linux and FreeBSD. I can get 102MB/s transfers using jumbo frames.

      NFS works OK, but your filesystem gets littered with .(dot) files, and when using coverflow or thumbnails finder does wonky things over NFS.

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Expensive?

    My first PC (386 @ 25MHz with a (then) staggering 4MB of RAM, 1MB of video RAM, 88MB SCSI hard disk cost something like 5000 euros in todays money.

    Will still be going for a PC upgrade rather than a Mac now. For that price I can get a compute beast with latest NVidia board and HUGE memory and a pretty serious 27" monitor. Not for gaming, but GPU accelerated volume rendering and analysis. We are getting more and more macs in our institute though. A lot of people like them.

    1. CADmonkey
      Thumb Down

      Not expensive

      Out of curiosity I threw the major items (CPU, RAM, GPU, DVD, screen) into a Scan shopping basket and managed to spend £1225 in the process. For what you get, £1600 is not outrageous (the screen was almost £700)

      And I don't even like Apple! If I could choose Windows 7 as an option, i might consider it.

      1. RachelG

        that screen

        btw, as i understand it, is the same panel as used in the Dell U2711. So make sure it's *that* price you're adding, not some nasty TN-based piece of ... ;-)

      2. Turtle_Fan

        I (grudgingly) agree

        I hate Apple with a passion but their screens (gloss aside) are top notch. I only found 1-2 equivalents and they're both professional kit with some exotic colour calibration functions and they cost a bomb.

        I really regret the dearth of choice in this area, because those screens are really miles apart from the competition.

        I'd still never surrender the modularity that comes with my tower but damn those screens look the business.

      3. Michael C

        Win 7 runs natively

        Just add a license, Win 7 runs native on iMac hardware just fine. No driver issues, full performance.

        1. SuccessCase

          I'm interested to know

          What do you actually use the modularity of your tower for these days? In my view it used to be an advantage 10-15 years ago, but is it really now (genuine question) ? I used to add in USB cards (yep USB was once non standard), modems, games controllers and in later years wi-Fi and 3D graphics cards. But non of those things are really needed now. Granted non Apple HDD upgrade is a no no with the iMac. Also i guess games officionados might like the option to upgrade the graphics card (personally i'm no longer in that set, though I still do have a go with the console every now and then) though grahics card upgrades have always been a bit of a chimera; when that spiffy new card is released it invariably needs the spiffy new bus to run without constraint. And I guess CPU upgrades are easier in a more accessible system. But, especially with the new Thundebolt port, general ad-hoc expansivity is covered pretty well I would think for 90% or more of use cases.

          1. Ari 1

            modularity? Computer says no

            I sold a bunch of computers a few years ago and didn't see people upgrade their machines much. There is a group of hardcore gamers who upgrade theirs, the rest usually don't try to upgrade until there are no parts available for that mobo anymore (changes in sockets, gpu slots etc.). By that time they usually need a new mobo, CPU, GPU, RAM... Sure, some then upgrade their towers but most people simply buy a new one. They can, however, use their old monitor. Usually a crap 17" with glacial response times and all that, but that does save money.

            I'm aiming for an iMac myself.

          2. Turtle_Fan

            Good question

            Well, seeing as two people asked here's my user case.

            I started off with a 1366 mobo. At the start I went with the cheapest cpu to fit in it. As prices dropped and my finances didn't I swapped it out for the next gen's "second best" (I never go for the absolute top as it's ridiculously priced).

            Back in 2008, SSD's were flaky and infantile so I went with a velociraptor. In the last 3 years, I added 2x1.5 TB HDD's for storage, started with a small patriot SSD (utter crap btw) and upgraded to a PCI-based Z-Drive that goes like mad.

            Similarly my ram went from 4 to 6 and now to 16GB's (10GB RAMDisk).

            As for GPU's I was never a fanboy so only one iteration from a 260 to a 480.

            So, 3 years down the line, I've got a 3.4GHz i7 with 16GB DDR3, a bad-ass SSD and a mediocre GPU. I can safely predict this to see me through to the first price drop of the LGA 2011-platform whenever that happens in 2013.

            If I were locked in to the 2008 original spec, I'd be itching for an upgrade as soon as the SB enthusiast platform hits the shelves.

            During those 3 years, I had an HDD, RAM sticks and a GPU die on me. Each time, I used the warranty rebate coupon and added a pittance to actually upgrade. Not once did I have to give my PC up for any period of time. The PC on the whole remained operational and functional (albeit limited somewhat).

            On a related note, I'd rather the HW choices were my own and not some 3rd party's; for good (Z-Drive) or bad (patriot).

            And to those who think, I've got money to burn, there's the salvaging.

            Even if I change PC entirely, I'll still carry much of the guts of my current rig over to the next. Optical Drives, the Z-Drive and most of the RAM being prime candidates for salvaging/cannibalising.

        2. Piro
          Pint

          They're just the same as the high end Dells...

          This is pretty well known. Even Apple people who didn't want to take it in the ass would go to Dell and get the appropriately sized Ultrasharp series display...

        3. Ted Treen
          Pint

          @Turtle_Fan

          "...I hate Apple with a passion..."

          How pointless. How stupid.

          You don't use their products but "hate them with a passion"?

          Whoa - an anti-fanboi here - just another side of the same coin?

          I use a Mac not a PC.

          I don't hate HP/Dell/Acer/Anyone else "with a passion"

          I use OSX in preference to Windows

          I don't hate Microsoft "with a passion"

          Reasoned discourse has more value than blind bigotry, but I guess it's less dull. Must be another effect of the tabloid culture pervading society...

          Beer? - Have one, bro - and chill.

          1. Turtle_Fan
            Thumb Up

            Thumbs UP

            I will upvote for beer...

            Joke aside, the reason i hate apple and oracle is jobs and ellison.

            As for the hate, I DO use their products, que 2 160GB iPods (but i use them sans itunes), good honest players with plenty of storage.

            Nothing else from their range fulfills my needs better than alternatives.

      4. Marvin the Martian

        Don't forget the case + a transformer

        Together you'll be above £1300 for an ugly thing that eats up more deskspace and more electricity, and is harder to clean.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          How do you clean an iMac????

          Unless you using this in an air-conditioned office, it will get fouled up with dust (especially in a city) and will begin to run hot (and slow) as a result. Dust also gets trapped in the LED screen. Cleaning an iMac's internals is not really a DIY task. But other than that, it's a lovely machine.

      5. h4rm0ny

        Re: Not expensive.

        Oh it is. It most certainly is. Allowing for the different form factor (i.e. a mini-tower case + monitor vs. the Apple all-in-one), I could make an equivalently specced machine for under £900. Better in fact seeing as my version had a Blu-Ray drive and the 27" screen I used was 2560x1440 instead of this thing's 1920x1080.

        I specced it up on overclockers as follows:

        Hazro HZ27WC 8-Bit 27" LED Widescreen Professional Monitor - Black £379.99

        Intel Core i5-2400 3.10GHz £145.99

        LG BH10LS30 10x BluRay-RW / 16 x DVD±RW Drive - Black (Retail) £81.98

        Gigabyte Z68A-D3 Intel Z68 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Motherboard £79.99

        OCZ Gold 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-10666C9 1333MHz Low-Voltage Dual Channel Kit (OCZ3G1333LV4GK) £49.99

        Akasa Raptor Gaming Case - Black £46.99

        Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (HD103SJ) £43.99

        OcUK Crusade 450W Dual-Rail High Efficiency Power Supply £41.99

        Total incl. VAT: £887.42

        Now I'm going to pre-emptively point out that this was a two minute job of just grabbing the equivalent parts. If I were seriously going to spend this sort of money I'd pick things out more carefully (and probably get a nice Hex-core Phenom II and more RAM), but there's no point in quibbling over thirty quid here or there on the above when the difference between it and the Apple is around £700.

        If you want Windows 7 too, that's an extra £70-80 quid for Home Edition, so Apple are flogging one hideously expensive OS, imo.

        For a machine in the £1600 price range, I would expect it to have an SSD for the OS partition as standard, I would expect it to have USB3 capability, I would expect it to be able to support Blu-Ray (how can they have missed that?). And ideally, if I'm going to have a 27" display I would like i to be 2560x1440 so that I can make use of it. 27" displays are getting into TV territory which are designed for sitting across the room from. If you are sitting up close to the monitor, then extra size only gains you something significant if the resolution scales up with it.

        I'm sure the above gets a "wow" from anyone walking in the room because it's huge and it's bright, but it's a disaster from a value for money point of view.

        Good review though - seemed up front about the pros and cons.

        1. CADmonkey
          FAIL

          @ H4rm0ny

          Wow indeed!! Amazing how cheap these things are once you leave out the minor items, such as the graphic card, keyboard, mouse and wifi card

        2. salada2k
          FAIL

          Screen res

          re: h4rm0ny: I own one of these and I can tell you the resolution is in fact 2560x1440 not 1080p as you claim.

  7. Mike G
    Devil

    Commentards ho!

    As we speak, Fanbois are in a frenzy of ipad tippy-tapestry, the outer feathered fringes of their 20-haircuts-on-one head quaking with scientologist level anger at this outrage of vigesimal score omission. All across the metropolis, metrosexuals forehead albedos are rising to match the perfect gleam of their aluminium obelisks as they frantically scrabble to comment quibble.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Put down the crackpipe

      Unless you're Frank Chu's psuedonym, in which case, fair play and welcome to the Reg.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Chu

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      As we speak?

      Oh fuck off.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Title

    Spending that much on a computer these days I would expect a SSD, or at least a fast enough HDD to keep up with the other components...

    1. Michael C

      Not with that screen

      That screen alone is $800. Take that price out of the deal and settle for a generic 27" non-IPS panel with 1080 instead of 1440v resolution, and the remainder of the components are priced in line with competing SB based towers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        title

        $800? So thats about £600...

        So you're still paying a grand for a computer with a non-replaceable (at least not without hacking the thing) under powered HDD?

        Great value..! Think I'll keep to building my own thanks..

  9. Jolyon

    So which is it?

    "Top quality input devices" or a wobbly keyboard and a mouse that the review suggests I might hate (but gives no indication as to why beyond its sensitivity which surely is adjustable - or isn't it? I'll refer to a review to find out perhaps).

    Never mind the suggestion that commentards should skip the review as they've already made up their minds this whole thing seems to have skipped any actual analysis and gone straight to the lack of conclusion assuming we'll either already be buying one or we won't.

    There's nothing in there to help me make a decision - skipping the OS and all included software leaves me with a review of a case, which looks nice.

    1. Richard 81
      FAIL

      Umm...

      ....apart from the clear conclusion that nicely sums up who should and should not get one you mean?

    2. Lamont Cranston
      Trollface

      "a case, which looks nice"

      Which is why people buy Macs, isn't it?

      Need a computer - buy a PC.

      Need something to match the curtains - buy a Mac.

      1. Jolyon

        @Rich81

        What the 'reassuringly expensive' style "it's too good for you" line at the end?

        I'm a creative (ish) professional (ish) and the review's not good enough for me to decide. I can afford one but I don't already know that I want one or want to be seen to have one.

        The vital stats insert was more informative than the review text - at least from there we find out what the video card is, that there's an sdxc slot and a webcam, what the screen resolution is, that there's no Blu-Ray player (would be helpful to know if this is an option) - and I would get all that from the manufacturer's product spec.

        The reviewer says the screen is like a mirror but there's no indication as to whether this means it is annoyingly reflective to the point of having to be used in a darkened room, there's nothing on how fast it boots, how much power it draws, how much (or how little) nopise it makes, what user expansion is possible (beyond the muddled, don't-do-the-hard-drive part).

        In particular I'd like some comparison details with other machines Apple and otherwise.

        I've used Apples on and (mostly) off since the Apple IIe I used to play breakout on - I'm not a die-hard Jobsophobe but nor am I one of the congregation so I'd like a proper, in-depth review and am slightly surprised the Register hasn't done as well as other sites which are in other respects generally inferior.

      2. namelessphil

        Curtains?

        Need to do music, architecture, astronomy, design, movies, photography - buy a Mac; it's the industry standard

        Need do do accounts - buy a PC; it runs Sage.

        1. TheOtherHobbbes

          I'm a fanboi

          and I'm someone with a clue.

          If you know where to look you can get a top of the line 4GHz multicore i7 for less money which will rip the drivers off this crayola-comp and beat the nearest fanboi to death with them.

          iMacs are great for reception. Park one in front of the pretty intern, take all the plaster off the wall to reveal the bare brick, paint all the pipework in glossy primary colours, and everyone will be impressed by how creative you are.

          But if you need to do any real work in the back room, you'll be using a top spec PC.

      3. Ivan Headache
        Unhappy

        Need something to match the curtains - buy a Mac

        Unfortunately my curtains are made of beige plastic.

    3. Michael C

      defective

      He stated his had a manufacturing issue, but he used others on the same desk without issue. As with MANY keyboards, short of the feet at the back there are no adjustments, and if your desk is not perfectly flat or itself imperfect, MOST keyboard will have a rocking issue, easily solved by adding a few mm thick foam pad under the keyboard, or a few cheap foam rubber stick-on feet.

  10. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Happy

    Keyboard, urgh.

    Don't like those "stubby" keyboards, prefer the longer USB wired ones. I can't handle the magic slate pad thingy, although I bought for my old man and he loves it!

    Happy with my 3 year old 24, not great but it does the job for 95% of what I want so why give money to the church until it's necessary.

  11. Buzzword
    Unhappy

    Still the same keyboard

    Still no Home/End/PgUp/PgDn/Del keys on the keyboard. That makes it terrible for ordinary office apps (Word / Excel / equivalents), and terrible for coders too. Most laptop manufacturers manage to squeeze these keys in, even on small keyboards - so why can't Apple?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      RE: Same keyboard...

      They couldn't squeeze a second button on their mice for eons too...

    2. Campbeltonian

      Keyboard

      The wired keyboard is still an option, and it has those keys. It's a shame that Apple still make you choose between a full-sized keyboard and a wireless one.

      If you use the smaller keyboard for long enough, though, it doesn't take long to get used to just holding the Cmd key and using the arrow buttons though.

      1. Buzzword

        Numpad is an option, but you lose the wireless

        Yes you can have a numpad, but you lose the wireless. Rather spoils the look, I think.

        The Fn and Control keys are only on the left side. So a simple "Del" operation requires two hands rather than one. Other operations require three keys instead of two. It's needless productivity-bashing.

        Typical example: if you're bouncing around an Excel sheet, Ctrl-End takes you to the bottom-right corner, Alt-PgDn moves one page to the right, Ctrl-PgDn moves to the next tab. On a standard PC keyboard - even on most laptop keyboards - you can do all those with just your right hand. The same operation on the Mac wireless keyboard needs two hands.

        If you're a leftie, that means taking your left hand off the mouse, pressing the Fn key, then trying to remember which combo means PgUp and which combo means Home, then putting your left hand back on the mouse.

        I have both an iMac and a PC, and I consistently find that I'm more productive on the PC. The Mac is fine for surfing the internet and for media consumption, but little annoyances like the keyboard and the over-sensitive mouse are too tedious for getting work done. (And don't get me started on the glare from those glossy screens!)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          @Buzzword

          "On a standard PC keyboard - even on most laptop keyboards - you can do all those with just your right hand"

          Maybe, but not all of us need to pick our noses while scrolling around a spreadsheet.

          As a developer who has to jump back and forth a lot between sections of code I have no problem issue with using key combinations for scrolling.

          Oh and over sensitive mouse? Turn the sensitivity settings down FFS :-S

  12. RobH

    What is Firewire800 for?

    On any but the latest kit the fastest port on a muiti-interface external HD will be the Firewire 800 port, outperforming USB2. You've surely not replaced all of these around the office with now-obsolete USB3 external HDs have you?

  13. Caff

    status item

    Its a shame that most of these will be bought as status items and never do much "real" work other than amuse people with youtube videos and viewing twitter and facebook udpates

    1. Walt French

      Your choice

      We went to an Apple store to get my wife an iMac.

      I wanted to spec it up to the 27" screen & faster CPU, to give it a bit of headroom against unspecified future needs. The Apple store person asked her what she wanted to do (email, browsing, photo edits, music library), and proposed the low end of the line.

      That was 3 years ago, IIRC. I doubt they would've stopped us from spending too much if we insisted, but it's not like they're sinisterly trying to drain our wallets.

      BTW, we have since blown another $50 or so to add RAM; that's about as much upgrading as is likely for such a well-integrated box. A hard disk failure in the warrantee period is a no-cost non-issue, and out of warrantee a relatively minor expense. Whereas the integrated temperature sensor is an advance in protecting the drives from failing in the first place.

      1. AJ MacLeod

        Temperature Sensors?

        I think you'll find that most hard disks have had temperature sensors built in for quite a long time now... Apple aren't interested in keeping your documents safe, they're interested in selling you overpriced replacement components.

      2. bygjohn

        Similar experience here

        Apple store staff really don't seem to want to sell you the most expensive mac they can: they go out of the way to match the computer to your needs. The guy in the Trafford Centre store saved me about £500 when I went to get a laptop there a few years back. Went all fired up to get a MacBook Pro, came away with a black MacBook (ie slightly faster CPU and bigger hard drive than base model), and it's been just what I needed, and some. Upshot is I'm likely to go back because I *didn't* get ripped off.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Yes, but no

    Outwardly attractive? yes, undeniably.

    But wedded as I am to the Windows platform, I feel it would be a bit too much of a fashion statement just to run itunes on, or watch DVDs.

    For £1600, I could no doubt buy something powerful though pug-ugly, a separate TV for the lounge, NAS for all our files and backups, take the missus out for a nice meal, my offspring and their friends to the cinema, and the Blakes 7 boxset with enough left over to try a tankful of Premium unleaded petrol.

    1. spodula
      Joke

      Maybe..

      I think your pushing it a bit with the tankful of Premium Unleaded.

      Best put yourself down for another telly instead.

    2. simon gardener

      yes but no but yes

      you're probably right in what you could do with the money except possible a tankful of premium petrol - have you seen what that costs today ????

    3. Michael C

      wrong demographic

      Its a WORKSTATION, not generic PC, and comes with an $800-1K 1440v IPS panel. You're paying a $4-500 premium for a screen with high resolution, not just extra inches. Add a similar screen to any generic $1100 SB PC equivalent and it costs more than this iMac. You can barely build this machine from parts on NewEgg and save more than $200 off the retail price, and sacrifice TB and a slew of options in the process.

      I don't own one. I'm a Windows and Unix systems analyst by trade, and have custom built my own rigs for 20 years. Still, this machine interests me greatly. For the price point, it has everything i want and more (including that screen). If all you want is 1080p content and web browsing, then you want a $600 PC and generic 24-27" screen, not this machine, so don;t buy this machine. I'm looking for something with 16GB RAM (that won't cost $1K extra to get to using 8GB chips, this has 4 RAM slots), with SSD and HDD internally and a slew of high speed external drive ports. I have eyes on a new storage chassis to replace an aging eSATA Multitap chassis, and TB fits that bill, and still lets me add my 2 existing 24" displays to the side of that 27" monster. I can not buy a tower from any major retailer, plus that 27" or similar screen, for less. Factor in that the iMac 27's from 2 years ago still clear $1K easy on ebay, some $1500, means I could replace this iMac every 2 years with a newer better one for less than I average spending overhauling out-of-warranty custom towers, and without all the hassle. Plus, it will run OS X, Windows 7, and Linux (and all at the same time if I want) which can not be done on any generic PC at all.

      1. Wang N Staines

        OS X licence

        "Plus, it will run OS X, Windows 7, and Linux (and all at the same time if I want) which can not be done on any generic PC at all."

        That's because Windows & Linux don't FORCE you to run on a certain hardware from a certain company. ;-)

    4. Michael Xion
      Thumb Up

      Yes but, no but...

      I managed to finally convice my bosses to swap the PC On my desk for the new 21 inch iMac. The clincher was that the iMac was actually cheaper than our standard desktop PC which have to be rediculously specced for win7.

  15. adrianww

    Firewire port

    Are you seriously suggesting that you can't work out why the Firewire 800 port is still there? Given that high-end iMacs and Mac Pros are fairly popular in pro and semi-pro audio and video work where external video processing hardware and audio interfaces can often be found sporting Firewire 400 or 800 interfaces as their connection method of choice? Until those external hardware manufacturers start moving more universally to USB2 (which they have only just got around to doing fairly recently in some cases) or USB3 (for preference in terms of speed/throughput) or Thunderbolt or whatever, Apple would be rather silly to remove simple Firewire support.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that they won't be daft enough to do so at some point, regardless of whether it basically throws out a whole bunch of useful external hardware that their customers would still want to use.

    Also, such usage tends to give some support to the argument that, as a straight-forward desktop PC for home, one of these is probably not the best value choice. (Note: contender for understatement of the decade there.)

    Well, unless you really really like it and happen to be swimming in spare cash of course, in which case they're rather nice.

    1. Michael C

      Exactly

      USB, even 3.0, does not support the camera control protocols essential to Pro-grade video hardware, nor aidio gear. USB3 is fast, but not duplexed, and lacks core protocol stack used by pro equipment. Also, all those legacy FW HDDs that themselves don;t have USB3, well, they run a hell of a lot faster than USB2 using FW, and FW is also fully TB compatible with adapters.

      This is a pro focussed box, and pros demand FW. More so than eSATA.

  16. RobH
    WTF?

    Wireless keyboard features

    Complaining that the wireless keyboard doesn't have numerics pad or USB ports - if you don't like it why didn't you just ask for the version that does have them? The whole piece sounds like you really don't know what you are looking at or really care.

    1. Richard 81

      Got a point

      It's not like the ones with a numpad costs any more.

    2. daemonoid
      Thumb Down

      Would if I could...

      But apple do not make a wireless keyboard with a numpad

  17. Andy Tunnah

    not a PC/Mac argument, more a practical one

    I understand that you pay for the looks, that's a given in life (I've bought many a sony vaio for a few hundred extra purely because they look loads better than other lappys) but if you wanna match this machine by it's only other stand out feature, the screen, then go for the Dell 27" A04 (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/27-dell-u2711-a04-wqhd-widescreen-lcd-2560x1440-hdmi-2xdvi-d-display-port-5-xusb-8in1-reader) or any other monitor that has an IPS panel. It's no Apple magic that causes their screens to be better than all others, they just always use IPS panels.

    1. Steve Todd
      Stop

      Slight technical flaw with that

      Your link is for a MONITOR only, you still need a system unit to go with that. Going to the Dell site and matching as close as I can to the iMac (XPS 8300, i5 @3.1GHz, Radion 6870 graphics, 6GB of RAM, 1.5TB HDD, wireless keyboard and mouse, WiFi & Bluetooth adaptors, Windows 7 ultimate) I get a bill of £1084, plus your £677 monitor that takes you to about £1760.

      What was that about the PC being cheaper? How were you going to hide the system box and all the cables (and reduce the noise)?

  18. Synonymous Howard

    @ it’s too good for you

    Well that depends on whether you have kids or not .. if you have then you can neither afford nor have the time to appreciate it but if, like me, you are free of money-draining-dribbling-poo-bundles then this beautiful beast is a joy to behold. It also has an off-switch and adjustable volume, two things that ankle bitters could do with.

    If my G5 croaks then I'm in the Market .. pity it keeps soldiering on though.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hard disks.

    First of all, nice review Alistair. You are bang on with the HDD criticisms. It has been a weak point of every Mac that I have owned; always too slow and never big enough for the price you pay. As a happy 24" iMac user I must say the beauty of the product is it's screen. You'd be hard pushed to find as good a screen that didn't cost the better side of £500. Take that to 27" and I bet your talking serious money. Were Apple to use cheaper screen, I've no doubt that the price would be more acceptable. Trouble is the experience wouldn't be as good and love 'em or hate 'em, Apple are all about the user experience. I've have a suspicion that the 27" iMacs aren't really for home users anyway. These machines are perfect for Apple's more traditional print design clientele, with the Mac Mini being more for your average home user.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Glossy screen

      "These machines are perfect for Apple's more traditional print design clientele..."

      Not with that glossy screen. Why can't they give the choice of iMacs without it, like the Macbook Pros?

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      FAIL

      HDD...

      A serious bottleneck.

      Anyone else agree?

      I've always said this. iMacs have all the disadvantages of a laptop and desktop and arguably none of the advantages of either.

  20. LuMan
    Thumb Up

    Brilliant opening

    Loved the opening! Classic. I've actually jumped straight here to comment, although I am going to go back and read the article anyway.

    Made my day, that did!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Alert

      Wouldn't bother if I were you ...

      ... if you're a serious Apple fan you'll be embarrassed by the sycophantic drivel from what is possibly the worst review ever to grace the pages and if you're anti-Apple then you'll see it as a blatant challenge to flame.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    You had me at....

    "For those of you who revel in Mac versus Windows shouting matches, click the Comments link now. You’ve already made up your minds, so feel free to dive into the debate without reading the review. That’s what you normally do, anyway."

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    With this article you are spoiling us

    "For those of you who revel in Mac versus Windows shouting matches, click the Comments link now. You’ve already made up your minds, so feel free to dive into the debate without reading the review. That’s what you normally do, anyway."

    Oh you know us so well :) What was the article about again?

  23. technocrat
    Thumb Up

    lol

    I just came straight to the comments section after reading the first paragraph :)

    Class comment!!!

    I'm a windows user, however I dont really care what Im using as long as what I need works on it (hows that to put a spanner in the works!!)

  24. John H. Maw

    Firewire 800 - What's it for?

    You see. I did read the review first. I'll tell you what the firewire 800 port could be for. If you wanted a Drobo when they first came out but held off until there was a decent connection then the second generation Drobo was the one to get because it had Firewire 800. I did and I hope to get much more use from it, so the 800 port would be very welcome (if I wasn't already using a Mac Pro).

    Don't always assume that everyone ditches all their gear every two months, just because you get yours provided free.

    P.S. Shame there isn't a Firewire 400 port for my CF card reader.

    1. hexx

      here you go

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?tag=duckduckgo-b-20&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=fw800%20to%20fw400

  25. Iain Waddingham
    Happy

    I am a Marmite fan!

    Got my Core i7 3.4GHz, 12GB (I added 8GB on delivery) with 2GB HD6970 card a few weeks back and it is amazing, I looked around to see what else I could get with such a good display and spec, Dell in a tower format with seperate hi-res 27" display wanted £210 more than buying the iMac and HP, well they didn't have anything as close to the Dell but even then was starting to work out £100+ more with lower CPU and Graphics!

    Really happy with my purchase and can't wait for Thunderbolt peripherals to add an external SSD and get full speed from it! With bandwidth to spare!

    1. rickykemp
      Stop

      That Dell might have been more expensive...

      but you do realise that the '6970' in your Mac is actually a MOBILE card, right, and the one in the Dell, even if it is a desktop 6850, will be faster....

      All the silicone of a full fat GPU in a case with pretty much no serious venting, and it would gradually sink through your desk with all the heat.

      1. jonathan 11
        Alert

        Post your own message

        Card selection aside, you do realize that the enormous slab of aluminum make a fantastic heat-sink, yes? 'Should be a decent radiator as well; not as efficient as a fan forced mass of copper fins but the much larger area would count for a lot.

  26. Nick Fisher
    Thumb Up

    Very impressive bit of kit.

    I purchased the 21.5" quad-core i5 model and it goes like the proverbial off a shovel. The screen, as the reviewer noted, is a marvel. It's an excellent machine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      The screen is a marvel...

      ... if you like your own reflection.

      Any machine with an i5 is fast... so?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Touche...

    "For those of you who revel in Mac versus Windows shouting matches, click the Comments link now. You’ve already made up your minds, so feel free to dive into the debate without reading the review. That’s what you normally do, anyway."

    Unfortunately I suspect you will be absolutely on the money with that comment. Personally, I suspect many will just read the price, and *then* go straight to comments...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. David Glasgow

    FW800?

    Well, D'Uh. Its so you can buy an adaptor and connect all your FW400 devices.

  29. Britt Johnston
    Windows

    get on-site support

    My wife was not pleased when she had trouble with anti-virus software, and had to take it back to the shop (3 trips) to have the software disentangled. 27inches didn't carry well under her arm.

  30. Zot
    Coffee/keyboard

    About the keyboard.

    You're showing the US keyboard. The UK one has no hash key, and the enter key is seriously tiny and squashed up at the edge. My shiny new iMac's keyboard went onto a shelf almost immediately, and in went a Microsoft wireless USB keyboard. I suppose the keyboard's OK for the occasional email or internet search, but as a daily workhorse, forget it.

  31. cnapan

    The keyboard and mouse put me off

    I've used one of these things in the office.

    All the problems are ones of ergonomics.

    Firstly, where is the on button. Answer? You have to feel 'round the back of the telly'. Is that really a good design decision? (No it isn't).

    Secondly, I'm a good touch typist, but these 'laptop keyboards on the desk' things are awful. There's no concave curve to the buttons to help your fingers find their place easily and where's the numeric keypad? I can accept such compromises on a laptop which has to be thin, but on a desktop, I prefer proper full travel keyboards with a numeric keypad. Good job you can get one for a tenner these days :-)

    As for the mouse, well the machine I was using belonged to my colleague. She was scrolling her browser using the scroll bars. I asked her why. She said because her mouse didn't have a mouse wheel.

    Oh.. and it doesn't have an obvious second button (or a first one for that matter :-) )

    Finally, the screen I used was impossibly glossy. I think there's a matt option, so I wouldn't want to complain about that - just thought I'd mention that it's best to avoid.

    I do wish that ergonomics of things were more obvious. Simple things like clicking, switching on, typing etc should not need a trip to the manual.

  32. James Katt

    You're just too poor.

    If you can't afford a Mac, then you are simply too poor. That's all. Get a better job or a second or third job.

    The problem of any other PC is that it is NOT a Mac. It will NEVER run as sweetly, easily, quietly, beautifuly, virus-free, as worry-free and as asthetically pleasing as a Mac.

    Other PCs are simply UGLY. They just don't get the design LOVE that is given to a Mac.

    1. That Awful Puppy
      Stop

      Disagree

      I type an awful lot - about 70k characters per day on average, up to 150k if necessary - and I love this type of keyboards to bits. I find them very easy to type on and less tiring than the normal type, something to do with key travel, I suppose.

      The Magic Mouse, along with every other Apple mouse, though, is a giant heap of steaming fail.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Ivan Headache

      On-off round the back?

      Have you ever had a kid sit in front of a screen where there are buttons facing them - especially and on-off button?

      No. I thought not.

      Why is it so important to you that it's easy to see? You press it to turn it on on a Monday morning and that's it 'til going home on Friday (and you don't use it to turn tha machine off anyway) Good design decision? Yes it is.

      You comment about the keyboard being no good for touch-typing is OK - for you. I've plenty of clients who claim that it's the best keyboard they've used in years for touch-typing.

      Personally I prefer the loget wire keyboard because I use the number keys a lot and over the years have gone away from using the top row.

      The mouse is definitely love/hate. Some of my clients think it's fabulous, I'm not so convinced (but it looks great!)

      On the screen - I do think it looks amazing but I do wish is wasn't so shiny. However, a good design studio will not be equipped with bright lights everywhere so it is not quite the problem that some claim.

      I'm not sure why you would need a trip to the manual to find out how to click. That strikes me as the comment of a person who has no idea what a mouse is for or has lived in a cave since 1984.

    4. Snapper
      FAIL

      AV?

      And what did she need AV software for on a Mac?

      Because some Windows fixated 'every-computer-must-have-AV' dribbler told her to!

    5. magnetik
      WTF?

      Re: About the keyboard

      "You're showing the US keyboard. The UK one has no hash key"

      Hash is easily typed with Alt + 3

      ##### <- See?

      Small enter key? It's as big as either shift key, surely you can type those easily enough? Enter is, after all, typed using your *little* finger, unless you're a two-finger typist ...

  33. Dropper
    Coat

    errm

    Big Mac?

  34. ducatis'r us

    Magic or not?

    for those inclined to splash out I would go for the magic (sic) trackpad over the magic (equally sic) mouse. I have both and the mouse rarely comes out. The only thing I would changes on the trackpad is to make it a bit bigger. On the trackpad I prefer to have it set to tap rather actual clicking

  35. Mike Richards Silver badge

    I have one - only one issue

    Annoyingly, the Mac only outputs sound through the speakers when headphones aren't connected (although strangely it will use the speakers to make the booting BONG! noise whether or not there's something connected).

    The position of the headphone port on the back right next to the other connectors means its unnecessarily fiddly to connect headphones. It'd be much better if they'd been placed on the side (both sides would have been nice).

    Apart from that, it's a stunning machine.

    Actually make that two issues - the Magic Mouse is horrible to use - thank goodness for my trusty Intellimouse.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Am I the only one?

    Who actually thinks Macs with all that aluminum are a tad ugly and looks like a 5 year old kitchen appliance?

    Personally I'm also much more impressed by something which is not only fast but also good value for money...

    Nice if that's your thing (faux style++, substance=meh), not for me though thanks.

    1. I am the Walrus
      Meh

      System Prefrences

      ->Sound->Output change your output to internal speakers. Works whether you have headphones plugged in or not.

  37. theoldcoot

    Jealous

    You guys are pigs. I'm jealous.

    http://www.reghardware.com/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

  38. Jim 59

    Very nice

    Very nice and not that expensive. I paid about the same for a Dan 486 pc back in 1993, and that's not counting inflation.

    These days of course, the same money could buy his 'n' hers laptops, a desktop PC and an Android tablet.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    ... is the super drive problematical... etc...

    My girlfriend has a 24" iMac (2 years old now I think)

    It's been in for servicing 4 times already - and from what I've heard, this is *not* uncommon.

    Fortunately, she shelled out ... a lot ... of extra money for a 3 year warranty, so it's not - oh wait, it is, costing her money to fix it each time.

    super drive has gone kaput three times

    memory module went kaput

    oh yeah - and the fancy screen? Somehow it managed to get dirty *behind* the screen - probably because we have a log fireplace in winter?

    These are not unusual statistics for Macs.

    Now, I'm not saying PC's don't go wrong - they do, probably as often... however...

    You can either get a spare dirt cheap online and wait a day, or if your really desperate (and I mean *really* desperate), you can go over to PC World and have your soul removed whilst buying a replacement part.

    I had a MacBook for a year, refusing to pay over £300 apple care for a single year - WTF? it was ok, but I got rid of it before something went kaput, which is was likely to do at some point. Decided to opt for another PC again.

    Whatever floats your boat - just don't forget, buying a Mac like this is like buying an expensive car - the services cost a bloody fortune, you can't fix it yourself (not easily) - but they are stunning, I'll admit.

    1. Matt_payne666

      I agree...

      I love apple stuff, but it never seems to last... the water based paint on my Ti-book all washed away on the wrist areas, then the bare carbon took to electricuting me when it was humid!

      My alu powerbook developed superdrive problems and had that replaced twice, needed 2 batteries tthen toasted its charging unit a few months outside my extended apple care...

      of the thousand or so tier one laptops I support, ive never had a single one that was as problematic as the powerbook... and that cost easilly 3 times what I get my clients to spend!

      Panasonic is my personal prefered laptop supplier now!

    2. stu 4
      Gimp

      servicing

      On the other hand: I have a 2006 imac,

      screen started to go all wonky end of last year with lines all down it. (this is a 4 year old imac - no apple care, and in fact I'd got 2nd hand off ebay)

      took it into genius bar - they said it was a known problem and repaired it for collection next day with a new LCD panel and motherboard.

      no charge.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    TWO FREAKING BUTTONS.

    Two buttons.

    Three Buttons.

    Three Buttons and scroll wheel.

    Now try to use a CAD software without any of those and take 3 times more. I hope to God There Is An App For That.

    Now downvote me three times.

    And oh yes, to get an HDD upgraded, bring the whole 27" of cockiness with you to the store to get it done.

    Now downvote me four times.

  41. Station Grey

    Overpriced

    I have the last model 27" with the i7 processor. Lovely machine.

    Was it expensive? Yes... though buying from Apple's refurb store will save you a large wad. Was it overpriced compared to the competition? No, it was cheaper.

    Sure you can buy the equivalent components for less and build yourself, or even go to a small independent company and have them do it. But go to a comparable big name and you'll pay more for something probably lower spec.

    So it's entirely fair to complain that big all-in-ones are expensive but irrelevant to say that this iMac is overpriced.

    As said, even buying separately won't be cheap.. a Dell 27" IPS monitor is nearly 700 quid. And it doesn't have a Mac squeezed inside it.

  42. bag o' spanners
    Devil

    i'll take the holiday

    You can easily build a faster, more reliable, and easily maintained pc out of bog standard high grade components, and spunk the change on a long beer-drenched holiday.. Maybe a mere 24" screen, no fairy lights, water cooling, or perspex, but hey, it's time the noncy lanbois got a good shoeing too.

    Style being ephemeral 'n all, I enjoy rugged utility a lot more. Cranking an i7 up to 4ghz with a Frio to stop it inadvertantly launching WW3 is a lot easier and cheaper than trying to teach unicorns how to breathe fire by winnowing at them..

    The lamentable hd performance of Macs has never ceased to amaze me, particularly in audio studios, where speed equates to available audio channels and processing ability. Given the comparably extortionate pricing of Mac compatible AV peripherals and the cost of autohang brainfart downtime, I'll pass.

    I'd definitely want two internals on a box that pricey, for physical separation of applications and data. Call me cranky, but I don't mind restoring my OS, apps and drivers to a fresh hd in the event of bigfail, but I have no great desire to peel a tb of crucial data off a mixed logical drive meltdown..

    When it comes to 64bit performance, for hd and 3d rendering, audio, RAW retouch and the like, I'd rather trust my own experience than a bunch of minimalist furniture designers who stuff their high art box with low grade components. It's very much a media pc with a bit of fruit on it, and all the associated cooling issues the thin format brings with it. And no bluray burner for instant client session backup....oops!

    I've used Macs since the 2cx first failed the accurate midi clock test. Never bought one, because I'm still waiting for a reliable industrial spec, where I can swap out fried components or upgrade software in five minutes without maxing out my overdraft and/or invalidating a worthless guarantee..

    My pc lifetime aftercare package cost me 50p at New Cov fleamarket, and consists of a phillips screwdriver (user manual included)..

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      ORLY?

      Odd that. I beta tested and use AutoCAD on a Mac with a Magic Mouse *daily* and I have absolutely none of the problems that you allude too. Why? Because you are making bullshit assumptions without relevant experience. End off, no returns. In fact as a seasoned AutoCAD user (~20 years) I don't even need a frickin' mouse to operate it; Mac, Windows or otherwise! It works perfectly well with SolidThinking and Cobalt, as well as LightWave, Cinema 4D, Maya, VectorWorks, ArchiCAD, DraftSight, ZBrush, MudBox, Silo, modo and even Blender to name just a few. Amateur...

  44. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Keyboard

    Yes, the keyboard is crap. I use one for my server but would never tolerate it's clumsy feel for daily use. If you accept that it's crap, you can now accept the solution to its wobble without cringing: Bend it. Yep. It's mostly aluminum and you can bend it to fit your desk.

  45. stu 4
    Gimp

    nice

    bloke in my office just got one today. I've been humming and hawing about replacing the quadcore hackintosh I have with one for a few months (mac household: imac, mac mini, MPB17, MBA11).

    I run 2x22 inch dell 1600x1200 monitors on the hackintosh and its fully utilised for final cut pro duties and garageband (with firewire pro sound, leccy guitars, shure mics, monitor speakers, etc).

    A 3.4 27 incher would probably be about 2.5x as quick as my current Q6600 hackintosh. And it would sleep and hibernate (damned if I can get my P5e to do that with SL). But I'm not sure that I might lose something from having one big screen rather than 2 smaller ones - running one app 'dull screen' and having the other spare, running aperture in dual screen mode, etc... and pixel for pixel 3200 x 1200 is better than the res of the 27".

    hate reflective screens and specified the matte one on my MBP17 - but then I'm using that everywhere - this is fixed in place somewhere, so I don't think its a big problem.

    So I agree its a heart over mind thing - if it gets bought it will be because I get my bonus this month and it's a damn site more fun to spend some of it on an imac than on the mortgage! :-)

  46. Kfmush
    Alert

    What the FW800 port is for:

    You probably didn't realize this, but video technology doesn't advance as fast as all other technology, it would just be too damn expensive. That being said, the standard for most Prosumer to professional grade HD video cameras is FireWire 800 and has been for the past several years and will probably continue to be so for another many years. I paid $3000 for my Canon XGA1 (which actually uses FW400 and I have to use an adapter for my iMac) 4 years ago and I am not going to shell that out again unless the cameras become necessarily more advanced. Which thy won't any time soon, because the XGA1 is pretty awesome and has been for the past 5 years. The SD version of the camera was the standard and used FW400 for well over 10 years. When I need to update my iMac, an absolute requirement is that it has a FireWire port.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Firewire 800

    Firewire 800? Use it every day! Can't be doing with the arthritic speed of USB2 and Thunderbolt drives aren't widespread yet.

    Also Firewire 800 is also backward compatible with 400, meaning it's used for DV devices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      just add a normal apple monitor to the 27'' it supports it

      qed.

  48. MooseNC
    Paris Hilton

    Paying for style. It's Kodak for computers.

    Can get almost the exact system (with 2gb graphics that aren't a chopped-down mobile, 1200w ps that won't burn out in two years, faster dvd burner, better res webcam, easier to upgrade..) PC that can be turned into a hackintosh for £1268.68. Most of that cost being the graphics, £239.22, the PS, £173.08, and the case, £95.49. With standard VAT of 17.5%, that goes up to £1490.70. Add another hundred quid and it's still cheaper. Paying a lot for style there. Macs are really nice to look at, just hate the price premium for low-quality crap from the suicide factory (Foxconn) in China.

    My favorite Apple computers were the IIgs, IIc+, 180c, and the Color Classic II (Only in Japan, but had a ton of them back in Alaska...)

    Personally, I like to be able to do what I want with my hardware. I also like to still be under warranty even if I smoked a cig near my computer.

    And Paris because if she knew what a computer was, she'd probably choose a mac...

  49. vic 4

    13.8kg, wow

    I remember around 10 years ago I used to sit in front of a SGI workstation (an octane) with two 28" monitors. One day I and my colleagues had to move desks, never did such a hard days work since I worked as a lumberjacks assistant in summer holidays shifting fallen trees out f the way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Screen?

      What about a 27" IPS screen? Add £700 to your valuation. VAT is 20%, not 17.5, hasn't been for 6 months now. So in actual fact, the cost is £2222.41, which is more including VAT @20%. Next...

  50. cnapan

    @ivanheadache

    I think you're going beyond the call of duty to defend this machine against my criticisms:

    "Have you ever had a kid sit in front of a screen where there are buttons facing them - especially and on-off button?"

    ...or a keyboard, which is a whole array of buttons. Perhaps that should be round the back too?

    "Why is it so important to you that [the on/off button is] easy to see?"

    So that someone can work out how to turn the damn thing on without consulting the manual. Feeling around the back of electric devices isn't a good design decision, no matter what you may say.

    "You comment about the keyboard being no good for touch-typing is OK - for you. I've plenty of clients who claim that it's the best keyboard they've used in years for touch-typing."

    Well they're not me. I was giving my opinion. Is that so wrong? I never thought I'd be criticised on here for having an opinion.

    "I do think [the screen] looks amazing but I do wish is wasn't so shiny. However, a good design studio will not be equipped with bright lights everywhere so it is not quite the problem that some claim."

    ! Goodness. So we must all be in design studios now must we? Alternatively, Apple could just put a matt screen on all the machines so that anyone, anywhere could use it without it turning into an expensive mirror.

    "I'm not sure why you would need a trip to the manual to find out how to click. That strikes me as the comment of a person who has no idea what a mouse is for or has lived in a cave since 1984."

    No, it's the comment of a person used to a mouse with 3 buttons and a mousewheel, when presented with a mouse with no buttons at all and no mousewheel.

    Most people can work out how to click on this idiotic device, but few work out you have to tickle its back to scroll, and I would give an award to anyone who can figure out how to 'right click' with it - something many professional packages require.

    Goodness gracious. Computers are primarily for doing stuff with. The prettyness shouldn't get in the way of that stuff. Apple sells itself on the idea that it is just simpler and more intuitive. That certainly is not the case with the hardware - at least here.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Well...

      At least they've got rid of the glowing light that the previous design iMacs had that told you that the machine was hibernating (i.e. off).

      This review's missing the basics that people who might be interested in an iMac should know:

      - The supplied mouse (in all its forms over the years - puck, Mighty Mouse, Magic Mouse) is useless, can even end up worsening RSI in an alarmingly short time (speaking from experience with the Mighty Mouse) and when you buy up your machine you should get either a cheapy standard Logitech or Microsoft mouse at the same time, they do them in white or silver so as not to destroy the Feng Shui with the rest of the machine.

      - The supplied keyboard is like a laptop keyboard and if that annoys you on a desktop machine you need to invest in your own keyboard.

      - The new mouse or keyboard can be USB cable or Bluetooth but it's probably best not to go for one of those with their own USB dongles.

      - The options in preferences to make the mouse context menu and scrollbars slightly more sane.

      - Is iLife and/or iWork included in a fresh install of 10.6.7? Which programmes now compose iLife and iWork? Are they full or demo versions? Or are we all expected to download them separately from the Mac App Store at further cost (requiring you to sign up for an Apple ID which aren't exactly known for their security)?

      As for the previous comment that you replied to about on/off buttons on the front, Windows can be programmed to ignore it in the energy options. Windows can also be programmed to unlock the screen saver without a password (just enough to stop small children dragging icons round your desktop without inconveniencing everyone else in the family).

      Meanwhile on the Mac you must have a password to unlock the screensaver and you need a third party program (OnyX) to stop your Dock from being destroyed by little fingers pushing the mouse about.

      As someone who uses both Mac OS X 10.6 and Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.6 is probably still slightly nicer but there's very little difference between them now. You really have to ask yourself if the price and keyboard/mouse inconveniences are worth it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Really?

      "So that someone can work out how to turn the damn thing on without consulting the manual." If, whilst plugging the power cable and other peripherals into the back of the machine, you don't spot the I/O button, you have bigger problems than the need to RTFM. Ironically perhaps, these machines do not come with printed manuals per se, they can however be accessed on the machine, provided that you can turn it on. think of it as a test.

      "Feeling around the back of electric devices isn't a good design decision, no matter what you may say." And your qualified how? As an industrial designer who has been working professionally for 15 years, I feel qualified to tell you that you are wrong. It's not a bad design decision at all. It's a pragmatic design decision because a power button of the front would look ugly and liable to be pressed when it shouldn't be. Before you chime in with the form over function nonsense, the button is placed at the bottom left-hand corner so to describe the action as '[f]eeling around the back of electric devices is' a stretch and just a little melodramatic.

      "Goodness. So we must all be in design studios now must we? Alternatively, Apple could just put a matt screen on all the machines so that anyone, anywhere could use it without it turning into an expensive mirror." I concur. The option would be nice. However, if your lights are so bright that they render tha machine 'an expensive mirror', you really ought to get lower powered bulbs because they won't be doing your eyesight any good if they are that bright.

      "No, it's the comment of a person used to a mouse with 3 buttons and a mousewheel, when presented with a mouse with no buttons at all and no mousewheel." No, Ivan was right.

      "Most people can work out how to click on this idiotic device, but few work out you have to tickle its back to scroll, and I would give an award to anyone who can figure out how to 'right click' with it - something many professional packages require." Even when there is a video in the settings showing you how to use it? Look, they really aren't that hard to use. I accept that if you are a stuck-in-your-ways luddite (ahem), you may struggle, but you are again being a little melodramatic.

      "Goodness gracious. Computers are primarily for doing stuff with. The prettyness shouldn't get in the way of that stuff. Apple sells itself on the idea that it is just simpler and more intuitive. That certainly is not the case with the hardware - at least here." Funny that because there are quite a few people that I know that don't get computers but love Apples kit *because* they find it more intuitive.

      I know I come across as smug and patronising, I'm not proud of it; it's just the way I am, but you come across as an ignorant know-it-all luddite that doesn't like anything that differs from the norm even slightly. The world simply doesn't revolve around you or your tastes. I totally accept that these are your opinions, but you need to accept that they are not fact and if you put them out there, people may well disagree with them.

      1. h4rm0ny
        Thumb Down

        Re: Really?

        Can I just clarify, that you made the argument that cnapan was wrong to say the mouse is unintuitve becase "there is a video in the settings that shows you how to use it?" Personally, any mouse that requires a video to explain how to work it, is not imo, likely to be a great mouse.

        1. magnetik

          @h4rm0ny

          "Personally, any mouse that requires a video to explain how to work it, is not imo, likely to be a great mouse"

          Do you think a person who'd never seen or used an iPhone would understand to pinch or expand their fingers to zoom in and out of a photo? Does everyone who tries a gesture based program like Opera intuitively know what those gestures are? Some things are different and are best explained visually.

          I know someone who used to stop moving her mouse when it was half way across the screen because she'd run out of table to drag it across. Took a demonstration of picking it up and replacing further "inland" before she got to understand that "intuitive" device.

      2. nick47
        Stop

        Just to address some of the points which have been raised.

        First off, the screen resolution is 2560 x 1440.

        When you place your order, you can choose to have a trackpad instead of a mouse at no extra cost. You can also choose a standard keyboard with a numeric keypad. There is no need to purchase one separately.

        All Apple mice since the Mighty Mouse have supported right click, they do not have a distinct button but if you click on the area where the right button would be, you can right click.

        All Apple computers come with the iLife suite of applications which includes iPhoto, iWeb, Garageband, and iMovie. The iWork applications (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) are available from the Apple App Store where they cost £11.99 each.

        Mac OS X supports managed user accounts which permit you to impose restrictions on the amount of control a user has including preventing modification of the dock icons. You can also prohibit any applications you choose, restrict access to the computer outside specific times, monitor what the child has been doing on the computer, and even block access to inappropriate web sites (all this is built in to every Mac.)

        You are not required to enter a password to unlock a screensaver on a Mac by default, although it is an option you can configure in the Security section of the System Preferences.

        There are significant differences between Windows and Mac OS X, but to go into them here would be a bit overboard. Suffice to say that if you don't feel any benefit to using Mac OS, then it's likely that to convince you that it has any benefits would be difficult.

        It's already been said, but it should be pointed out once again that all Intel-based Macs can run Windows natively, or inside a virtual machine. I use VirtualBox on my MacBook with an installation of Windows XP for those odd occasions when I need Windows for something (like when I recently updated the firmware on my wife's old Nokia phone - a task not possible in Mac OS X).

        Finally, I noticed that all price comparisons focussed on the cost of hardware an nobody included the price of a webcam, or speakers, or Windows 7 which as far as I know is about £100. That doesn't include a web page editor, a video editing package, a music creation tool, a basic image editor and library program.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      I claim my award

      Turn on "right-click" in system prefs. I'd like a krugerrand please.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      @cnapan

      "Most people can work out how to click on this idiotic device, but few work out you have to tickle its back to scroll, and I would give an award to anyone who can figure out how to 'right click' with it - something many professional packages require."

      Er, go into your mouse preferences and it shows you a little video about how to use it. Surely you understand, if not how to RTFM, how to watch a 5 second video?

      " I never thought I'd be criticised on here for having an opinion."

      The only proper answer to that is ..

      BWAAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH!!!!

  51. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Glossy screen?

    If that's really true, that would be a big no-go in Germany. Here by law computer screens at workplaces must be ergonomic, which includes that there must be no glare.

    Other than that, the Mac vs Windows argument is ridiculous. Both have X11 servers available and both have debian-like package managers from external parties. So there essentially is not much of a difference anyhow.

  52. h4rm0ny

    Ooops!

    Missed a couple of items. Better add in an equivalent graphics card so that's another £200 brings us up to around £1100. Also, misread the screen specs on the Apple site, it's not 1920x1080, so the two systems are equivalent. Still v. pricey, imo.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has to be an iMac....>>

    ...it's the only thing that looks adequate near my B&O Tv and sound system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      sums it up

      > it's the only thing that looks adequate near my B&O Tv

      in other words, here's someone with more money than sense because style matters more than substance.

      bang & olufsen kit is grossly overpriced junk. most of the innards are cheap philips components. so the audio and video quality from them is no better than the tat you can find in dixons, except at 10 times the price. still, the flashy bang & olufsen design will impress your image-obsessed chums from the golf club when they drive over in their mondeos to your barratt house.

      that said, apple's design and what goes into their stuff is far, far ahead of bang & olufsen.

      paris icon because she's cheap and nasty underneath the bling too.

    2. Britt Johnston
      Facepalm

      non-gloss-over cycle

      Do you remember the fly screens we used to put over 15in colour monitors in the 1980s? It made them readable in well-lit rooms, at a cost of reducing the brightness by 50%.

      I saw one on an office PC again last week...

  54. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Meh

    Ok, we get it.

    Now, can someone please shop a picture of Steve into the Monolith?

    Additionally, who the hell decided to make flat screens glossy (back in the mid-noughties)?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Price about right...

    Going to Ebuyer and speccing up the equivalent system (admittedly slightly better, with Bluray, a 2GB graphics card and a fast hard disk), I can quite easily spend £1000 to get something that will actually boot up (i.e. has a PSU, motherboard, case, mouse and keyboard ... which some other people don't seem to think is important), going for good quality components instead of the cheapest ones I can find (i.e. not trying to prove a point with crappy economy hardware). Add between £700-800ish for the equivalent monitor and that IMac starts to look really quite good value.

    As I (a) have no need for a 27" screen, (b) tend to upgrade small bits every now and again instead of buying a brand new £1600 computer every few years and (c) don't need my computers to pass the Wife-Acceptability-Test, I'm not about to actually buy an IMac anytime soon, but if those factors where reversed, then too right I'd be first in the queue for one of these.

  56. Joey

    Price comparisons...

    The other thing that you have to factor into your iMac/PC price comparisons... what will you be able to sell that similarly specced PC Frankenstein for after four years? Nothing. The iMac will still command a good second hand value. Now, subtract the second hand value from the new price and that's what you actually pay! The iMac is cheaper.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why a keyboard?

    If that piece of crap is all the keyboard they include, why do they include it at all?

    Macs seem to be designed around the idea that we're all using input devices invented in 2030 and delivered via some sort of time machine, and so the keyboard and mouse are just for some sort of backward compatibility requirement few actually need.

    Even if you buy a full-sized keyboard the buttons (they sure ain't keys) are totally shit for typing on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm

      Weird how pretty much all keyboards from Dony/Dell etc on laptops have copied the design then...

  58. zen1

    Well, I read the article

    Pros:

    Simple

    Uncluttered

    Fast Processing

    Graphics that Apple is famus for.

    Cons:

    Expensive, even for an apple

    Not Owner upgradable

    No Numeric Keyboard

    Personal opinion:

    WTF were they thinking? I'd almost be tempted to purchase one if it met the following conditions:

    It wasn't an Apple; it were upgradable & it had a screamer of a hard drive.

    Anymore, I refuse to purchase anything that benefits Steve Jobs, financially, in any way, shape or form.

    Sad

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Sad?

      Yes, you are!

  59. grumpyoldeyore
    Paris Hilton

    "and terrible for coders too"

    It has a i p n . What else do you need for ed?

    Paris cos I've heard she's a fan of 'ed.....

  60. kosh
    Meh

    I buy Macs because

    ... They look good in my house

    ... I'm a UNIX hacker and this is the best desktop *nix by far

    ... I can afford them

    ... I can still use Windows apps if necessary. Bootcamp, Crossover, Fusion, Citrix, View depending on where I am.

    I dream of being able to justify them in the enterprise, but Apple's entire operational strategy is geared against that (even with the chunky discounts and embedded support guy they offered me on the quiet). They remain harder to integrate and manage en masse vs PC clients, and there's no line of DC-grade servers.

  61. Wang N Staines

    "wobble and rattle on my desktop"

    You need to replace your cheap table with a more expensive iTable.

    Steve.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mac IPS monitor

    For those who bought one of these machines, is it possible to connect Xbox or PS3 to it?

  63. cnapan

    I knew better than to argue with a fanboi..

    This is getting so funny. I really oughtn't to, but I can't resist:

    About the button on the back.

    So the reasons you give are:

    a) It's ugly (!) What's so ugly about a button?

    b) Being on the front means it'll be pressed when it shouldn't be (!). Which also goes for the keyboard too no? Yet that's not on the back... You don't explain why that's not a problem.

    c) I'm not an industrial designer so what would I know? Well, in response, I do know that every single other electronic device that I own has the on/off button in a visible place, usually on the front. So perhaps you ought to explain why the industrial designers who designed these things are so wrong too?

    P.S. Read wikipedia's entry on the logical fallacy known as 'Appeal to Authority'

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

    "However, if your lights are so bright that they render tha machine 'an expensive mirror', you really ought to get lower powered bulbs"

    Stop being pathetic. My lights aren't "so bright". It's just an ordinary room lit by daylight. All the computer screens with matt coatings are completely legible. The ones with gloss coatings (all macs) are like mirrors. This isn't an unusually bright room. If it weren't a problem, Apple wouldn't offer a matt coating. Stop pretending that the problem is our office. It's a simple question of design - or more importantly - what happens when style interferes with function. That you feel the need to defend it is a mark of fanboi-ism.

    In response to my point that the mouse is intuitive, you hilariously say that there's a video in the settings somewhere that explains, so that makes it alright.

    It is not intuitive to start trawling through the settings of a computer in search of a video that will tell you how to use one of the primary input devices on the computer. That you could even suggest such a thing is another sign of terminal fanboi-ism. How would I even know that such a video exists, let alone that I should look in the settings? If this is intuitive to you, I shudder to think what your industrial design looks like.

    "I know I come across as smug and patronising, I'm not proud of it; it's just the way I am"

    I don't care aboutt that. I only care that you seem to be defending things which are silly, and which lots of other mac users get annoyed with. Lots of people in our office for example complain about glossy screens, the small keyboard, the shitty mouse. With the exception of the screen, these things are easily remedied with cheap replacements. The thing is, when you have a premium product (which this is), you shouldn't feel the need to replace anything. If you buy a Rolls Royce, you wouldn't be happy changing the covers on the seats, would you? (No you would not).

    "you come across as an ignorant know-it-all luddite that doesn't like anything that differs from the norm even slightly."

    No. My sin is to criticise the brand which you have an emotional attachment to which draws you to defend each of their mistakes in ergonomics.

    I'm certainly not a luddite. For example, when the iphone came out, it demonstrated the first successfully resolved interface that could be driven by the fingers. It was an ergonomic success, and Apple rightly deserve praise for opening up a whole new industry there.

    People in our office don't wire up machines. They just use them. So when you defend Apple's decision to put the power button on the back, I presume you'll also find a reason why the people who didn't wire up their own machine (and discover by accident the location of the power button) to be somehow 'luddite' too.

    Apple have taken a step backwards in ergonomics in the name of the minimalist look of their kit. This is irritating. Successful design can result in good visual appeal without compromising function. You should know that if you really are an industrial designer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      It's a fucking button...

      It's hardly a 'mistake' to position it where you are clearly too stupid to find it.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    27" IPS for less than 400 squid

    http://overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MO-013-HO

  65. N13L5
    Alert

    OMG No touch screen!

    Fondle Apple? Fondle Philosophy doesn't extend to the desktop?

    Now I'll have to send it back, need touchscreen in photoshop...

  66. Dan Wilkinson
    Facepalm

    Wing Commander

    So, how many of you guys are wearing jeans today? Most? Cool, so how many are wearing branded jeans? G Star? Levi, Gap even? Most? I would say so.

    But why?

    Surely, at £50 a pair, even £100+ they perform the same function, are made from the same materials, even look the same as a pair of £6 Asda specials.

    So next time you "comment" on an Apple story just to bemoan the pricing, make sure your are wearing your "I can make these cheaper myself" Primarks rather than something that costs more for little perceived addedd value.

    What's that you say, but they are comfier, fit better, last longer? Who cares, you are only comparing on Specs remember, not value!

    Tits.

  67. xxlyyk

    expensive all in ones

    Not particularly against this machine, but I don't like all in ones. My oldest still in use hardware (currently moved to bedroom for watching occasional movie) is my Samsung 24 inch monitor. This was back in the days when regular 24 inches still cost 4-500 euros. Mine is an IPS and cost 1100+. The computer I bought with it has long since been replaced with faster parts. Not because it was necessary, but because I just wanter a faster machine, faster cpu, ssd, etc. This would not have been possible with an all in one.

    I am considering a cheap all in one with touchscreen, but an expensive all-in-one is kind of risky. Although I don't mind spending a lot on a notebook, but then again, not much choice there.

  68. Marcus Aurelius
    Angel

    I have one and I've become assimilated

    I've had one on my desk for the last month or so and can add my own observations

    a) The screen is the mutts nuts. I resent going back to my 1080p PC after using this.

    b) about once a week it doesn't seem to wake up from sleep

    c) I occasionally get a stray/ accidental mouse click registering - not sure which.

    d) the batteries in the mouse last about a month-6 weeks (with Duracell)

    e) why do I feel slightly dirty when I'm stroking the mouse to get a scroll action?

    f) 1600 quid?? damn

  69. TJ 2
    Pint

    Custom PC

    I have and always will build my own PC's. I work in IT and I'm a gamer so use my machine for much more than the average user.

    I can see why some all-in-one's are attractive to the masses but lets consider these things when discussing them

    - Lack of expandability/Future-proofing

    - All-in-One circuit boards, so a fault can deem the whole machine out for repairs for weeks

    - Integrated (and usually cut-down) versions of hardware, e.g. the VGA card in this Mac is the M version, if you look at the full pci-express card it is huge and costly piece of engineering, these machines have the mini pciexpress card which is a basic mobile version of the card installed. Lovely big screen, shame you wont be playing CRYSIS2 at anything close to the intended beauty! and definately no decent gaming at 2560x1440.

    - Traditional Apple flouting of the HDMI standard, so sorry, pain in the rear to use the screen with other kit.

    - Limited vendor options, e.g. what you can get from them as options when buying.

    - Lack of space for multiple disks, so data is not protected from drive failure

    Yes this all-in-one Mac looks good, not my cup o tea.

    For me, having my own-built PC I can.

    - Invest in a case and PSU that will last generations (3-5 years) (currently Zalman GS1000 case with 6-Sata hot-swap backplane)

    - Chose from a plethora of CPU/Mobo/RAM combinations and all I need do is upgrade these 3 to have a new machine, everything else is re-usable.

    - Chose to upgrade what I want and when

    - Have the space to add what I want and when

    - Ability to replace any failed component quickly

    - Hard disk redundancy/raid, I got room for plenty of drives to ensure no data loss.

    - I'm not restricted to purchasing what the vendor wants me to have

    - I get best value/performance for my money

    - I can chose the screen I want, not that this is a con of the Apple, its screen is something to be envied! But I can chose what I want and use up to 3 screens should I choose.

    ## Yes I have a big case I have to put under a desk,

    ## no - it's dead quiet (water cooled CPU),

    ## Yes it's noisey when I play games, but so is the constant pew-pew boom-boom of my guns!

    For me, I invest in my kit and make sure I get the most for my money. The build-it-yourself market is still huge, contrary to what some here seem to believe.

  70. gunnerjoe53

    Cost

    Hi All,

    You say you could buy a nice 3D game machine for this cost, does that include the 27" monitor?

    Joe

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Success!

    I try to imagine what it must be like to have splashed out your hard-earned, only for it to turn up in a slim box containing just four things I try to imagine what it must be like to have splashed out your hard-earned, only for it to turn up in a slim box containing just four things.......

    The answer is "Joy! Only 4 things! Plug it in, switch it on....celebrate new computer with a large brandy"

  72. jojo90
    Angel

    Do yourself a favour and buy one.

    So I grew up disliking apple products, the usual "why would I buy one when I can build my own for £x cheaper". Then I picked up an iPhone and started to warm up. Followed that with an iPad and figured it was good fun. And eventually bought one of these 27" i5 machines and they are simply fantastic! Amazing screen, good for games, and OSX is 'fun' to use on a day to day basis. I have dual boot but only go into that for games.

    This is from a former Comp Sci geek who ran Linux on his laptop and chastised my brother in law for years for working at an Apple store. Guess I've just grown up a little and don't have the time or patience to be constantly fiddling around with hardware/software to make my PC work.

    This machine just works and it does it elegantly and unobtrusively :). Yes, perhaps I am now a fanboi, but there is a good reason for that. I think now, like I used to be, people don't like Apple products because they've never tried them and they look expensive for what they are :).

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