Beautiful, big and pricey
Apple is known for making some of the most attractive computers on the planet. Only Sony really comes close in the race to build something that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Most other computer makers seem happy to slap together some components and pretty them up a bit to lure in the masses, most of whom just want a functional computer at the lowest price.
The 27-inch iMac best defines Apple’s approach to melding cutting-edge industrial design and computing power into a single package.
The first thing you notice once you have lugged the considerable weight of the box over your threshold and you remove the lid is the size of the screen.
Twenty-seven inches is the biggest screen I have had on my desk and at times it felt like I was sitting in the front row of a large cinema, having to turn my head from left to right to see everything.
It’s not the largest screen you can buy from Apple at the moment—the company also makes a traditional 30-inch screen—but it is probably the largest all-in-one computer on the market today.
Most people use screens that are, at most, 19 inches.
The only problem with the screen that I encountered is that it is very reflective. This means you need to make sure that it faces away from bright light sources. The new LED backlight makes the screen much brighter, compensating somewhat for this but is still an issue.
The one thing Apple has not done with the 27-inch iMac is skimp on the specifications. You get a 1terabyte (TB) drive and 4gigabytes (GB) of memory, which means that not only is there plenty of space for all your media files but your applications should also fly.
What many people don’t realise is that with modern operating systems the amount of memory is almost as important as the speed of the processor. Today 2GB is the minimum and 4GB is the preferred specification for a high-performance machine.
When it comes to processors the entry-level 27-inch iMac comes with a 3GHz Intel Core2Duo chip but you can buy it with faster processors, if your budget allows.
Budget is going to be the big decider here. At R20 000 for the cheapest 27-inch machine, it is going to put a big dent in the budget. When you consider that the 21-inch version of the machine starts at R14 000 you would need a compelling reason to spring for the more expensive option.
Personally I would rather buy the smaller system and spend the extra on an external hard drive or maybe a netbook to take on the road.