Photo answers review
Photo answers rating
For those unfamiliar with the iMac concept, the setup comprises just three core components – the computer itself, a wireless keyboard and a choice of either a wireless touch sensitive mouse or trackpad. Unlike a traditional computer setup in which the monitor and tower unit are kept completely separate, the iMac combines both of these elements, encasing all of the computer’s hardware components – including a set of built-in stereo speakers – into the back of the huge 27in HD screen, with a total thickness of just 20.7cm. In doing so, not only does it save a vast amount of physical desk space but it also severely reduces the amount of frustrating external connecting wires and cables. In fact, the only cable that’s actually included in the box is a single power cable – that’s it!
Inside, the iMac houses a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, accompanied by 4GB of RAM (2x2GB upgradable to a total of 16GB), making it more than capable of running the latest Adobe Photoshop packages, with multiple files open simultaneously, without stuttering. There’s also a huge 1TB (7200rpm) internal hard drive, which is large enough to store a library-worth of software packages, videos, images and much more.
The latest generation of iMac also includes the newly developed Thunderbolt technology, which is capable of transferring data at up to a staggering 10Gb/second. To put that into perspective, it’s almost 20x faster than a standard USB 2.0 connection (480Mb/s). There are also four standard USB 2.0 connections and a FireWire 800 port included so multiple connections can be made for devices like external drives and card readers.
Switch it on and it boots up in a mere 24secs before it’s fully functional and ready for use. Turning it off is equally impressive, with a shutdown time of just 5secs. Applications also open promptly with no lag.
When editing images using Photoshop CS5, processor-hungry filter effects can be applied almost instantly. Notably, the Filter>Liquify option, which is often slow to render when editing larger images, functions quickly and smoothly, even when adjusting super-sized 5616x3744px JPEGs produced by cameras like our Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
The massive 27in back-lit LCD monitor supports a high-definition resolution of 2560x1440px, and paired with a 1000:1 contrast ratio provides vibrant colours, dark blacks and an astonishing amount of clarity for a crystal clear image. Not only that, but the large display provides a massive amount of desktop work space, making it possible to have multiple windows and applications open without the screen ever feeling too cramped or cluttered.
Although the £1399 price tag is not within everyone’s budget, Apple does offer a range of varying sizes and specs of iMac, including a smaller 21.5in version which features a similar spec to the setup in our test at a reduced price of £1249, only with a lower resolution and fewer I/O ports.
With its superb build quality, top notch performance and lightning-fast operation, we were bowled over by the Apple iMac, making it fully deserving of a prestigious DP Gold Award.
AT A GLANCE
Street price: £1399
Processor: 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 6MB on-chip cache
Memory: 4GB (2x2GB) 1333MHz DDR3
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6770M, 512MB GDDR5 memory
Hard drive: 1TB (7200rpm)
Operating System: Mac OS X Snow Leopard
Ports: 4xUSB2.0, 2xThunderbolt, 1xFireWire 800, SDXC card slot
Monitor: 27in LED-backlit widescreen
Max Resolution: 2560x1440px
Extras: Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse
DIGITAL PHOTO GOLD AWARD