I have been using my Apple iMac 20″ 2.66 GHz for a month now, and I am writing this review for the benefit of those of you who are thinking of getting an Apple iMac. Some of the opinions here may even help those of you who are thinking of getting other Apple products like the Mac Book or the Mac Mini.
So far I do not have any regrets buying this computer. Read my review below.
The Apple iMac is built on the Intel platform, which means that the insides are similar to a Windows PC.
If you want to compare the performance of the iMac with a PC, I think you are going to get similar results because the computer architecture is the same.
The Apple iMac 2.66 GHz processor is quick enough to run any software you can throw at it. I have not had the luxury of running processor intensive applications (like Quake 3), but so far it handles everything I want to do without any delay.
My iMac came with 2GB RAM, but there was a free upgrade to 4GB RAM promotion. This is really sweet because I’ve maxed out my RAM, which will help to increase the usability of my computer for a couple of years.
For storage, the hard disk is a 320GB Serial ATA which gives me more than enough storage, since I’ve been used to living with a 20GB hard disk on my old laptop.
There is a Super DVD drive which supports reading and writing DVDs. The DVD drive is located at the right side of the monitor, which is really cool.
The usual networking options such as Bluetooth, Wi Fi and Ethernet are built in. There are five USB ports, three behind the screen and two under the keyboard.
You can read the complete technical specs at the Apple iMac website.
The design is the big selling point for the Apple iMac. You don’t have a mess of cables that you find with many desktop computers.
The first thing you notice about the iMac is the screen. It is a 20 inch display that displays vibrant colours. Photographs really look amazing on the screen, and I can understand why graphic designers choose to use macs to do their work.
The picture above does not reflect how the colours look… probably I need to improve my photography skills!
The monitor sits on a metal base that allows you to swivel the monitor up and down. Some have reported viewing angle problems, but so far I don’t face the same issue. The brightness is also consistent in all areas of the screen.
The slim keyboard is really amazing. I like how slim it is, and I love how the keys are wide and spaced just right. I find that it is easier to type faster because I’m not hitting the wrong keys all the time.
Another thing I love about the iMac is how quiet it is. You won’t hear any noisy fans whirring, it just sits there, quiet as a mouse.
I am really impressed with the design of the computer. You can tell that Apple has put a lot of thought into every little detail.
I have not used the computer very long to tell you about the quality, but I suspect that the iMac does not fail in that area as well.
It even comes with a built in web cam!
When it comes to software, the first thing I want to mention is the OS X operating system. I’ve been using Windows all this while, and I find OS X to be a fast and extremely stable operating system.
There are so many cool features like the dashboard and the dock. I understand that Windows Vista now has these cool features as well.
The interface looks and feels amazing.
The iMac comes with iLife pre-installed, which is a suite of applications like iPhoto, Garage Band, and iMovie which you can use to manage all your media.
I love the application called Front Row, which turns your iMac into a media centre. It will generate photo slide shows, or play music and movies with a remote control.
It’s a really cool feature that you must see for yourself.
I bought the iMac 20″ 2.66 GHz for RM5,299.
This is quite expensive compared to other notebooks and dekstops. My estimation is it will cost about RM800 more than a Windows PC with equal hardware specifications.
The Mac Experience
Now comes the question which every Windows user (including myself) will ask. Should I move from Windows to a Mac?
I used to worry if I could still do everything I used to do in my Windows PC. The answer is, yes!
Honestly, most of my computing is done online. So installing Firefox actually met 80% of my needs.
I installed Open Office to read my Word and Excel documents, and Adium for instant messaging with my MSN contacts. There are open source programs for anything you might want to do.
Worse come to worse, you can use a feature called Boot Camp to install Windows XP on your iMac, and launch your Windows applications from there.
I have to warn you that it does take some getting used to. Some of the interface design seems to be the opposite between OS X and Windows XP! By default, the mouse does not have a right-click function. You have to change the settings yourself.
The control key is actually the command key, and so on. You have to figure out how to copy files, install applications, connect to the Internet and manage your documents.
But these are minor things. You can find out a lot of information on Google.
I love how easy it is to install applications. In most cases, you just drag a downloaded program to the Applications folder and you’re done. Removing applications is as simple as dragging the application to trash.
There is no registry and shared files for you to worry about.
Another plus point is the relatively low threat of virus infections and spyware. If you’re web-savvy, you don’t need to install any anti-virus application at all.
The iMac can read hard disks and USB drives that were formatted in Windows, but I think it cannot write to a hard disk formatted with NTFS.
The Bad Stuff
There are some downsides I found with the Mac. Perhaps I’m not familiar enough with the Mac system.
1) There is a learning curve, but thankfully there’s a lot of help freely available.
2) It’s difficult to organize my files. I am used to opening many folders and moving files between folders using cut and paste.
3) The mouse has side buttons where you can squeeze the mouse to trigger an action. I find that I accidentally squeeze the mouse too often.
4) You can setup different profiles, but for Firefox I have to install extensions and updates separately for each profile. Same goes for application settings. I wish there was a way to set some settings to apply for all profiles.
If you can afford it, then it is worth paying a bit more to get such a high quality computer.
It’s like buying a car. Pay a bit more and you will get a car where you will find driving more enjoyable and comfortable.
Go get one today!
Apple iMac Website
When to Buy a Mac (see if upgrades are planned to be released)