on May 13, 2011
A disclaimer of sorts: I write iOS and Mac apps for a living. I have written a few apps that I sell in the store, so I work full time with a Mac. I tend to buy a new computer every year, because that spinning rainbow wheel begins to eat away at my productivity as my projects grow in size, so I like to have the latest and greatest as it becomes available. I previously owned a Macbook Pro 17" (actually reviewed previously on Amazon by me) but decided to switch to a desktop for the added power and screen real estate. I used "Migration Assistant" to bring over my entire user account to the new iMac so that I was up and running in a few hours.
THE SHORT VERSION
Without going into too much back history, I can say the "short version" of this review is that it is a fantastic, speedy and powerful computer. I loaded it up with an extra 8GB of memory (Apple offers you an 8gb upgrade for a lot of money...you can buy an additional 8 to bring this machine up to 12 for half of what they charge you) and it just flies. I notice that apps that used to bounce for several seconds (sometimes 10+ bounces) now just bounce once before being fully open and operational. The screen is gorgeous, the all-in-one design is great and and the 1TB drive is spacious for all kinds of media.
THE LONGER VERSION
As mentioned, I have upgraded the machine to 12GB of memory. (Corsair 8 GB DDR3 Laptop Memory Kit CMSO8GX3M2A1333C9) I highly recommend to buy at least an additional 4 to put into your computer. It has 4 slots, which is great, because that's a lot of room for memory expansion. I'm letting you know all this because I haven't actually booted the computer up with only 4GB. I imagine it's still pretty speedy (thanks largely in part to the new Intel CPU) but it won't be able to load up as many apps at once with ease. Installing memory is really very simple (took about 60 seconds start to finish) so I can't recommend it enough.
The new processor is unbelievable. It tears through tasks. My app projects that would literally sometimes take 1 to 2 minutes to build on my Macbook Pro take a fraction of the time on here (as fast as 10-15 seconds)--and these are projects that are really very large in size. I also noticed that ripping DVDs to mp4s was a lot smoother and faster on the new iMac. It could go through about 2 hours of video in ~20-30 minutes (at a very high quality). There are tons of benchmarks floating around on the internet, so I recommend searching around for the speed of this particular iMac. It's impressively fast.
One of the major reasons I went for an iMac over a new Macbook Pro this year was to gain access to the super high res 27" screen. Whenever I see these in the Apple store, I am always in awe at just how much you can fit, and with so much clarity. Its native resolution is 2560x1440 which is much higher than the usual "1080p" (1920x1080 or the MBP's 1920x1200). This means you can fit many windows side by side, or blow up your Safari window to full size and experience the web in a whole new way. I manage multiple windows of Xcode side by side now with ease and still have room to space for chat programs and Twitter.
The size really is enormous. You have to stand in front of one and use it to really appreciate just how much screen real estate you get when you go to this size--especially at this resolution.
ALL-IN-ONE DESIGN / PORTS
So one of the other benefits to the iMac of course is its "all in one" design. The box it comes in has styrofoam (which is unfortunate, given Apple's commitment to being green) but you just pop those out, and then slide out your computer, unravel your power cord, plug in, and you're good to go. With this particular model, you get the wireless keyboard and the "magic mouse." If you can afford the extra seventy dollars, I'd pick up the trackpad. It's so much better than the mouse, and really easy to use. It also has a huge tracking surface letting you manipulate your apps in interesting ways.
There are four USB ports and two thunderbolt ports. Thunderbolt is great, but it's so new that I haven't found anything to really test it. You're supposed to be able power up to two other full size screens which is awesome, but I haven't tested it personally and I also don't own any native thunderbolt devices. I'm waiting for external hard drive makers to come out with Thunderbolt enabled drives too, because it will be way faster than USB.
Speaking of USB, the four are all lined up right next to each other but what's nice is that they are lined up vertically--so it's a little bit harder for a fat device to get in the way of two ports, so that's great. You'd have to have something that is very wide (which I'm sure is possible) but for the most part, the ports seem distanced enough to be able to plug in whatever you want.
Oh, and finally, you get a built in SD card reader which is nice. It's below the DVD drive on the side.
I tested out some games running in the native resolution and they play without a hiccup of any kind. Games at 2560x1440 are incredible--it's a whole new experience, honestly. You can also search around online for benchmarks for this particular graphics card (the 6970M). It's a very capable card. (Note: The M means it's actually the mobile version of the desktop 6970, but it's still powerful and will meet most/all of your gaming needs.)
MAC OS X
I won't really mention too much here. Mac OS X has been around for ages, and 10.7 is right around the corner (due this summer.) I used to be a Windows guy but after using Macs for several years now, I don't see myself ever "going back." I even have converted a lot of my friends and family to the Apple world and they all love it. I especially love that all new Macs come with the latest iLife (For photos, videos, etc) and the recently introduced Mac App Store. I've loaded up my computer with tons of apps that I would have never known existed without the app store. I know Apple didn't invent software, but packaging it all in an organized store right there on your desktop is great.
The first major downside to this computer is the sheer amount of heat it produces. If you touch the iMac after it's been on for a while (and actively working on it), you feel like you could cook something on it. It can get very hot.
The only positive thing regarding the heat is that the computer remains whisper quiet, even while running a full Flash video in HD. (Flash is notorious for spinning up your computer's fans. The latest version is a lot nicer though, especially if the website has updated their own Flash video, because its graphics accelerated, so your CPU won't die trying to render).
Another negative I read about this computer all the time is that it has no blu-ray drive. I personally don't care that it doesn't have a blu-ray drive because I prefer streaming media anyway, but I can understand why it's viewed as an important missing feature. The screen size and high resolution really would be nice to see a full 1080p video on, but I really don't think we'll ever see Apple provide a blu-ray drive, especially when they are in the game of selling movies via their iTunes store.
Overall, I think if you're in the market for a computer that will last you a while (or you're like me and always have to have the latest and greatest) then this is a fantastic contender. For me, I was basically instantly sold on it when I saw it uses the new "sandy bridge" Intel chips, and its high res screen. If you shop around, a 27" screen at 2560x1440 can cost upwards of one thousand dollars, so getting one built into a very powerful, capable computer seems like a steal.
If you have any questions or requests for info, please let me know in the comments and I'll respond/update!
on June 4, 2011
The other reviews have hit it right on and I'm not sure I can add anything more, but I'll give it a shot.
This computer is amazing. Not only is it a sleek and sexy machine, but wow is it powerful! I upgraded from an older Macbook mainly because I wanted a Mac with a powerful video card for video editing, photo editing and even some gaming. So far this computer has handled everything I've thrown at it. It's fast, quiet and takes the imac to the next level. I was going back and forth between this and the cheaper versions and even the smaller screen. I'm glad I made the choice I did and got the 27". After spending a few hours on the computer, looking at my Samsung 1080p looks the way standard definition did after you first saw HD! The clarity of the ultra high resolution monitor is by far the best looking screen on the market. I finally decided if you are going to spend the money, go for the best. Sure there is one model higher that can be purchased directly from Apple, but as usual Amazon delivered on the best price out there! For all the Mac haters out there that question the premium price Apple charges, there is a reason they can command the $$$ they do. They are powerful machines and works of art. No Windows based machine has the same lines as these beautiful machines. Apple has by far the best designers and engineers in the world.
The computer is much heavier than I expected, mainly because the aluminum case is solid. The great part is even though it is a heavy computer, it tilts with the push of a finger and stays exactly where you moved it. I've read complaints that this computer doesn't come in a matte screen. Sure the glossy screen does cause reflections in bright light, but so far I think the reflections are worth the trade off for the absolute dazzle the glossy screen provides.
Immediately on its arrival I upgraded the RAM to 16 gigs. It's as easy as removing 3 screws, popping out the old memory and filling all 4 slots with 4 gigs of DDR3 1333 mhz RAM.
The only negatives I can even list are that the computer runs hot. I did buy an app to monitor the temps and so far it's in line with my macbook. I think it just seems hotter because the aluminum disperses the heat through the top of the computer. When you touch the top of the computer you are amazed at the heat coming out. I also wish Apple supplied this computer with a wireless keyboard with the number pad. They do sell the corded version with the number pad, but I really wanted to stay wireless. I do miss the number pad, I'm not going to lie. Entering passwords is weird using the numbers on the regular keyboard! At some point I hope they offer a wireless keyboard with the number pad. The sound is also not overly amazing but I always use external speakers anyway so it's not a problem. It's a step up from the sound out of a macbook for sure, but it is aimed downward and not at you. The bass is decent though for built in sound if you don't want to add 2.1 speakers.
I can't end my review on a negative note though. The built in isight camera in HD is an awesome touch. I can't believe the quality of the camera to be honest. I look at myself on the screen and every imperfection of my face is captured. Do I really look that old!
I expect this computer to last me the next 5 years and I'm sure it will have no problem doing just that! I can't wait to see what accessories the Thunderbolt ports wind up supporting. I'd love to run and additional 2 27" screens at the same resolution using the ports eventually. Apple is usually way ahead of the curve so I have no doubt it is a technology that will catch on and will be amazing! There are many manufactures with products in the pipeline that will support Thunderbolt so I hope to see stuff hitting the market in the next few months.
You only live once, and life is short. You deserve the best, and this machine will not disappoint!!
Update: I upgraded to the same memory that JFLY referenced in his post. It was cheap, it is fast, and I have no complaints at all about it! Better than paying Apple $600 for a 16 gig memory upgrade! Also I can't wait to see what this computer will do with the newest version of OS X being released in July! No one really has mentioned that this computer is truly a 64 bit machine. I've installed windows 7 64 bit and I am amazed at how it also runs on this computer. XP on my older macbook was never 100%. It was good, it just never seemed natural. Windows 7 on this machine running in bootcamp is amazing.
on July 3, 2011
I am a long time PC user. I had my doubts about switching to a Mac but I have had such good luck out of iPhones and iPads it seemed like it was worth the risk, I just wish I had done it sooner. The 27" iMac is a thing of beauty. No cables for keyboard, mouse, and Internet keeps a tidy work/play space. The screen is HUGE and the colors are beautiful. I opted to purchase an additional 8 MB of RAM from cossair and installed it before I even plugged the thing in. Installation took minutes and this thing is very speedy. I do a lot of amateur photography using lightroom 3. My pictures look great on the screen and lightroom responds super fast. Some people have complained about the glossy screen, and I see where they are coming from. But I do all my editing in low light so it just doesn't make any difference to me. The operating system is actually very easy to use and the transition from windows has been painless. It is AWESOME to be able to use my computer without constant popups, antivirus updates, or the plethora of unwanted programs that love to run in the background of a windows system. The best way to describe the experience is clean. If I want it, it is there, if I dont, it stays out of the way. The only issue I have had is some Internet connectivity problems. The iMac connected to my wireless network with no problems but I would sporadically lose connection while browsing the web. A ten minute call to apple support had the problem resolved. I didn't drop any stars because I am actually glad that I got an opportunity to call on apple support. The experience is by far the best I have ever had with ANY technical support. I went to the apple website, used "express lane support". The website asked for the type of equipment I was using, what type of problem I was having, and the serial number of the computer. They then gave an option to have a technician call me (no waiting on hold!). I opted for someone to call me "now". Literally the phone was ringing before I could get up from the computer and find it. The tech was from the US, very knowledgeable, and had the problem fixed in minutes. I was so impressed I signed up for the 3 year warranty over the phone. I have nothing but good things to say about the entire experience. I am now a Mac user for life.
on September 27, 2012
I've owned this iMac for just under two months now. I waited to post a review until I was sure I had the chance to run a good amount of work through it. I was EXTREMELY happy with the machine up until about 3 days ago. I started to notice that my screen would flicker a little, followed by the left side of the display going dark. After doing a quick search on Google I found that this has been an existing problem with this model for quite some time.
The most consistent answer I could find was it being an issue with the LG display. There were other 'theories' about the darkness stemming from overheating, bad display connectors and leaving the brightness too high. I can say with with absolute certainty that my issue is NOT one of overheating. So it's off to Apple's tech support I go.
Other than the (rampant yet quietly kept) screen issue, the machine is absolutely beautiful. It's super fast and able to handle anything I can throw at it. I upgraded to a total of 12 gigs of RAM through Crucial.com so as not to get raked by Apple's insane memory prices. The iMac loves the RAM and works far beyond the capacity that I need for even the most demanding of graphic design jobs.
It pains me to give the machine such a low star rating. But my decision was based completely on the fact that Apple has been WELL aware of this issue for over a year now. Plenty of time to both warn buyers as well as replace the defective parts in machines that have not yet left the warehouses. I understand it's a costly venture and makes more sense to just 'Hail Mary' the computers to the public in the hopes that either the issue won't occur in every machine, or some people just won't notice (I'm not sure how). But to be so careless as to not issue at least an acknowledgement to the public is extremely unethical. Especially when dealing with a $2000 product in this economy.
If you have a chance to own one of these machines, I'd recommend doing so. Just be prepared for the potential downfall of having to send it in for repairs after 2-3 months. I didn't get Apple Care for this initially. That's something I will be remedying immediately after having this machine repaired.
You can see the screen issue at this link: [...]
on January 25, 2012
I'm a PC guy from day 1, and I really mean Day 1. I started way back when, with the IBM 5150, the first PC. I have made my living using PCs and MS ever since. I rejected Apple because back in the day it was either/or. With PCs having 90% of the market and Apple 10%, which are you going to use to stay in business? I recently was using an HP Mini Netbook and added all the bells and whistles, then it died. I looked at other Netbooks, and then stumbled across the MacAir, which made the Netbooks look like junk, similar in size to the netbooks, but no contest, a REAL computer at that size! For sure, I could buy 3 Netbooks for what the Air cost, but, no contest! I was so enamored, I then bought the 27" iMac, and what a revelation. I than bought a 21" for my wife and intend to buy additional iMacs/Airs for my staff. Not only is this a fabulous looking and functional computer, I can run Windows at the same time on the same computer!!!! Unbelievable! You can run Windows using "Boot Camp" which comes standard, but requires rebooting. Adding Parallels software allows integration of both Windows and Mac windows and is an unbelievable experience for an old computer guy like me enjoying the best of both worlds, and the productivity that goes with it!
on May 16, 2012
So I've had this iMac 27" desktop system for almost 1 year now.
I could not be more pleased and consider this one of the better thigns I've purchased over the years!
Like others, I've been using PCs for over 25 years and have always shyed away from Macs largely due to their price in relation to what seemed like compartively spec'd bargain priced PC counterparts.
However, I can proclaim with 100% confidence that the iMac is just simply a far superior product and while costing a bit more, delivers a far rewarding overall experience.
First the OS -- yes, it's true -- in the year I've owned this comp, it has NEVER crashed...not once...never froze, no viruses, etc. It's just been smooth running. (This is Lion I'm running)
Now for those folks afraid of switching platforms or if you don't want to re-learn a new OS, here's my advise -- if you've been around computers long enough, the leaning curve from going to PC to Mac is very much overhyped -- it took me maybe 1 - 2 days to get the general functions down; it's not at all difficult, and the operations all become very intuitive once you've got the basics down.
The 27" screen/display however is what really sold me here -- at this resolution (in the 2K), which is above the standard 24/27" HD monitor resolution, you can expect to pay clost to $700 - $1000.00 for a comparable monitor alone posting the same specs...
The screen is high quality, and makes viewing graphics, editing photos, and anything video/graphic related an HD feast for your eyes. This is a photog's dream machine for post processing.
Great thing is, should you feel the urge, you can hook up another 27" monitor via Thunderbolt and run dual 27" displays -- freakin cool!
Hardware wise, this system is quite powerful enough for me -- I can concurrently sustain running multiple photo editing programs, keep multiple web pages open & run music, with no issues or stress...I didn't opt for the SSD as the cost currently is far greater than the storage space you should be getting, but maybe a future upgrade, that would even further performance.
The build quality on this iMac is a breath of fresh air compared to anything PC -- its sleek, aluminum exterior is a beauty to behold - no complaints here and if you've never owned a Mac, you will be pleasently surprised! This is not some squeeking, all plastic PC.
I do recommend purchasing an 8GB ram upgrade and installing this yourself, boosting you up to 12GB overall -- don't pay for Apple to upgrade this as they rip you bigtime...do it yourself and save $150.00 -- it takes maybe 5 minutes to install -- I watched a youtue vide that shows you to install the extra RAM. This upgrade, while costing not very much, has an appreciable impact on perform that you can definitiely notice
The other thing is I want to mention is gaming -- I have to admit, I was an avid PC gamer while owning a PC. I've always felt PC games were far better in many circumstances than platform games, and so, was a bit down having to give up PC gaming when switching to Mac.
BUT, no worries -- you can run Windows on this machine, using the dual boot function. Nothing extra to buy (except Windows if you don't have it) -- the software already comes on the comp -- you just partition off a partial space on the HD, and boom, you can run anything Windows based -- I was very surprised how well this works -- I cannot notice anythig different than if you were using a PC based machine...same thing. All the games I've tried work perfectly...Stalker, Mass Effect, Fallout, Crysis, and several others I've tried work great -- run smooth...even on the highest settings!
So that's my review -- now go get one!
Even though the iMac costs a lot more than many other computers, I think it's a good deal. In some respects I cannot even compare my iMac to the PCs I've owned, for example. Also, I enjoy using it more than my MacBook Pro, which is the second best computer I've had.
I don't see Mac users switching to PCs and I understand why after using only PCs until not too long ago. With this Mac I don't worry about software causing my system to fail. I'm running Windows 7 64-bit with Parallels, so I can still use programs that would otherwise not be accessed on a Mac.
The computer comes with a firewall and encryption ability, and with Apple software called Time Machine that controls backups and allows me to encrypt backups. Features like those help make it simple to use this iMac.
The screen resolution is incredible. I have the 27-inch screen, which is great in general although presents a small challenge at times with font sizes of some sites. With trackpad (or magic mouse) it's easy to enlarge the view, although it does not always provide an optimal view depending on the way sites are organized.
One of the things I did was mount the computer on a strong monitor arm. That helps free up desk space and gives a better ergonomic view. To do this you have to get the Apple VESA mount, as no other mount will fit to the iMac. Also, I connected my iMac using the 2 thunderbolt ports (iMac has 2 of these ports) to 2 additional monitors (not Apple monitors as my budget didn't allow those).
I'm enthusiastic about this iMac and am glad I purchased it.
on January 1, 2012
I bought this Mac on Black Friday 2011 'cause of the savings, etc.
Setup was a breeze! I opened the box, took the computer out of the box, set it on my desk, unpacked the mouse & keyboard, plugged the power cord, and boot it up under 10 minutes! My Windows machine took me about an hour to setup. Not with this baby!
WOW, this computer is super fast and silent. Well, it was not silent the first time I booted it though. An upgrade was applied as soon as I checked for software updates that addressed an issue with the fan being cranked up all the time. After that upgrade, this computer became very silent!
EXPERIENCE w/ AMAZON:
Excellent, shipping was fast and it arrived in one piece!
Two thumbs up! This computer is "all-in-one" package that can satisfy a beginner & advanced user! Love it!
on August 26, 2011
I just replaced my 2006 PowerMac G5 with 12GB Ram & 30" Cinema Display (went into the recording studio, so hoping it still has a long life ahead of it), but was stuck at OSX Leopard because it wasn't Intel. This new iMac 27 FLIES! Running OSX Lion. It is my main graphics workstation, and is perfect! I've seen reviews complaining about the glossy screen. Any professional knows that computers used for pro design and color work need to be in a lighting-neutral environment - such as mine. I get no glare, nor do I get reflections from my environment polluting the colors. All-in all, remarkable! I've been using Macs since 1993 (and computers since the mid 1960s). This baby has it all!
on May 17, 2011
This computer is beautiful, fast and sexy. I use CS5 master suite collection and it works great, applications open without any hesitation and their performance is excellent and fast!
I use Aperture 3 with thousands of pictures in it and the computer handles everything very smoothly. It's awesome to have a huge screen to work on my images. I upgraded to 12GB of RAM. HD video editing and playback run without any problems. I use time machine for backing up my stuff and I love it. The screen brightness changes according to the light in the room which is a nice feature.
This computer it's well worth the price, nothing in the pc world comes close to the quality, design and looks of an iMac.
I'm very happy with my purchase, my desk looks a lot cleaner and spacious since I don't have a big pc tower anymore.