The iMac boasts the clutter-free layout of a laptop with the larger monitor size of a full desktop computer. With features and layout combining the best of both designs and a price range somewhere between the two, the iMac is a perfect compromise for users who can’t decide between a laptop and a desktop Mac.
Although the solid-state design is less optimal for aftermarket customization, these units are best suited for users who desire convenience and ease of accessibility over maximum power and options.
Users can choose between a 21” model starting at $1,199 or a 27” model starting at $1,699. Both are completely wireless and free of clutter – which model you’ll want probably depends on whether you gravitate more towards laptops or desktops.
The new 2012 iMacs feature Quad-core Intel Core i5 processors available in either 2.5ghz or 2.7ghz speeds, with a possible upgrade to the i7. The processor, cache, memory controller and graphics engine all reside in the same chip; with less distance to travel, higher speeds can be achieved.
During the more processor intense functions, the Turbo Boost feature can boost processor performance up to 3.8ghz temporarily. Impressive 500GB hard drives and 4GB of RAM come standard and can be upgraded to 1TB and 16BG if desired.
The iMac comes with a FireWire port and four USB 2.0 ports; not first-class, but adequate given the price range. There are also two ports for the Thunderbolt data transfer cables, which run at up to 10gpbs.
Depending on which model you choose, the graphics are powered by the AMD Radeon 6750M or 6970M graphics cards, both of which offer up to three times the performance of the previous generation of iMacs. The 27” version is especially impressive, and features the best graphics capabilities of any all-in-one computer currently available. The FaceTime HD camera that comes with the unit is another nice touch and allows for video conferencing with resolution of up to 720px.
One drawback of the iMac is that there is still no HDMI input. On the other hand, an HDMI input can be connected to the iMac if an external adapter is purchased, but at this point it is probably time for Apple to start putting HDMI ports in all their machines.
The same goes for Blu-ray drives, which are noticeably absent from the iMac as well. It remains to be seen whether either of these features will show up in future versions of the iMac, but it seems likely they will.
The keyboard is designed to save space and streamline the unit’s appearance, but it comes at the cost of some functionality; most noticeably, the right hand numeric pad is missing from the keyboard.
Although the updates to the 2012 model are nothing to sneeze at, many were hoping that the amazing new Retina display would be available for the iMac and unfortunately, it is not. Depending on how important the display is to you may be the determining factor on whether you buy the 2012 iMac or wait for the next update, which will most likely come with a Retina option.
If you’re a laptop user who spends 90% of their time with their laptop set up on a desk, or a desktop user who is sick of all the clutter of cords and wires bogging them down, an all-in-one model may prove to be the perfect solution, and the iMac is still the best option available in this arena. Although the Retina would have been nice, the iMac 2012 still impresses.