You'll probably be considering this computer for one of two reasons. Either you are a PC user who is considering converting to a Mac. Or you are a Mac user and you are weighing up the 20" vs the 24" - or perhaps the merits of going from laptop to desktop.
If you are the former you are probably already weary of Mac evangelists preaching to you. All I will say is this: for the last 15 years I have used a PC at work and a Mac at home; and every morning at work I turn on my computer and sigh with disappointment. I know my work PC will do most of what I need, but doing it will be an utterly joyless experience. Frequently, if I have more ambitious computer-based projects to do, I will come and work on my Mac at home. It will be faster, more elegant, more fun, and more effective. Why? Because Apple seem to predict the needs of the multitasker so well. They assume you will want to perform lots of parallel tasks, all of them quickly, and that you will want to move between them. So that's what it is designed to do - and to do it intuitively and attractively. Furthermore, you can run Microsoft programmes on Mac - but not the other way around. So it's easy to bring the PC-based office home.
If you are a Mac user already, then perhaps you are like me. I began to find the memory on my MacBook Pro too limiting, so went for the iMac, with memory upgraded to 1Tb - leaving my laptop for when I am on the move. 20" or 24"? My answer is: if you are working at a desk, close to the screen the 20" is just fine. If you want to use your iMac as a media centre, watching lots of movies and video, you will find this 20" a little disappointing - so go for the 24".
A couple of other tips:
Amazingly Macs come with no wordprocessing software. So pre-buy Office for Mac or some such for around £100 to avoid frustration.
Transfering the content of your existing Mac to this one is an absolute doddle - just follow the easy on screen instructions on initial start up. However the first option offered is through Firewire, and the iMac is now Firewire 800. I found all my existing Firewire devices were 400 - and so, therefore, were their cables. You can get an 800-400 adapter on Amazon for a tenner, so you'd feel smug if you had pre-bought it. Alternatively, panic not - it offers an ethernet-based transfer as an alternative (though again, no cable supplied).
The wireless keyboard offered for the iMac is cheap, lovely, and the simplest thing to connect - again just follow the instructions. It's a very worthwhile extra.
The front of the iMac is a thing of beauty - but that's because all the ports are around the back. This is a bit annoying for things like memory sticks that you quickly connect and disconnect. I found it best to use a cheap little USB2.0 extension lead to hang off the back onto the desk. Mine's a 4-way, so it also increases the total number of available ports from 4 to 7.
If you ask Apple to preload any software, you will have to register it when you first open it. The registration numbers are supplied, but note that in the mix of letters and numbers in the very long number it is easy to confuse the letter O with a 0 (or zero). You'll save yourself a call to the helpline if you are alert to this.
And overall: a beautiful bright screen, with the harddrive built it, making the whole device low impact. A joy to use. Apple kit just gets better and better - of course the next version will be more gorgeous still. So to own is also to yearn..
A superb machine. Admittedly more expensive than a comparable PC, but - if you can afford it - well worth the extra expense. Easy to set up. Simple to use. Fast and trouble free operation. Also, the screen quality is outstanding, as is the styling. I heartily recommend this machine to anyone who requires a desk-based computer that does what it says on the tin!
Apple's elegantly designed imac stands apart from its competitors. It will take you 5 mins to get going - plug in the keyboard, connect to power, turn on and you are away, after completing some basic registration details. Data transfer couldn't be easier from other computers, although this takes a while if you choose the wire-less option. The graphics and applications are superb - a joy to use.
What can I say... after years of using a PC at both work and home, the iMac is pure pleasure to use...powering up and ready to go is virtually within seconds. I could go on and on with all the reasons for praising the iMac, but I'll leave those surprises for whoever wants to make the switch for themselves. I wouldn't say anything bad about the PC as it has served me well for years, the most recent being Vista, However all I will say is the iMac is, I believe in a totally different league.
* Update - April 2014, still very pleased 5 years after purchase
Strangely if you asked me if I liked macs 8 years ago I would of said a big fat 'No'. Now however its quite the opposite. I am amazed with how good these computers are. They are logical and have very few errors unlike windows current operating system Vista. I grew up with windows since 1995 when windows 95 came out. So over time I have used the windows 95, 98 and XP. It was all going swimmingly until the year 2008 came along when I much needed new computer. As I was going to college I thought a laptop would be a good idea. So I got a cheapish HP laptop. Big mistake. In just over a year it had so many problems that I almost felt like throwing it out of a window. It overheated and turned itself off, couldn't recognize the CD drive, slowed down and one of the USBs stopped working and when you only have 3 slots thats a bit deal. Plus many more problems that could go on forever. All these problems are mainly because of the biggest mistake of an operating system ever. Windows Vista.
So obviously I needed a new machine. I didn't trust Vista or cheap laptops so a desktop without Vista was needed. After using one year old iMacs at college I decided to purchase this iMac. BTW it wasn't off Amazon as I am a student and I couldn't ignore the amazing discount from Apple. I got not only this computer but also an 8GB iPod touch and 3 years extended warranty as it should of cost well over £1200 but I got the lot for £900 because of my student discount. Thats cheaper than the RRP cost of the iMac alone! Fantastic.
Now to the review. The iMac is very quick to set up. Simply and put the Mac on the desk plug the power, mouse and keyboard cables in, switch it on, Fill in a few details and your ready to go. Internet ready and everything. Operation is very smooth and fast and I have even played AoE III well on it. Ironically a game made by microsoft. The screen is great. Bright, crisp and plenty big enough. I don't know why anyone would want the 24" version. To me that would be too huge. Sound quality is brilliant. I love using Garageband that comes for free and it is such a logical and cool program to use. This iMac is way better than any Windows OS computer because you don't get the overwhelming error messages and problems that happen for no apparent reason. OK so Macs are a bit over priced especially without the student discount. I think I might of thought twice if I didn't have the discount and obviously at the same price you can get a higher specs windows computer. But again Vista adds so many problems that even XP didn't have. So overall I started off as a windows lover. But now it is the 21st Century and I'm using a PC for the 21st century an iMac.
Does what it is supposed to do, better quality and faster than all the laptops previously owned. I have other apple products such as iPhone 6s, apple TV HD and iPads and iPods too. I have never been disappointed. I'm sure this iMac which is my first will be no exception. If it lives up to my expectations i'll invest in a newer model.
What can I say. My computer experience for home computers stretches back to 1981, when the ZX 80 kit arrived, quickly followed by a ZX 81 with a 16k ram pack (unblievable now) going on through Spectrum, Sinclair QL, Atari and then in 1989, my first PC. Since then I have followed slavishly the PC model, from 8 bit through to dual core processors and supposed 64 bit architecture. I have finally bitten the bullet and bought a Mac. Accompanying these computers have been the various Microsoft applications and operating systems from DOS 3.2 (even DR_DOS) up through the windows operating systems to currently a very unstable and resource hungry MS Vista.
Today after a few hours of using a Mac, I feel like someone who has finally seen the light: I am a born again Mac user, a computer evangelist again. Absolutely fabulous. Boot up is incredibly fast and the system is both intuitive and easy to use. I have not even bothered with MS applications for office use, why when there is an excellent Open Office facility which if it is good enough for my Linux PC, has a menu system similar to office 2003 and moreover it is free, unless you wish to make a payment to charity and my Mac is set up to work as what appears to be a supercharged PC.
I am not knocking PCs at all, far from it, they have served me well, even through all of those ctrl-alt-del moments for which I should be suing Microsoft over for RSI. No my PC's have really done what they were purchased for, but and it is a big BUT, I was delighted with my first proper car, a brand new Morris Marina and can remember when I sadly traded that faithful servant in for a brand new Audi 80, both got me from A to B, but within 10 minutes of being behind the wheel of the Audi, I knew the British motor industry was years behind and doomed! That is the best way I can describe what it felt like as I started to discover what the Mac offers over a windows based PC - both computers do seek to achieve the same aim, but the PC is definitely in the Morris Marina class.
I will continue to use my MS powered laptop for some things as I have purchased loads of software for it, but I just cannot put into words how good this Mac is. This is how after at least 20 years in the mainstream for home use, PCs should work - not a never ending iterative process with yet another operating system which fails to work or satisfy its hype: XP isn't perfect, but at least after some significant upgrades it is passable, but we are two steps further on with Vista and the soon to be released Windows 7. Is Snow Leopard Apple's (installed on this machine) version of Vista as Apple's latest operating system is not uniformly spoken of positively? I doubt it and even if there are problems, look at the current upgrade price: £25.00 when compared to £65.00 for MS 7.
As a summary, the PC has continued to develop like the Morris Marina (could it be possible) and the Mac is far in advance of that. Whether I am an evangelist or an AUdi fan, the Mac is definitely one of which to proclaim "praise the Lord, glory Alleluia" or "Vorsprung Durch Technik"
I have had this 20" Imac for two weeks now and so far so good. It does everything I ask of it and it simply has not missed a beat. I have always owned PC's and this is my first ever Apple product. I was nervous of the change at first but after a few days it was easy. The build quality and functions are superb. Everything just works the way it should. The best way I can describe it is like driving a new BMW after driving an old Ford. It's not cheap but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I would recommend it to anyone.