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on 1 November 2010
I have been a pc user for years and despite owning every other apple gadget under the sun (ipad, 4 variants of ipod and 2 iphones) I had never really given much through to an imac. Having become more interested in photography it became apparent that this really was the way to go.

It looks so beautiful in my study, no wires trailing everywhere, no large box under the desk to bash my knees on. I agree with other reviewers who have said that they wish they had made the move to mac earlier!

One last thought though, I had been planning on going for the 27" having seen it in a big airy Apple store. Glad I didnt though as even the 21.5" looks massive in my study!
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on 14 December 2010
Bought this model from Apple on their recent fall-over Friday event (or whatever they call it) when it was briefly cheaper than Amazon as a result.

This is my first foray into Mac's generally although I already own an ipod, previously I have owned Dell desktop and laptop PC's. I know Apple tend to polarise opinion and a lot of people drop into either the strongly pro or anti camp but I like to think that I was approaching the purchase (and this review) objectively.

The main concern is immediately obvious, even before getting the thing in your hands - the price. I have to confess that I was concerned that because Apple appear to ring-fence their products that they artificially inflate the price as a result. I'm not interested in paying a premium on any supposed kudos that attaches to owning a product from a particular manufacturer and I don't consider myself a brand slave. I managed to overcome this issue by rationalising the price vs longevity of the equipment - PC's tend to date so very quickly and before you know it you struggle with a couple of windows open (my Dell PC to be replaced was 5 years old and struggled, despite upgrades to RAM and the video card) and I understand that the Mac tends to manage on for longer before succumbing to eventual obsolescence. Of course, all this is based on research (and thus trust) rather than actual in-my-hands evidence so it may be that I was rationalising my desire to have a Mac and would have found a way around any problem - one for the existentialists I think!

To the product itself. Its surprisingly heavy but the weight isn't evenly distributed so you need to keep a firm grip. It may be advisable that removing the polythene protecting the screen is the last thing that you do, to avoid smearing the screen with greasy fingers. I like very much that there is potentially only a single cable connecting your computer to the power and that there is no seperate tower hiding under the desk, all the gubbins is in the screen that is on the desk.

Of course, in real life you will have peripherals connected via USB at some point and that is actually a little awkward because all the connections are on the back of the monitor. You have the choice of trying to connect blind (and hoping that you can guide the USB socket home by feel alone) or by sighing heavily and moving the monitor around so you can see and formulate a plan of attack to get the USB properly home. In a similar fashion I also find it awkward to insert CD's as these are slot loaded vertically in the side of the screen and the slot itself is generally not visible when you are sat looking at the Mac. I expect that within a matter of weeks it'll become routine to insert CD's without a second thought but I suspect that the USB connections will always be fiddly.

The supplied keyboard and the mighty mouse connected immediately on booting up the Mac and there was a painless one-time only 2 minute connection wizard. I like both keyboard and mouse although I suspect if you were a real old-school 'button basher' then the keyboard supplied wouldn't appreciate it! The keyboard seems fine for routine typing however and is responsive although I do miss the numerical keypad on the right (which I use for working in spreadsheets like Excel) and I find the mis-placing of the '@' symbol irritating - I believe it might be in the American keyboard position rather than the standard British position? It disturbs my flow when I have to stop and hunt for a symbol that isn't where I expect it to be although, as with CD's, I expect it'll become routine soon enough.

The supplied software seems easy to use. I can't see me using Garage Band that much but that's a personal thing rather than any criticism of the software. My machine shipped with the 2011 software as well so was bang up to date. Safari seems OK but I downloaded Firefox for my web-browser, again this being more of a personal thing rather than any criticism of the software. It has taken some time for me to get used to the fact that the programme toolbar for every open window is at the top of the screen rather than attached to the open programme and that the red 'x' on a window does not, in fact, necessarily shut down the programme completely which otherwise has to be done via the programme toolbar. On my first use I ended up with half a dozen programmes still running when I thought they were shut down! If you look at the dock closely on the main screen there are little 'idiot lights' beneath each programme to show which one is still running in the background which is a useful reminder. I think anyone who is Windows savvy will soon get a grip on the differences, I am writing this whilst still stuck in the half-way house between the two.

I think the colour contrast on the Mac is very good, both on playing pre-recorded DVD's and also streaming from the internet as well as the more mundane stuff like working in Word or Excel. The screen size (21.5") is conducive to having a DVD playing in one corner whilst working on a letter or a spreadsheet at the same time, or surfing the net - what ever takes your fancy really. The Mac seems to manage multiple windows with relative ease but being a new machine I would expect (demand) that, regardless of it being Dell or Apple.

So - why should you buy one? That's a tough question really and it probably comes down to personal choice. I suspect that only time and personal experience can properly answer the question, assuming that you don't already fall into the hugely pro or hugely anti Apple camp. Its a lot of money for a computer and you want a lot back in return. The jury is out for me because my ownership can be measured in weeks but first impressions are positive.
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on 27 August 2013
Bought this product 3 years ago for family use, and it still is working strong, it is what I am writing on now. It cost £1140 at the time, although it is now only £600. I still feel that this computer is more than enough for my needs, my son even does a little 3D animation in Cinema 4D and he says it is fine for that. The SD card slot is great, works with all the latests cards (SD, SDHC, SDXC) and Sandisk's "Extreme Pro" ultra fast range. Wifi b/g/n is still great, barely any routers are 'ac' yet and then no speeds can really match 'ac' unless you have direct fibre optic (over 300Mbp/s)

Reliability:
It has never broken down, and sometimes we have left it running for 3 months without it crashing or getting slow. I changed from an old HP laptop and the difference is huge when I go back to that laptop due to my camera still being from 2003! (Compactflash). The screen has no dead pixels, and not a single crack or scratch on the aluminium/glass. It looks stunning in the living room. The 500GB hard drive is massive, 3 years of family photos, movies, homework etc still is only 300GB!

Programs:
Using After Effects was very sluggish however at first, but we easily upgraded the RAM to 8GB and now it is fine, just some long render times. I wouldn't recommend it for serious usage of AE.
Using Photoshop is fine, only lag when you use the content-aware tools and smooth tools and 3D.
Using Cinema 4D is fine, no lag what soever, and render times are fine. Huge amounts of bump and also when you do Thrausi on 300+ pieces it lags a bit in the viewport on full settings.
Game performance is great, with Minecraft at about 200-300fps on Far, Fast settings.

Ports:
SD card I've mentioned, is great.
SuperDrive (DVD + CD) is fast, and burns home movies to +/-R and +/-RW. It doesn't do blu-ray discs. I prefer it to the new iMacs, as they don't have these slots.
USB ports still all fine, 4 of them. Apple has drivers for everything our family uses, so I can't guess much what they aren't compatible with.
Headphone jack + Microphone jack are fine, support 2.1 channel stuff (you can get USB devices for more channels)
Firewire I don't really use, but I'm sure thats fine
Mini-Displayport is good, note that it is not Thunderbolt and cannot be used in Target Display Mode (27" can though)
Ethernet works with all the latest standards, up to CAT6 (but also CAT5, 5e and probably older cables)

I can't really fault it at all, great product, still today.
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on 8 September 2010
I have been frustrated with PCs for years and have lost count of how many i have been through. Always put off buying a mac because of the cost but also because it would be something new to learn - BIG mistake. This computer is brilliant - it just works. But not only that it is so well made and everything is wireless - the only wire is the power cable ! - i also got the airport express box which allows wireless printing and streaming your itunes to the HiFi. Software is all compatible with PCs nowdays with the exception of some mapping software i used. and office documents are no problem with the free OpenOffice programmes - (better that MSOffice and FREE)
If you have been putting off buying a mac - DON'T - I should have got one years ago.
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on 10 April 2011
Yes, the imac is beautiful, connects to printers and wireless networks within five minutes and eliminates a lot of desktop clutter. But if you are new to Mac you have to put in a lot of effort in the early weeks even if you are already familiar with itunes, iphone and ipod. It is easy to underestimate the expertise in Windows you build up over a period of twenty or thirty years. If you live anywhere near an Apple shop the training courses are a great help in converting you (I have done three so far). Many things are simple when you know how but can drive you crazy as you try to work them out (for example, there is no delete key so you have to use function and backspace). I also found the book imac for dummies helpful. The Apple software has been so hyped, I have been disappointed to find it does not quite live up to it. I was able to stream my itunes music to my hifi with airport express, but it does not work with non-Apple applications such as BBC iplayer. So, I still have wires trailing to the headphone socket. You can buy software to get round the problem (Airfoil) but that is not the issue. A great feature of Itunes is the ability to select quickly from your library, for example "Mozart piano" or "Mozart opera". In iphoto you do not have the same functionality if you have large numbers of keywords (tags). The Apple experts advised me on a third party software to buy as a workaround, but I am still surprised that iphoto libraries cannot be searched in the same way as itunes can. My third big challenge is personal finance software. I exported my ten years' data from Quicken in to iBank, the best reviewed program. Too early to report on that except to say that I will have to put in a lot of work on it. In conclusion, I can see me running a couple of applications on my old Windows PC in parallel for a year or so until the switch is complete. But it is a beautiful machine...
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on 16 February 2011
Other people have complained about their mac breaking but my iMac is perfect. I was using a Macbook that I bought late 2006 and nothing ever went wrong with it. After 4 years it started to slow down so I decided to buy an iMac and wipe my Macbook so that it was a bit faster. Back to the iMac, I am very pleased with it. I bought mine from the Apple store not from Amazon but the VAT increase doesn't seem to have effected this product on Amazon so I recommend buying this product. The display is brilliant, I can;t say anything bad about the screen, the Magic Mouse and wireless keyboard is superb. It is a joy to write on the keyboard and I love the magic mouse you can just swipe left and right and you can go back and forward in your internet browser. I installed windows 7 on it and that was very easy thanks to boot camp. Even though this computer is the cheapest it is very fast and very good value for money. Now whenever I use a windows computer I always think how glad I am that I bought this Mac instead of the equivalent windows computer. Anyone who is buying a new computer I would recommend this mac. It is so easy to use and better in every way than a windows computer, and Apple make it so easy to set up your new computer and you can easy transfer everything from your old mac using an Ethernet cable. I transferred my iTunes(50gb), photos(14gb) and movies(42gb) in about 2 hours via Ethernet. There are videos on the Apple website on how to change from PC to Mac and they are so much more helpful than Windows. I love Apple and I have very high standards and this iMac easily passes!! I would recommend this computer to anyone buying a new desktop computer.
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on 24 November 2010
I've only had it a couple of days but so far I'm very impressed. Build quality is excellent, graphics are great, my photos look even better than I'd imagined. It's very quick and despite not having used an Apple before it has been easy to find my way around.
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on 20 January 2011
I purchased the imac for my daughter, and she is extremely pleased with it. It does every thing so well and is kind on your eyes. It is so neat and functional and so far has worked pefectly. Her main use is storing photographs which it is designed for. She is also on internet a lot and there are no complaints in this area.
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on 23 February 2011
Wow, what a product. Will never return to PC and I was a Software Engineer on PCs. Great buy. Take the leap...
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on 17 January 2011
iMac arrived on time, plugged in, and has been working perfectly ever since. Can't keep my wife off it.
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