The only other major change to the iMac's hardware is the addition of an SD card slot underneath the slot-loading DVD burner. Apple continues to keep its distance from Blu-ray, and of course you won't find a TV tuner input, either, but the concession to SD card is a welcome change that digital photographers especially will appreciate. We'd hoped to find (and originally thought we had found) the capability to input video via this iMac's mini DisplayPort jack, a useful and potentially versatile capability Apple added to its new 27-inch iMacs. Sadly, the mini DisplayPort jack on this model can only output the video signal, which means connecting game consoles and other devices isn't possible.
The iMac's other inputs remain the same as those on iMacs from the previous generation. You get audio input and output jacks, four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 input, and a Gigabit Ethernet input. The iMac also comes with 802.11n wireless networking support, as well as Bluetooth, the latter primarily to communicate with the revamped mouse and keyboard, both of which are now wireless. Aside from its aluminum and plastic design, the keyboard isn't that unique. Apple's new Magic Mouse incorporates some interesting gesture-based input recognition thanks to its touch support, but we found in our full review of the new mouse that it's not quite as intuitive or as comfortable as we'd like it to be.
|Apple iMac (21.5-inch)|
|Raw (annual kWh)||173.6889|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$19.71|
Despite a strong showing from HP's TouchSmart 600 last month, Apple's 21.5-inch iMac is the energy efficiency leader among higher-end all-in-ones. Apple attributes its power savings to a combination of its hardware and software working together. We can't pinpoint exactly what Apple is doing under the hood of the new iMac, but whatever it is, it seems to be working.
Finally, our criticism of Apple's AppleCare support policy remains the same as it always has. Apple's basic warranty policy is acceptable, covering you for one year out of the box. You also have a wealth of information available on Apple's Web site, and Apple's Genius Bars and authorized service providers can lend a hand, provided you're willing to bring your iMac in to a support location. Apple's phone support remains an anomaly in the industry, however, covering for only 90 days post purchase. AppleCare extends both your warranty and phone support for three years for $169, but with no middle ground offering, Apple requires you to pay quite a bit extra if all you want is more phone help.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Apple iMac (21.5-inch)
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1; 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7600; 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm Seagate Digital hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570; 320GB, 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1; 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7600; 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium; 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD4670; 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7450; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 230; 750GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive