CNET First Look
Apple iMac 27-inch (27-inch, 2.8GHz Intel Core i7, fall 2009)We're a little late to the Core i7 iMac review party, but that doesn't make Apple's highest-end all-in-one any less impressive. With the fastest CPU and the largest display in its category, we find our criticisms of this system mostly wash away in a tide...
^M00:00:00 [ Music ] ^M00:00:07 >>Hi, I'm Rich Brown Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today we're going to take a look at Apple's highest end 27-inch iMac. So we say highest end and that' because the base model for this unit starts at $1,999. Unlike the $1,699 version this one comes with a Core i5 CPU that actually has four cores. That's the only four core chip available in Apple's iMac line. This particular model though actually has a Core i7 CPU in it which is a little bit faster than Core i5. It also costs a little bit more so it's $200. That makes our review unit $2,199. So what you get for that price is the fastest all-in-one currently available as well as the all-in-one with the largest screen. Even Sony's highest end all-in-one only has a 24-inch monitor. So Apple remodeled its iMac line back in the fall and there's a few different design elements here. If you're familiar with the $1,699 iMac nothing has changed. It's basically the same in the exterior. There's edge-to-edge glass going across the front of the system and up at the top you get a webcam. Now, the effect of the screen with the glass and with the glossy counting is that it's very bright. It appears very crisp. The image is great for watching movies for images, playing games now that you can get Steam on the iMac. The keyboard and mouse are both wireless and now included with the iMac. You can see here it's sort of a trimmed down design; its familiar Chiclet keyboard. You got batteries that go in here and a keyboard power button over here. For the mouse this is Apple's new magic mouse. It's got a pretty unique design to it. We don't really love the sort of sharp edges you get there and it feels a little too tapered in the front and though it has some gesture based touch sensitive features built into it, it's really not the most intuitive experience. So, it's certainly a serviceable mouse but we can't say we love it. On the side of the iMac here you can see that there's a slot loading DVD drive. Apple still does not use Blu-ray and down here finally which is new to this generation of iMacs is an SD card slot which makes is easy to swap data between mobile devices in your computer. Now the back of the system you can see that it's a pretty clean design. There's a savor of ports down here in the bottom edge. You get a couple audio outputs as well as four USBs, FireWire 800 jack, Mini DisplayPort jack which we'll get to in a minute as well as an Ethernet input. The system of course comes with Wi-Fi wireless and Bluetooth built in so in terms of networking, you're pretty much covered. So what's also unique to this new generation of iMacs is that the Mini DisplayPort is bidirectional. That means you can not only send the signal out from the iMac you can send signals into it. For example, you could take a Macbook Pro and connect it to the iMac to use this as a secondary monitor but it's actually a very useful feature and it extends the life of the iMac once the computer parts are obsolete but we're a little bit frustrated by it because with other all-in-ones from Window's based vendors we seen HDMI ports built in to let you connect say a game counsel or a cable box. Unfortunately, at least out of the box, you can only connect to other Macs to the iMacs so it's a little bit frustrating. Now you can actually find on the market HDMI to Mini DisplayPort adapters that will let you connect game counsels or other devices. There are expensive though, they cost about $150. Same goes with the wall mounting. Technically you can pop the stand off, connect a VESA compatible wall mount to the back of the iMac and mount it up to wherever you want to but most Window's based all-in-ones have that functionality built in. So you certainly could take the iMac and its giant screen and transform it into a sort of a Mac based media center. You definitely have to want it. You have to be willing to spend a little bit more than what you get out of the box and it's not really the most convenient process. So, we hope Apple is listening and eventually they might take steps to make that a little more streamlined. Despite its limitations the iMacs is one of the best all-in-ones you can buy. That's why it's an Editor's Choice because it has a giant screen and faster performance in its category. So I'm Rich Brown. This is the 27-inch Core i7 iMac.