The Good Best-in-class design; competitive performance in its price range, especially for multitasking; capable mainstream gaming performance.
The Bad Windows all-in-one vendors offer 20-inch or larger all-in-ones for less; not as well-suited as a dedicated digital entertainment system as some other all-in-ones.
The Bottom Line A few other all-in-ones make this 20-inch iMac look expensive on a dollars-per-screen-inch basis, but none are as attractive or as capable juggling multiple programs. With a fast dual-core CPU and a strong array of features, Apple's updated all-in-one will slide seamlessly into a variety of roles at home or at work.
Apple iMac (Winter 2009)
Editors' Note: As of October 20, 2009, the iMac reviewed here has been replaced by
One of the things we appreciate the most about Apple's new 20-inch iMac is that it has almost the same core components as the more expensive 24-inch model. Sure the screen is smaller, and the $1,199 default configuration reviewed here has a smaller hard drive and less memory than its linemate. You can also find more affordable 20-inch all-in-ones that offer similar sets of basic features. But thanks to its 2.66GHz dual-core CPU and its lean OS X operating system, the 20-inch iMac is perhaps the best deal going for day-to-day multitasking. If you want an all-in-one PC and, like many people, you spend most of your computing time swapping between programs, the 20-inch iMac is a very strong option at this price.
We won't belabor the design of the new iMac too much, as almost nothing has changed since previous models. It's still one of the prettiest computers on the market. Major additions to the outside include a fourth USB 2.0 port and a mini DisplayPort video jack in place of the old mini DVI output. Mini DisplayPort works natively with Apple's new LED Cinema Display monitors. You can also purchase various adapters from Apple to connect the iMac to standard VGA, DVI, and dual-link DVI-equipped monitors. Because the iMac's all-in-one design doesn't lend it to your living room, we don't miss HDMI as much here as we did on the new Mac Minis.