Apple iMac 2010 review: Apple iMac 2010

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The Good All-aluminium case;. Brilliant build quality;. Big, bright high-resolution display;. Decent performance.

The Bad Rather paltry connectivity;. Reaching ports on the back of the iMac is a hassle.

The Bottom Line We found the port selection and placement a little irksome, but this 21.5-inch Apple iMac, complete with 3.06GHz Core i3 processor, is a beautifully crafted machine. It offers solid performance and a bright, vivid display.

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8.3 Overall

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Another year, another fresh crop of Apple iMacs. Last year's model was pretty special, introducing a new body design and packing the touch-sensitive Magic Mouse. This time it's the innards that have evolved -- a new load of processors is the basis of Apple's latest harvest. This 21.5-inch model of ours, packing a 3.06GHz Intel Core i3 processor, will set you back £1,000 -- but is it worth it?

Bare-faced chic

The design hasn't changed much -- Apple has stuck with the aluminium unibody, and we have to say we're pleased. Machined from a single block of aluminium, if this computer had pores, class would be oozing from every single one. Each edge is delightfully sharp and precise, and we can't help but like the Spartan, minimalistic approach Apple has taken. A glossy black Apple logo is the only decoration you'll find on the front of this all-in-one, with all the functional bits and bobs relegated to the sides or rear of the machine.

With the aluminium unibody and minimalist aesthetic we've come to expect from Apple, this iMac doesn't fall far from the tree.

Down the right side you'll find a DVD rewritable drive and an SDXC card slot, while the left side is completely bare. Round the back, connectivity is still pretty sparse -- apart from the power switch, you'll get a 3.5mm headphone jack and an audio line-in socket, four USB ports, a FireWire 800 port, DisplayPort and Ethernet port.

You'll also get an Apple Magic Mouse in the box, which, in our experience, can get uncomfortable with extended use. There's an Apple Wireless Keyboard included, which leaves an impressively small footprint, but if you're going to be doing a whole lot of typing you might want to upgrade to something a little bigger and more comfortable.

The design is indisputably beautiful, and we've never seen an all-in-one as smooth and elegant (not since the last one, at least). In saying that, the sparse aesthetic has its drawbacks. Reaching around the back of the iMac to plug in your headphones or USB peripherals could well prove annoying, as could having to get your hand around the back to hit the power button. We're not convinced that four USB ports is really enough to cater to the peripheral-hungry youth of today, either. Unless you already own all the necessary connectors and adaptors, outputting video via DisplayPort is quite a hassle.

Hidden around the back of the desktop, the iMac's modest array of ports is a little hard to reach.

The lack of clutter on the face of this machine gives the screen a chance to shine. It's just as well, because this 21.5-inch LED-backlit panel looks rather stunning. It's incredibly bright and vivid -- enough so that it's able to cancel out all the annoying reflections you'd normally find on a panel this glossy. It boasts a maximum resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, so hi-res imagery and video rendered on this screen will look pleasingly sharp. We threw some of our favourite 1080p video content at this display, and found it so bright and clear our eyeballs almost evaporated.

Working hard or hardly working?

When our vision returned to normal, we took a look at what's inside this iMac. This new line introduces Intel's Core iSeries. The 21.5-inch version is available with either a Core i3 or Core i5 processor, while the larger 27-incher comes with i3, i5 or i7 options. If you do decide to upsize, you'll also have the option to choose quad-core iterations of the i5 and i7 CPUs -- ideal for those who like their computer grunty (and their wallet empty).

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