Apple iMac (Winter 2009) review: Apple iMac (Winter 2009)

Apple's new iMacs come with a number pad-free keyboard by default.

There's not too much else to say about the new iMac. We've mentioned that it has 802.11n wireless networking built-in, and Apple also includes a Bluetooth receiver for remote device syncing and a Webcam built into the top edge. The new default Apple keyboard with the iMac is a smaller version than the old model, with no number pad. The pad-inclusive version is still available as a no-cost option on Apple's configurator. Other options include 4GB of RAM for $100 and 8GB for a mind-boggling $1,100, and hard-drive upgrades up to 1TB for a reasonable $175. The useful iLife '09 application suite also comes in the box. Few other desktop vendors can claim to offer a similarly useful set of digital media software for free in their new PCs.

Apple's 20-inch iMac also has the distinction of consuming the least amount of power of the six all-in-one PC's we've tested so far. This system used the fewest watts in each of its four operating states, beating even Dell's 18.5-inch Studio One 19. Considering that Dell beat the 20-inch iMac on only one of our benchmarks, Apple's efficiency claims for its computers seem to hold up.

Juice box
Apple iMac 20-inch  
Off (watts) 0.6
Sleep (watts) 1.08
Idle (watts) 23.2
Load (watts) 83
Raw (annual kWh) 110.849
EnergyStar compliant Yes
Annual energy cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $12.78

Annual energy cost (dollars)

Apple's service and support policies remain one of our disappointments every time we review one of its systems. You only get 90 days on phone support, which for many advanced users might not be the end of the world, but we find it a significant minus for the everyday shopper Apple courts so aggressively. Otherwise, you get the typical one-year parts-and-labor warranty and the comprehensive support resources on Apple's Web site and user forums.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Apple iMac (20-inch, 2.66GHz)
Apple OS X 10.5.6; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9400m integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200 rpm hard drive

Apple iMac (24-inch, 2.66GHz)
Apple OS X 10.5.6; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9400m integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive

Dell XPS 430-121B
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q8300 ; 6GB DDR3 1066MHz; 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 Graphics card; 750GB, 7,200 rpm hard drive.

Gateway LX6810-01
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q8200; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3650 graphics card; 640GB, 7,200RPM hard drive.

Sony Vaio JS190J
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500HD integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

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