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Apple iMac 21.5 inch

"A premium price tag, but the amazing graphics and screen resolution make it well worth it."
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Apple iMacs come in either 21.5 inch or the larger than life 27 inch version. They are super-powerful machines designed primarily as a high-end multimedia centre for the home, though their superb processing power and incredible displays also make them a firm favourite with all design and media professionals.

These new versions were released back in 2009 and boast the very best of Intel’s top of the range multi -core ‘iCore’ processors.

What we like best

The biggest change for the new iMac is the upgraded screen and to be frank it is quite simply stunning.

The LED backlit screen gives you 16:9 ratio and at 1920 × 1080 pixel resolution it is perfect for HD or lots of graphically intensive work, like using Photoshop or movie editing for example.

If you did use it in your living room, rather than as a graphic design workhorse, it certainly wouldn’t look out of place; the iMac went aluminium back in 2007 and it actually looks a lot like a very stylish HDTV.

The keyboard and Magic Mouse are wireless, so the only cable is the power cord, making for clutter free elegance.

The Magic Mouse has no visible buttons; it allows you to scroll in any direction using one finger, swipe through pages or pictures and click or double click anywhere.

It comes with dual core Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06 GHz processor, which, as you would expect, makes for a very fast Mac.  The 4 Gb of RAM would be enough for most, but you can upgrade it to 16 Gb, and while the 1 Tb hard drive offers masses of storage you can upgrade to a pretty ludicrous 2 Tb hard drive.

What we like least

There are a few downsides with the concept of this as a multimedia centre; the edge-to-edge glass and glossy TFT screen does reflect a bit, and there’s no option for a Blu-ray drive.

With resolution this good it’s really crying out for Blu-ray. You can get around this however by buying an external Blu-ray drive and then connecting it through the mini-port.

You can hook up another video source, like a PS3 using the video-in, using the iMac as a display. This does involve buying a HDMI to mini port adaptor though. Apple doesn’t make one but there are third party manufacturers that do.

You will pay a hefty premium for this though; the 21.5-inch base package comes in at over £1150 so its only worth it if you’re going to get ultimate usage out of it.

The verdict

The 21.5 inch Apple iMac is a premium machine, with a premium price tag, but the amazing graphics and screen resolution make it well worth the price.

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Processor Speed

3.2 GHz


Intel Core i3


Up to 4 Gb RAM

Screen Size

31.5 inch


Up to AT1 Radeon HD 5670

Hard Drive Storage

Up to 500 Gb Hard Drive


Built in 95 watt hour Lithium polymer


8 x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning (DVD DL/DVDW/CD-RW)
SDXC card slot
Stereo speakers with two internal 17 watt high efficiency amplifiers


1 x Optical digital audio output
1 x Headphone out
1 x Optical digital audio input
1 x Audio line in
4 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
1 x Mini DisplayPort output
1 x iSight
Support for DVI, dual-link DVI, and VGA video (requires adapters, s

Weight & Size

528 mm (W) x 451mm (H) x 188mm (D)


10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet
AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

Operating System

OS X Snow Leopard

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