- User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:Compactness, design, user friendly
Cons:Limited expandibility, price, video players.
The Bottom Line: I like the compact all-in-one design so much that I will buy an iMac again in the future. Only if very heavy CPU performance is needed I would look further.
2 Sept. 2005:
I bought an Apple iMac G5, 20", 2GHz, 1 GB memory, built-in Airport and bluetooth. I use it with a normal apple keyboard, a Macally wireless bluetooth mini mouse with scrollwheel and a non-Apple wireless modem/router. After years of using Windows PCs I heard good things about the Macs user friendliness and stability, so I thought: let's switch and find out myself. Here are my first impressions after several weeks of use.
Design is very nice: only a 'monitor' on your desk, no bulky PC box, little wires, no seperate speakers. The quality of the built-in speakers is surprisingly good: much better than built-in speaker in PC/laptop, even almost as good as the seperate small PC speakers everyone uses. I do not use my seperate speakers anymore, which frees up even more desktop space. The Apple keyboard has a nice 'soft' keystroke feel. Also very nice that the keyboard has two usb ports on its back, so you don't need to reach out to the back of the iMac each time. Also nice that the iMac has a built-in microphone. Connectors are on the back: nicely out of sight, but not so practical if you need to use them often (I do not).
Mac OS X: looks nice, works similar to the Windows ways of working, you just need to learn the small differences. Installing is pretty easy. I did not use special 'PC-to-Mac-software' to do this, but just copied all my data on an external usb hard disk and then copied everything onto the hard disk of the Mac. Takes time, but nothing can go wrong here. Small Mac OS minus: out of the box, the accent keys don't work as in Windows. If you want to type an accented e you press "option+e" and then "e". It took me several weeks to figure out thow to repair this: you need to install a special keyboard layout file ("US international") to adjust this. Applications I often use include Safari, Mail 2.0, Addressbook, Office2004-for-Mac, iTunes, Path Finder, iPhoto, Quicktime Pro, Key Xing, Amadeus, Azureus, Acqlite, TextWrangler. Everything works fine as expected. A few annoyances:
- iPhoto is unable to create subfolders, this is very inconvenient.
- Mail: when receiving an email with multiple attachments, the attachments are not shown in the form of icons, but in their 'real shape'. E.g., if the attachment is a photo, the picture will be shown. This may be nice as you can directly see what the attachment is, but this is very inconvenient if you want to print the email: then for each attachment a seperate page is used. So a simple 1-page email with 10 attachments, now becomes an 11-page print! Solution: install the mail plugin "Mail attachment iconizer" and attachments are always displayed as icons.
- Quicktime: Why isn't there a single application that can play ALL movie formats? Many claim to be able to do this, but they simply can't. And it is a hell to find out how to install 'codecs', 'converters', and other media players. Now I use Quicktime, Windows Media Player and some obscure player to access my movie collection, but the fact that I was forced to spend a lot of time before reaching this 'solution' is not exactly positive.
- Design of iMac: no bulky PC box with lots of wires, and no seperate speakers needed. This is very nice. For me this compactness is sufficient reason alone to keep using iMacs in the future and accept their slightly higher price.
- Mac is user friendly, but not that much better than Windows as is often claimed.
- Price somewhat higher than comparable windows PC.
- Video players are difficult to use because of need to install 'codecs' (technical things I do not want to spend time on), unless you are prepared to limit yourself to Quicktime compatible media formats.
- Fan noise: the iMac is neither noisy, nor completely silent. I would say: fan noise is below that of the average PC. It is certainly not annoying and while listening to music almost unhearable. After a few hours of heavy CPU activity the fans start blowing faster/louder and you will hear this. At such moments, if you use the built-in microphone (located near the fan inlet and speakers!) to make a sound recording, then the fan noise will be picked up as well.
- CPU performance: before buying this 2GHz Mac, I used a 1,5GHz pentium PC and my impression is that the two are roughly comparable in terms of speed when using standard office and media applications. Note that I did not do official benchmark tests to check this impression (study review sites if you need to know exact measures), but also that a 1,5GHz PC is now a few hundred euros/dollars cheaper than a 2GHz iMac.
Too early to tell:
- Stability of the system. So far I have not run into any problems;
- Build-quality: system is quite heavy and feels strongly build.
Bottom line: I like the compact all-in-one design so much that I will buy an iMac again in the future. All the software I need is available on Mac. I can recommend it to anyone. The only case in which I would look for something else is if your applications demand special high-end hardware (e.g. very heavy CPU performance or special monitors).
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Amount Paid (US$): 2000
Operating System: Macintosh
Processor speed: over 1000
RAM: More than 256
Internal Storage: CD-RW and DVD
Hard Drive (GB): Over 50