Apple iMac 21.5in (Late 2009)
Apple beefs up its consumer desktop PC with a faster CPU and an energy-efficient display
- LED-backlit display, SD card slot, powerful, comparatively inexpensive
- No Blu-ray drive, Magic Mouse is troublesome
Apple's latest iMacs are noticeably refined compared to their predecessors, though they aren't significantly different. Both 21.5in models are quite powerful and their 1080p LED-backlit displays are certainly vibrant.
Price$ 1,599.00 (AUD)
Apple's refreshed iMac desktop computer is cheaper but more powerful than its predecessor, and it features a more vibrant display. If you're still a Windows user or have an older Mac, the latest iMac is certainly tempting. However, we weren't impressed by the new Magic Mouse, which is bundled with the iMac.
Little has changed in the iMac's design since its last refresh; it still has the same shiny aluminium and glossy black design. However the display now has LED backlighting, a 16:9 aspect ratio and a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The new display is noticeably vibrant, but the glossy finish is quite distracting in well-lit rooms. Don't expect to view your latest Blu-ray discs in all their Full HD glory either; the iMac's optical drive can only read and burn CDs and DVDs.
On iMac's back there are four USB 2.0 ports and FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, and headphone/microphone ports. You can connect a MacBook or MacBook Pro to the iMac through a Mini DisplayPort and use the display as a secondary monitor for your notebook. There is also an integrated SD card slot so you can easily get photos off your digital camera. Wireless connectivity includes integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1.
Apple bundles its wireless aluminium keyboard and new Magic Mouse with the iMac 21.5in desktop. The keyboard lacks a numeric keypad — a deterrent for number crunchers — but it is easy to type with. It uses the same isolated key design found on Apple's notebooks and HP's copycat Envy 13 notebook.
The Magic Mouse is sleek but uncomfortable.
The Magic Mouse is curved and low, so it looks sleek, but it can be uncomfortable to use at first. Like previous Apple mice, the Magic Mouse doesn't have visible buttons, but you can left- or right-click by tapping the top corners. Like the touchpad on Apple's MacBook notebooks and the screen of the iPhone, its surface can be used for finger gestures that control actions such as zooming and scrolling. Unfortunately, the gestures aren't customisable and there are not as many available as on there are on MacBook Pro's multi-touch trackpad. The Magic Mouse’s metal bottom prevents smooth movement and the lack of a middle click (or equivalent finger gesture) severely impairs this mouse's usefulness. We'd stick with a bog-standard, three-button mouse for now.
There are only four preset multi-touch gestures for the Magic Mouse.
Both 21.5in Apple iMac models are equipped with a 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4GB of DDR3 memory. Our review unit — the entry-level model — boasted a 500GB hard drive and the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics found in lower-end MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. This graphics adapter will suffice for standard desktop applications but won't be of much use when attempting to play games. For an extra $400, the second 21.5in iMac configuration offers ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics with 256MB dedicated memory and a 1TB hard drive.
Using Geekbench testing software, the iMac yielded a score of 4295 points. This is slightly higher than the 24in iMac with similar specs that we tested earlier this year. Using iTunes, the iMac took just 37.1 seconds to encode 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3; again, a slightly faster result despite using the same processor.
As with all of its computers, Apple bundles Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. You also get a copy of iLife 09, which includes iMovie, Garage Band and iPhoto software. Apple's productivity suite, iWork 09, isn't included.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 2 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 5 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
Latest News Articles
- Settings in iOS 10: Every notable change you need to know
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
- Early iPhone 7 reviews: You'll miss the headphone jack, but the camera and battery life are tops
- Toshiba's new SSD line features rock-bottom pricing
- Watch out: iOS 10 install is reportedly bricking some iPhones
PCW Evaluation Team
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
- Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- GAMOSPHERE: Your August Roundup of Gaming News
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTTest SpecialistSA
- CCSenior Business AnalystACT
- CCNetIQ Development OR Netiq Access ManagerNSW
- FTUser Experience / UX DesignerSA
- TPInfrastructure ArchitectNSW
- FTSystems Engineer - Managed Services (Level 3)NSW
- FTSecurity AdvisorACT
- CCThe job "Automation Test Analyst Guidewire " is now ExpiredQLD
- FTSenior Management ConsultantsACT
- CCSolutions ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- TPFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTJunior Project Manager Data Centre MigrationOther
- FTSoftware EngineerSA
- CCBusiness Analyst - SalesforceVIC
- FTSenior Project Coordinator / Process AnalystOther
- FTInfrastructure Solutions OwnerOther
- FTData AnalystOther
- FTC++ Analyst ProgrammerOther
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics XRM / CRM .Net DeveloperWA
- FTVCE EngineerOther
- FTTest AnalystOther
- CCDeveloper - KofaxQLD
- FTAgile Project ManagerOther
- FTCustomer Experience ( CX ) AnalystOther