Apple iMac (late 2009) 27-inch Review


iMac’s used to be the obvious choice for people who prefer style over substance. This is no longer the case, over the last 10 years Apple have steadily improved their all-in-one computer and the latest incarnation is the fastest all-in-one solution on the market to date. The two ultra-high-end 27-inch iMacs are the first to uses Intel’s Core i5 and i7 quad-core processors. And the other lower spec iMac’s feature Intel’s core 2 duo.

The Display

The first thing you will notice in Apple’s new all-in-one computer range is the amazing screen. The 27-inch model is bite the back of your hand beautiful and has been made with high definition video in mind. Featuring an insanely high resolution of 2560×1440 graphic designers and techie types will certainly take notice of the new iMac screen, especially now that it features energy efficient LED technology. Like many of the top LED HDTVs, the black border that surrounds the new iMac screen reaches out to the very edge; the aluminium border from previous iMac’s has now gone and Apple’s engineers have managed something quite beautiful.

The never-ending glass edge gives the impression that the screen is bigger than it really is. The only downside of screen is the glossy finished which often means you can see yourself in the reflection. But, on the upside the glossy finish allows the display to produce deep blacks and rich eye-popping colours. With the increased screen real estate the question you will ask yourself is: “Do I put this in the office or in the living room to show off?”

The Look & Sound

The body of the new iMac is made entirely of aluminium, the plastics from previous models have gone and you’re now left with the best looking computer on the market. Like previous iMacs, the ports are located behind the computer in the bottom left corner. Featuring a headphone/optical output minjack, an audio line/optical digital audio input minijack, four USB 2.0 ports, one firewire 800 port, a mini DisplayPort and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Apple has strengthened the possibility of using this piece of kit as part of an entertainment centre with an upgraded speaker system. The new speakers are a vast improvement. You’ll still probably want to add some external speaker if you put it in a big room, but if you have it a normal sized bedroom, den or office the new speaker have more than enough power.

Performance & Kit

Apple has included quad-core compatibility for the first time in an iMac; they give you the option of Intel’s I5 2.66 quad-core or i7 2.80 quad-core. The i5 features technology that Intel calls Turbo Boost. If an application isn’t using every available core, the cores that are idle shut off, and the active core speeds up to 3.20 Ghz.

For the first time the new iMac come with Bluetooth keyboard (not a full sized effort with the number pad missing) and the much lauded Magic Mouse. The mouse has been attracting quite a bit of attention, first of all the new mouse looks beautiful and feels instantly comfortable. Apple claims nothing less than a reinvention of the computer mouse. But then, Apple would. It features the trackpad technology used is Apple’s laptops to the surface of the mouse. The mouse’s surface allows you scroll up and down with supreme smoothness and a quick flick of you two fingers left or right will allow you to move between photos or back and forward in the web browser. Over the lat few days I have begun to warm to the magic mouse to the point that when I went back to using a track wheel it felt peculiar and alien after the smooth surface of the Magic Mouse.


The iMac is a marvellous piece of design and now if features the raw power that we have all been waiting for. Sure it does have its down sides the lack of a Blu-ray drive and no HDMI might seem unforgivable to some. But Apple has managed to create an all-in-one solution that rarely disappoints and will surely fly of the shelves over Christmas.

Our Score