iMac review: A desktop to die for

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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

With a sharper display, more RAM and one of the most attractive designs out there, what’s not to like about the new iMac?

Elegant, powerful and boasting a vivid 5K display, the new 27-inch iMac brings a touch of class to any desk.

It’s powered by the latest 7th Generation Intel processor and three time faster Radeon Pro discrete graphics and looks more like a TV than a computer. There’s no separate CPU box to cause clutter as the CPU unit is integrated at the back making it an allinone computer with display, processor, graphics, storage, memory and more inside one simple, stylish enclosure.

Even more surprisingly, the enclosure is only 5mm thick at its edge and the panel layer just 1.4mm.

As is Apple’s wont, several models of the new iMac have been released, with different sizes of display – 21.5 and 27 inches – and hardware configurations of CPU, RAM, storage and graphics.

I got to try a 27-inch iMac powered by Intel Core i5 quadcore processor 3.4 GHz with 6 MB L3 cache memory, 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 working memory or RAM and Radeon Pro 570 4GB VRAM as well as a 1 terabyte Fusion drive, which combines hard drive and SSD to speed up data access.

The 27-inch 5K Retina display is very impressive, with the 5,120by2880 resolution higher than today’s 4K Ultra HD TVs.

Apple says the new Retina Display used in the new iMac is the best ever. It has a maximum brightness of 500 nits, which is 43 per cent brighter than the previous generation.

And it uses a P3 widecolour gamut that shifts away from the standard white LEDs to advanced red-green phosphor LEDS. This allows all three colours – red, green and blue – to be more equally represented and show off realworld colours with better balance and precision.

The new Retina Display also supports a billion colours, allowing the new iMac to be used as a professional tool for editing photos and videos.

It’s great for amateurs too and I enjoyed viewing high-resolution photos and streaming 4K movies from Netflix and well as watching 4K clips from YouTube.

Moreover, the large display provides plenty of room for multitasking. This is very useful because I could write on windows while opening several windows of source information at the same time.

If you need more working space, you can connect the new iMac to external displays using the provided two Thunderbolt 3s (USBC) at the back. The Thunderbolt 3 provides double the speed, twice the bandwidth and more versatility with external devices and displays.

It delivers up to 40 Gbps data transfer, twice as fast as the previous generation. A Thunderbolt 3 port supports two 4K displays at once or one 5K external display and you can also daisychain up to six Thunderbolt devices through a single port thanks to its blazingfast throughput.

I began by testing the new iMac on the new macOS High Sierra, an intuitive operating system that provides most of the tools you need for daily tasks. Unsurprisingly, the results were good. HD video clips were smooth and games ran fast. And photo editing with the Photos app and movie editing with iMovie were impressively speedy. Working with LibreOffice suite of business applications was equally as impressive. The Radeon Pro 570 graphics adapter with 4GB dedicated VRAM makes the graphics display smooth and fast too.

iMac 2

The new iMac comes with fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking so it can be away from your home router, which makes setting it up convenient. A Gigabit LAN port sits at the back in case you use it near your router and want to use LAN cable.

Setting up the new iMac for first use was a breeze. I just connected the power cord to its back and pushed the power button at the back bottom left corner. I then hit the power switch of the wireless Magic Keyboard and wireless Magic Mouse 2 and the two input devices, which are provided in the box, and everything linked automatically.

The Magic Keyboard still does not have a numeric keypad. If you want to use a numeric keypad, you will have to buy one that comes as an optional extra. The wireless keyboard and mouse have a Lightning port each for battery recharging and a Lightning to USB cable is provided for recharging the wireless input devices.

The new iMac comes with all necessary ports at the back. Apart from the two Thunderbolt 3 ports, it provides four USB 3 ports, which are also compatible with USB 2, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a SDXC card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Kensington lock slot. The SDXC card slot is very useful for bringing photos from your digital camera for editing.

The new iMac also sounds great too with stereo speakers and a microphone provided for FaceTime video chats.

The macOS High Sierra is intuitive to use as it comes with an entire suite of beautifully designed apps. And it works well with your iPhone and other Apples as well as with your iCloud account to keep photos, documents and other data that are updated from other devices.

And the macOS allows you to share files between your iMac and your iPhone easily, using the AirDrop function. With AirDrop you just make a few clicks on your iMac to fake a file from any folder to send it to your iPhone.

The macOS also allows you to use your iMac to remotely activate the Personal Hotspot on your iPhone when they are near each other. You simply select your iPhone from the Wi-Fi menu on your iMac to use the Internet connection from the iPhone, a useful tool if your Wi-Fi router breaks down.

The new iMac with Intel Core i5 3.4 GHz, 8 GB DDR4 2,400 MHz RAM, and 1 TB Fusion Drive retails for Bt65,900.

iMac KEY SPECS

– OS:

– CPU: 3.4GHz quadcore Intel Core i5

– Memory: 8GB (two 4GB) of 2400MHz DDR4

– Storage: 1TB Fusion Drive

– Display: 27-inch Retina 5K display with 5120by2880 resolution

– Graphics: Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB of VRAM

– Camera: FaceTime HD camera

– Audio: Stereo speakers, Microphone, 3.5 mm headphone jack that supports Apple iPhone headset with microphone

– Connections and expansion: 3.5 mm headphone jack, SDXC card slot, 4 USB 3 ports, 2 Thunderbolt 3 (USBC), 10/100/1000BASET Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45 connector), Kensington lock slot

– Wireless connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2

– Dimensions: 51.6 x 65.0 x 20.3 cm

– Weight: 9.44 kgs

The Nation
Republished with permission from The Nation
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