Apple 20-Inch 2.4 GHz iMac

Apple 20-Inch 2.4 GHz iMac

The new iMac case is made from a single sheet of aluminum.

 

It’s about time Apple updated the iMac - but is this what we were expecting? We got what we expected with the technical upgrades, but what we didn’t expect - or, truth be told, refused to believe until we saw it for ourselves - was the switch from a white plastic enclosure to aluminum and glass. The rumor mill ground out speculation about all-metal iMacs weeks before their unveiling, but when we finally laid eyes upon them, we were truly impressed.

 

The black border around the display at first seems like wasted space or a gimmick, but we found that it genuinely enhances the way the eye perceives colors, which popped off the screen - after we calibrated the display, that is (more on this in a moment). The display is covered in a single sheet of glass, providing a glossy finish. (There’s no matte option, a problem for color-critical work.) When you first look at the iMac, you can’t help but notice the reflections in the screen, but once you power it up and use the iMac, the reflections aren’t as prominent and you learn to ignore them.

 

A more pressing problem we noticed when we first plugged in the 20-inch iMac: The screen looked washed out. Running Apple’s calibration tools (System Preferences > Displays > Color > Calibrate) brought life back into the color, thankfully. But we also noticed that the viewing angles on the 20-inch iMac are limited. According to Apple, the 20-inch iMac has a 160-degree viewing angle, which is 18 degrees narrower than the 24-inch iMac. We found that at eye level, the screen looks good, even if you take a step or two to your right or left. Move away from eye level (for example, when people stand behind you while you’re showing them pics), and the screen loses detail and color fidelity.

 

The iMac comes with a new thin keyboard. Design-wise, it deserves kudos. But among Mac|Life staffers, there was no consensus of opinion. Some of us hated it, some were indifferent, and a few of us loved it. If you like the previous Apple keyboard or the Mac laptop keyboards, you’ll probably like the new iMac keyboard. One major layout change you’ll have to get used to, however, is that the top row of function keys now have special tasks assigned to them, such as iTunes track control, Dashboard, and so on. To use an F key, you need to hold down the Fn key, which replaces the Help key on the previous keyboard layout. Also, you must install the Apple Keyboard Software Update to make this new functionality work.

 

We tested the aluminum 20-inch 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo iMac and compared its speed to a 17-inch 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. Both Macs use Intel’s Centrino platform. The iMac was faster than the MacBook Pro in our iLife ’08 tests. Specifically, it was 12 percent faster when exporting a video in iMovie ’08, 27 percent faster when applying a Sepia Tone effect in iMovie HD 6, 24 percent faster when sending a song in GarageBand to iTunes, 63 percent faster when importing 196 JPEGs into iPhoto, and 36 percent faster when converting 11 AIFF songs in iTunes to AAC. In our Adobe application testing, the iMac and the MacBook Pro finished neck and neck. Both Macs completed a Photoshop Elements 4.0 Auto Smart Fix function in 14 seconds, an InDesign CS3 PDF export in 6 seconds, and a Photoshop CS3 Action in 44 seconds. In our Doom 3 benchmark, the iMac posted a score of 68.5 frames per second, just one frame faster than the MacBook Pro.

 

The bottom line. From its new aluminum case to its speedy performance, there’s a lot to like about the new iMac. If you were hoping that the iMac’s new design would resemble an Apple Cinema Display, however, don’t hold your breath. We’re probably a few years away from an iMac that thin and sleek. Instead, take a deep breath, and try to appreciate what Apple has created in the here and now.

 

COMPANY: Apple

CONTACT: www.apple.com

PRICE: $1,499

SPECIFICATIONS: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4MB shared L2 cache, 800MHz system bus, 1GB memory, 320GB hard drive, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, 128MB ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT video card, AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, Gigabit Ethernet

Compact, stylish, slim design. Worthy performance. Innovative keyboard expands F-key behavior.

Viewing angle is a bit narrow. Glossy screen produces distracting reflections. No matte screen option.

 

 

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Anonymous

It seems that the 20-inch iMac doesn't have the infernal freezes that the 24-inch iMac has. Can't have everything, eh?

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Roberto Baldwin

Sorry, the $129.99 iMacs have sold out.

 

Plenty of $1,499 iMacs are in stock.

 

Thank you

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Anonymous

Holy crap! It's the cheapest d*mn computer I've ever seen!

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Anonymous

Mac|Life Dudes and Dudettes, where do we place our orders? I'll sell my 24-in iMac 2.33 GHz machine and still come out ahead!!!

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Anonymous

Yummy, thanks maclife, can I have the i'mac at $129.99!

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Anonymous

Check the price. I think $129.99 might be too much of a steal.... BTW, I'm an apple convert and my first apple purchase is this 20-inch 2.4 GHz iMac. Way to go, Apple!!

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