Apple iMac 27-inch 2.7GHz Thunderbolt review

The most desirable of Apple's desktop computers has been updated with Sandy Bridge processors and dual Thunderbolt ports, but are these enough to justify the high price? Read on to find out in our review.

By default, a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse is included with the iMac. We're not fond of the stunted laptop-style layout of the keyboard or the uncomfortable mouse with its small, tricky to activate multitouch surface. Thankfully, if ordered from Apple the keyboard can be swapped out for a full-size USB model, while the wireless mouse can be substituted with a more comfortable USB model or, even better, the Bluetooth Magic Trackpad, all at no extra cost.

The dreadful Magic Mouse can be swapped out for the brilliant Magic Trackpad for free if you order the iMac from Apple.

The standard wireless keyboard (left) is unnecessarily stunted, but the optional Magic Trackpad is well worth getting.

The huge Trackpad will be familiar to MacBook users and is not only much more comfortable to use than the default mouse, but supports a wider range of multitouch gestures which quickly become second nature. As expected the Trackpad works best under MacOS X rather than Windows

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

We became quite fond of the 27in iMac and it's easy to see why, from its sleek design, quiet operation, and its huge, high quality, high resolution screen. Apart from the increased performance, the main difference between this model and its immediate predecessor is the presence of Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, there aren't any Thunderbolt peripherals available yet. Although the dual Thunderbolt ports also allow the use of two additional monitors, effectively turning the iMac into a compact workstation, if you need extra monitors and have the space for them then it's also likely you have the space for a cheaper, more flexible tower PC that can accommodate even more external displays. Nevertheless, if you need a powerful yet compact computer, then the 27in iMac is the one to get as it's the best all-in-one yet, but think carefully about whether you really need it or can get away with a more traditional tower computer.

Processor: Intel Core i5 2500S, 2.7GHz Memory: 4GB MHz DDR3 RAM Graphics: 512MB ATI Radeon HD 6770M Hard disk: 1TB hard disk Display: 27in 2,560 x 1,440, LED-backlit screen Features: microphone, stereo speakers Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR Ports: 4 x USB2, 2x Thunderbolt, 1 x FireWire 800 Slots: 1 x SDXC Dimensions: 650x207x520mm (WxDxH) Warranty: 1 year C&R or customer carry-in warranty OS: Apple MacOS X 10.6 Snow Leopard BENCHMARKS Image 94 Video 80 Multi 85 Overall 85 COD4 1680x1050 51.3fps POWER CONSUMPTION Standby: 5W Idle: 135W Active: 187W

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