"Everything you need, nothing you don't. iMac meets anyones needs from college students to families."4.5 starson by fox-orian
Pros: Arguably one of the best LCD's in the market. Incredible glare reduction and viewing angles. Makes no noise / little heat. Requires only power a cable to run. Powerful for anything you throw at it.
Cons: Surprisingly heavy. Awkward to carry if need to be moved. Unlike G5 iMacs, these cannot be opened by removing the backside. Cannot be wall-mounted.
Summary: To start off, let me say that the iMac has quite simply one of the most breathtaking LCD displays on the market. I'm very picky about LCD displays, and the fact that an all-in-one system contains a screen that (in my personal opinion) has yet to be topped, is simply a feat to behold. Apple knew that the iMac needed to have the best integrated parts it could have since they're not replaceable, and they did a good job by choosing the panel they did. The LCD is a true 8-bit panel, which displays 16,700,000 true colors. The screen contains the brightest whites and the darkest blacks you will probably ever witness in this generation of LCD computer monitor technology. The screen itself has such wide viewing angles, we sometimes use it to watch HD movies on in the apartment, and no one complains from having to look at an angle. Toss in a latency that ghosts only one-frame behind, (which is unnoticable, beleive me,) and anti-glare matte coating that makes the screen visible even in direct sunlight, you're got yourself one versatile display for any media.
Gaming on this machine is fantastic. I often play Half-Life 2 under the following settings: 1680x1050, 2x Anti-Aliasing, 4x Anisotropic filtering, Maxed out texture, model, environment, etc quality, and HDR/V-Sync enabled. Even at those settings the game never lags and plays as smooth as any console video game.
If gaming works so well, it's easily understandable that when in Mac OS, applications such as the Adobe CS3 suite, Maxon Cinema 4D, and Apple Pro apps like Aperture run beautifully. Designers and digital artists such as myself would be pleased with this great performance and LCD pair-up. I know I'm happy with it.
Aside from the completely unique design that mostly all of us know and recognize these days, it's a great feeling to know that you're actually using a pretty power-efficient computer. All that this system actually requires to operate is the SINGLE power cable which is designed to plug flush with the rest of the system design. The single cable will power screen, system, sound, peripherals, it's great to not have such a massive collection of wires hanging below your desk like PC computers get. This actually even further helped by the wireless bluetooth keyboard and bluetooth might mouse [wish I STRONGLY suggest all users upgrade to get.] With those, your system really only DOES need that single power cable.
External speakers certainly aren't required for this iMac, but they would certainly make a better addition to enjoy your media. The internal speakers are possibly the best "stock sound" you can hear from a device, though. Certainly better than any speakers included on an HDTV set. They get impressive bass and frequency range output across the board, even great L/R spatial differences. The only thing the iMac's stock sound is missing is a subwoofer for the lower 100-Hz ranges. If you do invest in speakers, I suggest the "JBL Spot" speakers which look tailered for the iMac itself. They sound great and play the part being white and easy to use/setup.
These iMacs have three fans inside. And even in that small space, they can barely, and I mean BARELY be heard. Unless you're in a silent isolated room, you'll never hear them. The iMac also puts out no vibrations at all from the hard drive/fans spinning. Heat is no issue as well, the iMac has plenty of fan power to keep it cool if things do heat up, and that's rare anyway. At max brightness, the LCD can tend to get toasty at the top, but if you feel concerned, just turn it down for a while and give the screen a rest.
The system is surprisingly heavy at nearly 20 lbs. You don't expect to encounter such heavy resistance from a system that looks so simple. Unfortunately the systems design of clean-cut sharp edges can make the system awkward to hold and carry, since picking it up by the base is NOT advised.
Some review sites complain that iMacs don't include things like a built-in card reader. This amenity is one rightfully overlooked. Alot of my friends have card readers in their PC's, and they actually never even knew what they were because they've never ever had to use them. Truth is, almost any time you need to extract data from a memory card, it can be done through the device itself and a USB cable. Even then, most printers these days have built-in card readers which connect the card to your desktop. You'd have to admit, card slots would also damage the elegant design of this system.
I think in the end, I am only really disappointed in the fact that pop the back panel off and inspect the insides like previous G5 iMac models. At least the old models allowed internal parts to be replaced. These new iMacs are locked up tight, and opening them at home would almost certainly ruin the system. It's too bad, really
But, that aside, I have no reason to open it, at least not for a long while. I'm happy with my purchase and extremely happy with its price + $100 off printer promotion at the time. I can recommend an iMac to anyone looking for "a system that just works." And, I would definitely buy a later generation iMac again down the line when an upgrade is seen necessary.