Awards

  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Pros

  • Stylish, sleek design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Vibrant IPS screen
  • Slick, reliable OS
  • Thunderbolt connectivity

Cons

  • No Blu-ray
  • Expensive
  • No height adjustment
  • No USB 3.0

Review Price £1,250.00

Key Features: 21.5in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS screen; Aluminium chassis, glass screen front; Intel 'Sandy Bridge' Core i5 2.7GHz; 4GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB 7,200rpm HDD

Manufacturer: Apple

Just as the iPad 2 rules the tablet landscape despite promising competitors like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, and the  MacBook Air remains the undefeated thinness champion over rivals such as the Samsung Series 9 900X3A, on the desktop side of things, Apple's iMac range exemplifies the most stylish and slim all-in-one desktop line on the block.

 

This is hardly surprising, considering iMacs sport a slim, sexy look that's all solid, edgy aluminium and sleek black lines. It's a design that has been class-leading, if not without its flaws, since it was introduced on the 20in iMac all the way back in 2007. Thankfully, since then internals and connectivity have been updated several times. We're looking at the latest refresh, which brings Intel's quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs, Radeon 6000M-series graphics and Thunderbolt connectivity to the older, 2010 iMac. Join us as we find out whether this makes for the ultimate all-in-one desktop machine.

 Apple iMac 21.5in (2011) 7

On the outside, almost nothing has changed. The seamless front consists of the frameless screen, elegant black bezel with matching Apple logo, and aluminium base section. The sides, back and stand are sharp-edged, attractively curved aluminium, which looks fantastic.

 

Using machine-cut aluminium, and a physical build Apple has had several generations to perfect, it's not surprising that build quality is superb. Even the screen is protected by a layer of glass. Quite simply, it's the best-built all-in-one PC money can buy.

 

There are a few minor downsides though. Its sharp edges can make the screen uncomfortable to hold, move or carry. More importantly, there's no height adjustment, as found on the recent HP TouchSmart 610, though at least there's a generous amount of tilt and this adjustment is effortless.

 Apple iMac 21.5in (2011) 5

The glass front, while very attractive, is also ridiculously reflective. Thus, in an environment with a lot of ambient light it can be next to impossible to make out dark material on the screen. However, if these niggles don't bother you, the iMac is still the most elegant and streamlined all-in-one (AIO) around.

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