Instead of the all white approach, it now sports a silver and black aluminium finish, which looks very smart and more business-like. There was possibly something slightly toy-like about the previous version, but this is certainly no longer the case. According to Steve Jobs, the aluminium is also more recyclable. (If you’re in the mind set to throw out one of these new iMacs, I’ll happily take it off your hands).
The display is surrounded by a glass covered thick black frame, which in itself helps to boost effective contrast. Below this is the Apple logo, also etched out in black. The rest is silver.
The 20in version of the display only has a depth of 7.4 inches and weighs just 9.1Kg, so it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk and is very easy to manipulate. It’s basically just a weighty monitor, which makes it quite easy to live with. During my review I moved it around a couple of times to different rooms and the ease with which I could unpack and repack it was a blessed relief. Then again, this is essentially a laptop, built into a full sized display and stand, so it’s no surprise.
Image quality on the 20in screen is good and the glossy finish gives the screen the right amount of impact. The maximum brightness is a reasonable 290cd/m2 and the contrast ratio is given as 800:1. High def trailers looked great on the Mac, (particularly as Quicktime has a full-screen option these days. The downside to the screen is that the viewing angles from the sides are poor, but as long as your near the centre it’s fine – the 24in version has a better 178 degree viewing angle. However, if colour accuracy is a major concern the top-end mac mini has the same base specs and will of course enable you to attach your own monitor.
One issue is that there is no height adjustment, you can only tilt the display forward and back. Additionally, when I was doing this, I grabbed the bottom corners of the screen and twice accidentally pressed the power button that sits at the bottom left behind the screen, placing the machine in standby – and twice feeling rather stupid for doing so – a bit of a design flaw I feel.
If you’re wondering where Apple has placed the speakers, the answer is on the underneath of the screen, with grilles visible along the underside. I was actually very impressed indeed with the quality and volume level – I’m pretty confident they’re the best sounding speakers I’ve heard built into a screen, with strong bass and a pleasant upper and mid-level frequencies, you can feel all 24-watts. Certainly decent dedicated desktop speakers will be even better but for most people these will be fine, even for music. There is a line out at the rear if you do want to hook up an external set, along with a headphone socket next to it.