Along with the machine, the iMac comes with a mouse and keyboard as standard. The mouse is the controversial Mighty Mouse, which many in the office said they disliked. I’d never used one previous to this review and I found it pretty impressive. The whole top of the mouse is one large button, and simple holding down ctrl as you click brings up the context menu, which I had no problem with. Pressing the mouse button while on the MacOS desktop brought up the Dashboard widgets part of MacOSX . The small wheel is the USP of the Mighty Mouse and I found it great to use, making it easy to quickly move around, whether it was up, down or to the sides. The negatives are the two buttons on the side – I could reach neither without shifting the position of my hand, which was unhelpful.
I also wasn’t expecting to like the keyboard but in fact it’s good. Apple has made it thinner than ever and as such it doesn’t look like there’s much travel in the keys, but in fact I found it to be comfortable and enabled fast typing, though occasionally there were errors, with the space bar occasionally not registering. The keys at the top are all handy shortcuts – Brightness, Expose, Dashboard, iTunes controls and system volume and Eject, all run along the top of the screen. There’s a number pad to the side, which has been lobbed off for the optional wireless version, which I think is a shame.
The wired versions were fine though, with the keyboard attaching at the rear of the Mac and the mouse able to be plugged in to the USB ports located on either side of the keyboard.
Also included is the Apple remote for controlling Front Row, its Media Center rivalling 10-foot interface for movie and pictures. When you press the Menu button on the remote, it swooshes onto and away from the screen with great panache. The first time you see this you’ll probably do it several times in a row, and go, ‘Ooooh’. At least I did.
No review of the iMac could really be complete without mentioning the apps included. All iMacs come with the latest version of iLife – ’08, which contains, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb and GarageBand. iLife deserves its own dedicated review to do it justice so I’ll only touch on it briefly, but it is very impressive and makes the iMac a highly capable machine right out of the box. I had a play with iMovie, which has had a major overhaul for the ’08 suite. It offers a new way of browsing through timeline clips just by moving your mouse over each one, so you can find your way round your imported files really easily.
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