At first I wasn’t entirely sold on the narrower aspect ratio, but any doubts are hard to hold on to upon using the iMac. The amount of desktop real estate was still sufficient to illicit a squeal of joy the first time I turned on the system and stacked three Safari windows side by side; just because I could! Alternatively you could fit two Pages or Word documents side by side, at 100 per cent magnification, with room to spare, whereas the benefit of more pixels for image and video editing applications should be self-evident.
Better still the entire iMac range now uses LED-backlit IPS LCD panels. We’ve espoused the numerous benefits of both technologies before, notably improved accuracy and vividness of colours, as well as a lack of any warm up time worth speaking of (so your colours are accurate as soon as you turn on the display).
The results speak for themselves; the iMac’s display looks nothing short of excellent. It’s not HP DreamColor LP2480zx levels of breathtakingly accurate reproduction, but you’d be utterly insane to expect such prowess considering that monitor is about twice the price of an iMac. There is one major criticism, however, in the substantial amount of light bleed, especially at the lower corners, though it is less obvious as you move farther back from the screen. Less universally detrimental is the glossy finish, which some will love and others will despise.
One small quirk of the iMac’s design is that there’s a small but noticeable gap, of maybe 5mm, between the panel itself and the glass surface of the display area resulting in smudges appearing very pronounced against the display. As such you’ll want to keep it away from anyone or thing likely to prod it all that often. Having seen the state of Riyad’s television, for example, I can only imagine how keen his cats would be to get their paws on a shiny new iMac.
Interestingly this means that unless Apple updates its 30in Cinema HD Display, the 27in iMac might actually be a better choice for those in need of quality image reproduction. While the iMac sacrifices 160 lines of vertical pixels over the dedicated monitor, it uses a superior backlight technology, and though it’s £200 or so more expensive, it doesn’t require a separate Mac or PC to connect to it.