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New iMac 21″ Review: Thin, Immersive Display Stands Out (Part 1)



The new 2012 iMac is the sleekest iMac to date, taking style from Apple’s mobile products. The new iMac skips a Retina Display, the new iMac does deliver an improved screen that looks great.

Apple started selling the 21.5-inch iMac in-store and online at the end of November, and the 27-inch model is inbound for later this month with starting prices of $1,299 and $1,799 respectively. Supplies are limited, with ship dates of 7-10 days for the smaller iMac and 3-4 weeks for the 27-inch model.

The new iMac features the latest quad-core third generation Intel Core i processors and dedicated NVIDIA graphics that many users would love to see in the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

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The new iMac (Late 2012) is a thin all-in-one with a great screen.

The new iMac is 5mm thick at the edge, drastically thinner than the earlier models. Thinner design doesn’t mean as much as on a portable computer, and the back of the iMac bulges out to hold the internals, but it’s still one of the best looking all-in-ones out there.

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The new iMac is 5 mm thick at the edge.

The new iMac display doesn’t deliver Retina Display resolution, but users still get a 1920 x 1080 resolution on the 21.5-inch model we have in for review.

The display is stunning. Images and text look nicer on the iMac’s display than on the MacBook Air or an Apple Cinema Display.

The new iMac is the first to feature an IPS display that adheres directly to the glass, which Apple claims, cuts 75% of reflections. In the photo below, the iMac is sitting next to an Apple Cinema Display, and even on this high-end display it is possible to see the lower reflection on the iMac.

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Note that reflections are more visible on the Cinema Display to the right.

Apple leaves out an optical drive to slim down the overall design. Users can connect a USB drive to one of the four USB 3.0 ports, but it no longer acts as a standalone DVD player.

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The iMac includes many connectivity options.

There is no way to upgrade the RAM on the smaller iMac. Apple includes a small door on the back of the 27-inch iMac, but it is absent on the entry-level model. This means buyers need to figure out how much RAM they need for the life of the computer when purchasing it. This also cuts out  upgrading to 16GB of RAM for $50 to $100 through a third-party, forcing buyers to pay $200 to Apple.

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No place to put more RAM on the new iMac 21.5-inch.

Apple offers a Fusion Drive upgrade on several models which pairs the 1TB drive with an SSD to offer speedy storage for system files and applications in frequent use. This $250 upgrade is not available on the $1,299 21.5-inch iMac.

Apple includes dual microphones that detect and filter out other sounds, for a better video chat experience.

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Dual microphones improve chat in noisy environments.

The new iMac in for review features a 2.7-inch quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. A NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M GPU with 512MB RAM powers the graphics. The system scores a 9184 in Geekbench.

New iMac Gallery


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    01/22/2013 at 1:54 pm

    One correction — the Apple Store shows the Fusion drive as an available option for the base 21″ iMac

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