Apple Adds More Fun to the iMac

At a Glance
  • Apple 20-inch iMac G5/2.1GHz

    PCWorld Rating

Apple's latest iMac includes a multimedia remote control.
Apple's latest iMac includes a multimedia remote control.
Apple has lowered the price, bumped up the speed, and enhanced the features of its sleek-looking 20-inch iMac G5. The result is an all-in-one desktop computer that works better with media and costs less than its predecessor; but like that unit, it falls short of being a full-fledged media PC because it doesn't have a built-in TV tuner.

I tested a shipping version of the updated, 20-inch iMac. Equipped with a 2.1-GHz processor (the prior model had a 2.0-GHz CPU), 512MB of DDR2 RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and a DVD+RW double-layer drive, the $1699 system delivered crisp performance, and the 20-inch wide-screen display looked very sharp. Audio from the built-in speakers, on the other hand, was average.

Aside from having a slightly thinner build, this iMac differs from its predecessor in three significant ways.

First, Apple added an iSight Webcam--third-eye style--at the front of the iMac. In my tests, the camera provided reasonably smooth videoconferencing capabilities.

Second, Apple introduced a Photo Booth app that lets you use the camera to take photos of yourself (complete with a screen-based fill flash) to use in things like e-mail notes and instant messaging.

Finally, Apple bundled a new iPod Shuffle-size infrared remote control that works with the new Front Row entertainment software. To activate Front Row, you hit the Menu button on the remote; this brings up a screen with four icons (Videos, Music, Photos, and DVD).

Despite my disappointment over the lack of a TV tuner, I think the 20-inch iMac is a cool desktop with a nice set of features, an attractive design, and a reasonable price.

Apple iMac G5


This beautiful 20-inch wide-screen all-in-one combines entertaining multimedia features and a good price.
Price when reviewed: $1699
Current prices (if available)

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Consistent organization of movies between computer and Front Row
    • Built-in iSight video camera
    • Includes fuller featured Mighty Mouse
    • Remote stows on side of iMac
    • Beautiful, bright display
    • Photo Booth software is really fun
    • Can support a maximum 2.5GB of RAM
    • Excellent general-use and business Mac

    Cons

    • Supports second display only in mirroring mode
    • Supports only VGA (analog) connection for additional displays
    • Remote control takes some getting used to
    • Front Row has numerous, irritating quirks and omissions, its Movie Trailers server intermittently returns errors and won’t play trailers, and it won’t let you bookmark video content
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