So today I am publishing the final post in my four part discussion on my recent purchase of an Apple mid-2011 iMac. So far I have stepped you through the reasons behind my decision to move from a MacPro to an iMac an unboxing fest along with a round of speed tests and the last post covered off a number of the things I disliked about the iMac. Today, by way of balancing that last post I will discuss a number of things I really like about my new iMac.
#1 Screen Brightness & Colour Accuracy
I kicked off the 5 things I dislike about the iMac post with a complaint about the glossy/reflective quality of the iMac’s screen. However that does take away from the sheer quality of the 27″ panel. The LCD in the iMac is the latest generation in-plane switching (IPS) LED-backlit screen. On my old 30″ Dell Monitor I noticed a variation in brightness towards the top and bottom edges of the panel; a light leakage, but no such problem with the iMac screen. This thing is super bright and is evenly lit edge-to-edge. Another thing that struck me was it’s colour accuracy, out-of-the-box. I was suprised to see how little the colours shifted when I 1st ran my Pantone Colour Calibrator on the screen, very little change indeed.
So a super panel and no doubt comparable to similar IPS models on the market today. I’ll admit to missing those extra 160px in height from the 30″ monitor; and I have already belaboured the glossy screen issue but all-in-all it acts as a great window on my photography nevertheless.
#2 It’s Fast!
OK this one is fairly obvious given the results of my speed tests last month. However it’s not just about the hard numbers. Day-to-day this thing just runs so smoothly that it is a pleasure to use. While the MacPro was no slouch in the performance department, even after nearly 5 years of service it just doesn’t compare to the new iMac.
I find myself doing things today without a moments hesitation where I would have had to think about it before; for example running a quick 6 or 7 image Panoramic stitch job in Photoshop just to see what it looks like before I commit to a full workflow. But outside of that, simply opening applications or files; irrespective of size, or doing a full restart; as few times as that is needed – all of it is done with ease and speed. There has been no task I have had to complete on the new iMac where I have found myself thinking; “hmm do I have the time to wait for this task to complete if I start it now?”.
#3 It’s Silent!
I thought my MacPro was queit but the iMac is on a different level altogether. It’s just silent, fullstop! No doubt this is down to the fact that I rarely put the system under significant pressure from a processing perspective; plus the main drive is an SSD so no moving parts. The only time I do actually hear anything is either when I need to access the 2nd Hard Disk which is a standard 7200RPM one, or when I am playing a game and the Graphics Card fan needs to kick in.
Of course there is a downside to this in that I need to find a new home for my Server as it is the noisiest thing in the office now 🙂
#4 All-in-one deisgn
A cliche I agree but it is pretty damn helpful to have everything in one box. I have managed to recover a fairly large space in my desk once I removed the MacPro which I have now shelved and filled with… well… stuff. And while I am using various additional periphials such as tablets, external hard disks, etc; that was pretty much true of the MacPro also.
#5 OS X Lion and Magic Trackpad
So obviously one of the other big changes for me with the new iMac was also a major update in the Operating System, namely OS 10.7 aka Lion. Of course ‘major’ is a relative term. There is no doubt if you read the various Lion spects (Apple Link) and reviews it is indeed major. However for my use it appears relatively minor with a few tweaks that I like. While I noted in an update to my 5 things I dislike about the iMac post was the Fullscreen implementation for Aperture I do actually like Fullscreen in general, particualry for creating a distraction free reading environment. Another item I like is the expansion of gestures under Lion, which when paired with the Apple Magic Trackpad makes for a very pleasant way to interact with the UI. I find myself reaching for the Trackpad more often then the mouse when doing general ‘stuff’.
So there you have it, the final part of this four part discussion on my view of my new iMac. Overall I am very happy with the purchase and while there are a number of minor issues that taint the experience I can see myself using the system for a next number of years. I can also myself staying within the iMac family with no real reason to purchase a MacPro. If the one major issue I have which is the Screen reflection gets to me too much I can always purchase an external screen to do colour sensitive work.