A week with the iMac....A light review.

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 Macboy
Not really sure if this review is any good, but if you have the time and are interested in switching, read on...

Getting it started

Since I’d already gotten familiar with the Mac OS on the iBook, I thought it would be the same experience on my iMac. And boy was I wrong. Read on to find out why...

I’ll move past the “opening an iMac is like opening all your christmas gifts put together” part and straight off to the installation. Its as simple as plug in the chord and press the power button (its at the back, I hear Mr. Jobs didn’t want to spoil its aesthetics). It boots up, plays a “welcome” animation and then prompts for some information and within 2 minutes, it was done, I could use the Mac OS X right away!

The Screen. Its too big (and I’m not complaining!). One literally has to look up to see the menu bar and look down to see the Dock. And the quality of the display is amazing. Its quite bright with a good contrast (800:1) and the viewing angle is 170 degrees. At 1680x1050 resolution, now I know why the Mac OS X doesn’t “maximise” windows in the conventional way. In windows, the maximise button simply expands the window to fill the entire screen. While the Mac “Zoom” button expands it to the size that is needed so that all the information is displayed. No waste of screen real estate.


Front Row. I had used Front Row on my iBook but without the remote. I can see myself sleeping on the bed watching the Coldplay concert. This is one of the most important features for me. This is the tool I will pull out in, you know, those ‘showing off’ moments...

One very weird thing is that the system is totally silent. Even more than the iBook. At least there one could hear the HDD hum once in a while but in this case I have to put my ears really close to hear something.


The speed. This machine is fast. Boots up within no time. Safari starts even before you click on the icon (now I’m exaggerating). Even those that run under Rosetta show no speed issues. I loaded windows just to compare. Installation within 20 minutes and boots like a rocket. Again, I’m not complaining!

I fired up a 1080p video of Ghost Rider (amazing trailer, btw). 24 fps steady. And the clarity (which I guess I owe to the trailer itself was amazing. All the bystanders were amazed. The funny thing is that the speakers are pretty good. I thought they would be crappy laptop type speakers but they’re good. They have absolutely no bass, but the mids and highs are pretty good and it gets loud enough.

Working with OS X Tiger is pretty neat, always has been. Neat animations, slick graphics, high res icons, and...not bothering about viruses!

I took my brother’s Nokia 6255 and effortlessly connected the bluetooth. Transferred some files here and there. The wireless connected as well (with the iBook).

One of the most amazing features of the Mac OS is its graphics engine. It’s a combination of Core Image and Quartz Extreme which produces some amazing graphics. Take for example the iTunes visualization “BeComposed”. Its really a treat to watch.

Or for that matter the quicktime video which continues to play when minimised into the dock.

And my personal favourite, Expose. Nowadays when working with windows I find myself moving the mouse pointer to the top corner (shortcut for expose) but ending up being dissapointed.


Working with Windows.

Well, what can I say? Its the same old thing. Only this time, my gaming experience is...something new. Now I know that there are much more powerful GPUs out there, but the max that I’ve worked with is the GeForce 4 MX 440 (and right now using GMA 900 on the Intel 915 board). I actually put out a request to play a game on a GeForce 6800 some time back, but no one was willing to share their PC with me (All I wanted was one game session). I’ve so far tried the Quake 4 Demo which runs smoothly at uh...forgot the exact resolution but it was somewhere around 1280x1024.

Keynote and Pages

iWork 06 comes with Pages and Keynote, Apple’s answer to Word and Powerpoint. I cannot complete my review without these two excellent apps. I’ve given up MS word (which is better on the mac, though slower due to Rosetta) completely. And powerpoint I never used as I considered it very boring. But Keynote, awhophfff, its too good. So simple, elegant and graceful… produces some amazing results. Check out the first screenshot to see how simple Pages' interface is...

iLife 06
The whole thing is tightly integrated. The iPhoto Library is accessible in almost all of the apps (say I want to use a picture in Pages, just have to go to media, and drag-drop). iWeb which I thought was kiddy seems quite good. It is zero-knowledge web designing. And it produces some nice pages...



There are a few kinks with the Mac OS X. First of all, is the networking part. If I’ve connected to a windows drive Wirelessly, and then it gets disconnected, finder hangs. And to get the OS running again takes quite a while, its better to reset.

The Mouse is too slow. For such a high resolution, the mouse should have been fast. If I’ve to drag a file from the top to the bottom (moving to thrash), I have to do it in two strides. Maybe its due to my small mouse pad…

I’ve also faced this problem with Tiger where the help system becomes dys-functional after some time. It happened on my iBook and now on my iMac. Can be irritating for a new user like myself.

On first boot, after the playing around, I found that Photo Booth, the picture clicking app, hung up consistently (didn’t hang the system though). Also Front Row took at least 2 minutes to navigate to the “movies” part. I had to restart, ironical as apple says we don’t have to, and things were fine. There is also an issue with the DVD writer, gives me some error. I’m not sure if the writer is faulty or if the media is incompatible. (Correction, the media was bad).

There's also some issues with Windows where i installed Fifa 2006 but in the game the right key was pressed continuously. Didn't happen outside the game nor in other games. i couldn't select anything...

Benchmarks (unprofessional, as in, for most part I’m using a cellphone stopwatch)

Startup: 25 seconds.

Opening Safari (Web Browser): Not even 1 second. Its a click-shows type of reaction.

Photoshop: Startup: 35seconds! That long!.

However, In that good old photoshop test (the one with the horse in the desert) with Radial Blur > Spin > 100 > Best. The speed was pretty quick, just 73.2 seconds. This compares with 109s on the iMac G5 and 80s on the P4 3.0Ghz. Mind you, the Core Duo is handicapped with less RAM as well as having to run Photoshop CS2 under emulation (Rosetta). This test wasn’t Unprofessional.

Games: Don’t know how to enable those fps showing things so I wouldn’t know. But Doom 3 and Quake 4 run perfectly well on the system (1024x768 with highest quality and AA at 2x). No framing. Gaming on the Windows front is better (Boot camp windows, that is).

Overall experience
What can I say….thing costs a lakh, of course it has to be a good experience….
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