20in iMac gains pretty pixels, ballast

When Apple released the redesigned, "lampshade" iMac in January 2002, it had a flat 15in LCD monitor perched over a CPU shaped like half a beachball.

When Apple released the redesigned, “lampshade” iMac in January 2002, it had a flat 15in LCD monitor perched over a CPU shaped like half a beachball. It was an incongruous-sounding creation but the flexible monitor arrangement and economical footprint made it more than just a fashion statement.

The iMac is now available with a 20in widescreen monitor. Although the CPU remains the same size, the new iMac weighs over 18kg — almost twice the weight of the 15in model. We’re sure most of that weight is ballast, added to prevent overbalancing.

The screen itself supports a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels, more than twice the screen area of the 15in model. All that screen real estate makes the new iMac a delight to use. The screen is bright, crisp and supremely legible, even in variable lighting conditions, and the wide screen format is as suited to working with several applications as it is to playing DVDs in their intended aspect.

We didn’t expect the iMac to be a speed demon with its 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 processor, but it handled most tasks we attempted without raising a sweat. And you can’t argue with the striking appearance, which aids its popularity in the home and in corporate receptions. At $4299 ex GST, this iMac won’t be flooding on to business desks, but perhaps it’s an indication of what generic PCs will be like in a few years.

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