Apple iMac review: 2010 iMac rated

All the latest iMacs reviewed - which is best for you?

Apple iMac

The latest Apple iMacs marry the traditional cutting-edge design with the power of Intel's Core i-series processors and AMD graphics cards.

However, with there being two screen sizes – the iMac 21.5-inch and iMac 27-inch – and three CPUs to choose from, as well as othe options of including an SSD instead of a hard drive, it can be hard to know which is right for you.

So here's a roundup of reviews of the 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs, offering details of the performance from the Core i3 and Core i5 processors, and looking at the SSD option, as well as assessing the stunning iMac screens.

But if you decide you don't fancy an iMac, check out our guide to choosing the right desktop computer for you. Or if you'd like a Mac but want something more geared to the professional and high-end market, read our Apple Mac Pro review. We've also got a roundup of the MacBook Pro notebooks, if you want something more portable.

Apple iMac 21.5-inch – £1,020

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This is the cheapest of the iMac 2010 range, offering a 3.06GHz Intel Core i3 processor, a 256MB AMD 4670 graphics card, 500GB hard drive and 21.5-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution.

The move to the new Core-i processors is very welcome. The Core i3's Hyper Threading facilities mean the new mid-2010 iMac is great at multitasking, and running applications that use more than one core.

Discrete graphics is very welcome, with the machine's ATI Radeon HD 4670 adding much to its multimedia and gaming capabilities. The screen is as excellent as ever, and can be viewed from almost any angle without the colours shifting, and iLife remains a very useful software bundle.

At just over a thousand ponds, the entry-level iMac isn't cheap – but given the quality of the components and performance, it isn't outrageously expensive either. It offers an excellent performance, is a great multimedia machine, a credible (if imperfect) gaming rig and a superb all-round home computer.

Only Apple's insane refusal to offer a Blu-ray drive and a few omissions like USB 3.0 (though we'd expect to see Thunderbolt in the next models) and an anti-glare screen option keep it from near-perfection.

Read TechRadar's full Apple iMac 21.5-inch review

Apple iMac 27-inch – £1,429

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This is the cheaper of the two standard 27-inch models, featuring a 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 processor, a 512MB AMD 5670 graphics card, a 1TB hard drive and 27-inch screen with a massive 2560 x 1440 resolution.

You don't realise just how impressive the iMac's 27-inch screen is until you actually see it. It's breathtakingly large, crystal clear and can be viewed from almost any angle without the colours shifting. The new ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics chip (which can also be upgraded) gives it much-improved multimedia and gaming capabilities.

The new iMacs could certainly use a Blu-ray drive as an upgrade option, but the higher-end machines should have it as standard. Also, it's a pity the brackets and connectors for the second hard drive are missing if you don't order one.

The gorgeous brushed aluminium unibody design that made the last generation of iMac an object of desire is retained, and although not cheap, it isn't badly overpriced when you consider the quality of the components.

Read TechRadar's full Apple iMac 27-inch review

Apple iMac 27-inch SSD – £2,176

Apple imac

This is the top-end 27-inch iMac, featuring a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, a 1GB AMD 5750 graphics card, a 2560 x 1440 27-inch display, but configured with a 256GB SSD.

Using the solid state drive as the boot volume made everything run very quickly. Applications opened in an instant, and the processor hardly ever stalled while waiting for data. The quad core Intel Core i5 processor is excellent.

Unlike the Core i3 chips used in the rest of the iMac range, the Core i5 Turbo Boosts, shutting down unused cores and transferring the power to active ones. Faster memory is a boon, and we love the 27-inch IPS screen, which is crystal clear and offers incredible viewing angles.

One day, solid state will be the drive format of choice for boot volumes, but at the current price it'll be a while before it becomes mainstream. It's a real pity that 27-inch iMacs bought without a solid state drive lack the brackets and fixtures required to fit one, so you can't buy without now and wait for the prices to fall, as they inevitably will.

The 27-inch quad core 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 with SSD is an incredibly capable machine. We can't see the solid state drive catching on as a mainstream product for a while yet, but one day lots of computers will offer solid state media for the boot volume, and a hard disk drive for storage.

So is it worth the extra money? Only if your needs are extremely high-end, or if you're simply very rich.

Read TechRadar's full Apple iMac 27-inch SSD review

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