Forget the G20 street parties, we're off to Apple's Cupertino HQ to mount a demonstration of our own. Namely that the iMac's price be raised as soon as possible.

Put Apple's all-in-one up against a Sony JS, a Dell One and an HP IQ800 and it confounds your expectations of all things Mac. Yes, its delicate, thin, aluminium shell is still beautiful by comparison to the bloated plastic of its rivals, and its screen is unrivalled for colour and clarity. But the best value for money too? Surely some mistake...

Best value all-in-one

Absolutely not. While you may have to wrestle with your conscience to splash out on an iPhone or MacBook in these punishing times, purchasing an iMac is, as they say, a no-brainer. You get the best performance for the lowest cost, simple.

Apple still eschews some of the things its Windows-based rivals take for granted, like Blu-ray players and built-in TV cards, but the new generation of iMacs consolidates the line-up's reputation as the best around.

Impressive spec

The improvements over last year's releases are all under the hood. There are three models available, with Core 2 CPUs ranging from 2.66GHz to 3.06GHz installed.

Each has a whopping 4GB of RAM, and class-leading storage options. The model we tested came with a 640GB drive, but there's an option for a full 1TB hard disk, which should take a while to fill up.


The only weak link in the chain is the graphics choices, which start with an NVIDIA 9400M and go up to an NVIDIA GT130 for the highest specced machine. None are particularly powerful processors and, while you certainly won't notice them hold desktop performance back, they’re a bottleneck in games.

Small details

We could also wish for a height adjustable stand, especially given that the screen starts so far off the desktop, and the razor thin aluminium keyboard remains an acquired taste, too. It's great to look at, but does little in the way of wrist support for the more lazy typists out there.

But in the face of ultra-silent operation, lightning fast boot times and – we'll say it again – the sheer elegance of this thing compared to its rivals, it's the only real choice for an all-in-one at the moment.


Stuff says... 

Apple iMac 24in 2009 review

Still the pick of the all-in-ones – an awesome machine at a brilliant price