Since the launch of the ridiculously elegant aluminium iMac two years ago, many have tried to replicate its covetable looks, great performance and value for money. The Sony VAIO LV comes close, the Lenovo IdeaCenter A600 a little bit nearer still. But none have surpassed it.

To beat it, we've had to wait for this – the new 27in iMac. Essentially, it's the same design as the 24in model, just stretched out to accommodate a wider 16:9 screen. It may not be groundbreakingly new, but it cements the iMac's position as the all-in-one to own.

Screen success

The new screen is a gorgeous 2560x1440 resolution affair. It has almost as many pixels as a standard 30in display, so is razor sharp down to the finest detail.

It's driven by IPS technology, so colours are bright and bubbly enough to front their own CBeebies show, and viewing angles are so good you can stand side-on and still read copy on the far side of the picture.

The 27in iMac’s sheer size – a 21.5in version is also available – does mean it would be slightly more comfortable to use if it were height adjustable, but the weight of all-in-ones means they never are.

Gaming issues

Behind the screen, you can choose between a dual- or quad-core CPU depending on your budget, but either coupled with the new AMD graphics processor will deliver enough power for HD movies or demanding desktop work.

No such thing as Magic

The slimline Bluetooth keyboard is the same elegant model from before, but it's the new multitouch Magic Mouse that's been attracting attention.

It's not quite as exciting as machines like the HP TouchSmarts which come with multitouch screens, but it's potentially more practical since it puts gestures where they should be - at your fingertips.

Unfortunately, the Magic Mouse is a disappointment. The gestures are limited to scrolling and two finger taps, and pinch-to-zoom is noticeable by its absence. Worse, the flat profile is only comfortable if you guide your mouse delicately with your digits – if you prefer a full grip, you’ll find it ungainly and slow.

It's only a mouse, though, and doesn't detract from the fact that in every other respect, the iMac is damn near perfect.


Stuff says... 

Apple iMac 27in 2009 review

A better screen than most standalone monitors with a top notch Mac thrown in for free, though the new mouse is far from magical