We all know that beady-eyed glare from the eyes of a salesman – that steely glint that tells us that somehow, someway, we’re getting screwed. Big time.
Whenever you bite into the advertising for a product you’re taking their bait. Unless a consumer is armed with some real knowledge about what he or she is buying, anyone is defenseless against sales tactics and the sweet nectar of TV commercials. In this feature I like to explore what marketers offer in their product and compare it to what the product actually does, leaving you with a handy bottom line to take to the shop with you.
The product: Apple iMac (Winter 2009)
What they say you’re getting: The cheapest 24-inch all-in-one PCs on the market; double the hard-drive capacity of older models. A beefy Nvidia graphics card; best-in-class multitasking performance; iLife digital media suite. A processor that outperforms its more expensive competitor’s machines for a lower price. Double the hard drive space of previous offerings, an All-in-One system that meets all of your computing needs.
What they’re hiding: Hardware features are limited Windows-based all-in-ones. The Mac OS is more intuitive if you have never used Windows, but if you grew up with some Windows experience you will probably be confused for a while. My personal experience is that people who don’t normally use computers prefer a Mac – however, if you are a gamer or into heavy graphics or audio, then the Mac isn’t for you.
Apple touts the large hard drive, but this is an optional upgrade that’ll have you shelling out more than you may have planned. The 2.8GHz 24 inch iMac comes with a 320GB 7200rpm SATA hard drive, which you can upgrade to 500GB, 750GB or 1TB. At around ~$250, the 1TB option is too expensive, but ~$50 extra for 500GB is reasonable, and 750GB for ~$110 is worth considering. However, many competitors come standard with much more than 250GB of hard drive space, which isn’t enough for any heavy gamer, with modern games clocking in at 5-15 gigs of space each.
The bottom line:
Apple has swung the upgrade hammer on this $1,499 iMac, and you have to keep in mind that this includes the 24-inch screen. The other updates make it a competitive entry in the market, and this processor can really juggle those multiple tasks – in fact, when Apple boasts that this machine outperforms its competitors, it’s because the iMac can handle multiples tasks much more efficiently than desktops in a similar price range. This computer lives up to the standard Apple has set in creating attractive, appealing desktops that can solve all of the average consumer’s computing needs. That being said, gamers and the extremely computer savvy might be better off with a desktop that allows more flexibility in its upgrades – as attractive as iMacs are, I will always love the ability to open my computer up and upgrade components with any happy Sunday trip to Best Buy.
Specifications (standard): Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo (2.66 GHz) ; RAM: 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM ;
Hard drive: 640.
Price range: $1500