Analysis of the new iMac 2012: two successes, two errors and a reasonable doubt
It has been made to beg but a few days ago the new 2012 iMac was put on sale in Spain. At Xataka we have already been testing one of the 21.5-inch models - which were the first to be available - for a few days and we have some interesting things to tell you about our experience.
Has the reduction in thickness been worth it? How does the new screen look? And how does FusionDrive behave? To these questions we have looked for answers in our analysis of the new iMac 2012 in the form of two successes, two errors and a reasonable doubt.
Success 1. Improve the quality of the screen
Same resolution, IPS panel but much better screen. It's possible? Well it is. The new iMac 2012 is right in its commitment to the quality of the screen and the IPS panel of this new model improves on a basic aspect: it reduces up to 75% the reflections of the previous models, which were certainly very annoying if the Light work environment was not under control.
Reflex reduction is a huge joy
The screen of the new Apple desktop looks great, and even in direct natural light there is a brutal reduction in reflections (off in how one realizes this improvement), so working with it is a delight in that appearance. The brightness is kept high without reaching spectacular figures, the viewing angles are enormous and having the pixels so close to the consumer's eyes thanks to the new manufacturing process of the screen allows the sensation of sharpness and depth to increase. But ...
Error 1. No Retina display for now
... Apple has lost the opportunity to offer at least one premium model - as it has done with the Macbook Pro - in which the screen resolution gave a significant leap in quality. We are seeing that trend on smaller screens, tablets and even laptops, and the results convince most of those who try it (our analysis of the MacBook Pro Retina).
That passion that the company has put into its smallest screens, I think it is a mistake not to have transferred it, for example, to this 21.5-inch model, helping when working with content and reading. We know it will come sometime, why not now?
Success 2. FusionDrive transparent to the consumer
Although the increase in performance of the full range of iMac 2012 is very notable thanks to the best processors, more RAM and powerful graphics, Apple's most important success has been knowing how to "sell" its FusionDrive system. It is not a novelty in the market the use of SSD, but combining those flash memories with traditional hard drives in a transparent way for the user seems to me a complete success, and as we anticipate when we explain what FusionDrive consisted of, it is a trend that arrives to stay at least until the price of GB in SSD drives does not allow to opt for this type of memory in a main and broad way.
The user notices a substantial improvement in the operation of the equipment, sees only one drive and not two, and it is the Apple operating system that is responsible for deciding at which moment (SSD or classic disk) each file goes. For now, the performance difference may not be very noticeable for a home user at first glance (you will notice it at boot time), but as soon as you start working with large files or programs that require speed when it comes to Read and write data, the Fusion Drive option is highly recommended. But you have to pay it.
The difference between an iMac with 1TB Serial ATA at 5,400 rpm and an iMac with 1TB Fusion Drive is 250 euros. Also, not every model is available (the most basic 21.5-inch iMac doesn't enhance that option), and maximum capacity is only possible with the 27-inch (3TB) iMac.
At Xataka we have tested a drive with a FusionDrive of 128 GB SSD plus 1 TB of hard drive (7200 rpm) against a 2012 iMac model with the basic configuration consisting of a 1 TB hard drive at 5400 rpm, and in the In the first case, we have obtained maximum read and write speeds of 310 and 405 MB / s respectively, while in the basic model without Fusion Drive, the figures have shown a maximum of 108 and 105 MB / s. The difference is considerable.
What if now I opt for a classic hard drive and later, when the system demands it more, I want to change to Fusion Drive? Well, very simple, you buy another iMac. Why ...
Error 2. Close the hardware to the limit
... Apple has followed the idea of the laptop world and despite the initial philosophy of the desktop computer, this iMac is Apple's team "most closed in its history.
If before buying a computer equipment it is convenient to adjust your budget with needs, in the case of the new iMac, being clear about not only your current but future needs is key. Because it will be impossible to expand it later if you don't want to "tear it apart". If you want more RAM, forget about buying it later to improve performance. You will have to go through the expensive Apple box now for these extensions. The same goes for the hard drive.
Grid that serves as ventilation. It's the closest you'll get to the interior of the new iMac
It is the sacrifice that an iMac buyer must assume to have the equipment, although nothing that we are not also seeing in others desktop all in one under Windows eye. Apple has reduced its interior to a minimum, and compacted everything in such a way that this iMac is even closer to the universe of laptops, computers where one assumed at the outset that it would not expand its possibilities in the future, just contrary to what the desktop.
In spite of everything, it is to be praised by Apple that it has put together an entire powerful desktop computer - now without an optical drive - in such a small space. In operation, the new iMac is so quiet that you don't notice it's on. And if you were afraid of the heat, nothing to worry about. The housing does not heat up at all and the rear air outlet is the only point by which we can assume that heat is generated within the equipment.
Another positive aspect of this iMac is that of sound. It is powerful, listens well and the front and rear design of the equipment has not been altered at all to achieve it. But Apple leaves out the issue of bass, which is still not round, something that does not help the slim profile of the new iMac.
Apple's obsession with the design of its products sometimes makes that the only reason they avoid putting a USB port on the front or side of their iMac, something that would be comfortable.
The doubt. Is it necessary to reduce its thickness on a tabletop?
Having said all this, praised the screen, the sound, the power and the Fusion Drive, as soon as the new iMac 2012 was opened for testing in Xataka, a question arose: is it necessary to reduce its thickness so much on a desktop? Do you have any mission other than appearance or what Apple engineers and designers are capable of?
New iMac 2012 and its famous "hump"
At the end of the day, with very few exceptions, the iMac will not be from one side to the other (the new 2012 21.5-inch iMac weighs very little) and will always remain on a table, where the screen is as thick as the previous iMac it has no impact on the surrounding workspace at all. Was it necessary to sacrifice a possible "modularity"advantageous to the user by design only?
Other improvements that would be appreciated would be a more practical placement of the ports, with some more accessible, as well as a base that allows height adjustment of the screen. And at the port level, although it has introduced USB 3.0, it still leaves out something as basic as HDMI.