Apple Tax, it’s long been a bugbear with many a Mac critic and following any product update or introduction from the Cupertino tech giant, this old controversy is thrown back into sharp relief. Apple products are pricey and none more than their Mac lineup. This week, Apple updated their flagship desktop lineup – the iMac, with Intel’s latest 4th generation core series processors, Haswell. The svelte all-in-one computer comes in two screen sizes, a 21.5-inch version and a 27-inch version. Specs begin with a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz, 8GB (two 4GB) memory, 1TB hard drive and Intel Iris Pro graphics. This entry-level stock model begins at a considerable €1,349.
Of course the iMacs can be cranked all the way up to ungodly specifications with built-to-order options. These custom configurations on the 27-inch behemoth will push the power and performance to the nth degree. Customising the machine to include such specs as a 3.5Ghz Core i7 with Turbo boost to 3.9Ghz, up to 32GB of RAM, 3TB of Fusion Drive storage and a the Nvidia Geforce GTX 780M with 4GB of GDDR5 video memory, courtesy of the latest Kepler Archiecture. All this will skyrocket your budget to a colossal €3,398.98. A considerable investment but are you paying over the odds for an Apple branded machine?
First thing is first, if we’re going to compare the iMac to the competition, we have to immediately disregard any tower-based desktop machines. This is a straight all-in-one shoot out. The most effective way of making a comparison is to begin with the entry level iMac and compare it to an entry level all-in-one from another PC manufacturer.
The Sony VAIO SVL2412Z1EB may not have a very attractive name and may lack the aesthetics of the iMac but it does provide a Core i7 processor, albeit of the 3rd gen Core Series variety. It’s also endowed with a 24-inch HD display, support for 3D content, plus there’s even a built-in TV Tuner. However, this machine doesn’t come cheap, considering much of the underlying hardware is last gen Tech, you’ll pay a whopping €1,772.13 for this VAIO.
The Samsung Series 5 All-in-one 21.5 is obviously a more closer match in terms of display size to the entry-level iMac. However, although it has a Core i5 processor, its RAM is only half that of the iMac at just 4GB and hard drive storage is unspectacular at only 500GB. It runs Windows 8 Professional and offers the ability to control the system with just a swipe of your hand. Built-in gesture recognition (5 unique gestures in total) makes this a standout machine. The biggest selling point of the Series 5 however is its price at just €821.08.
Overall the iMac doesn’t do too badly being right slap bang in the middle of the competition. It provides a rich feature list, great specs and as always, a unique user experience in OS X. This will always be something that sets any Mac apart from there PC counterparts. There will also always been the argument that buying from Apple is about buying into their ecosystem for better or worse. Consumers continue to expect quality from Apple products and thankfully this is still something you can expect from their Mac line, at any price range.
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