2 years of the iMac

After 2 years of using the iMac, what do I think of it?

Hardware

After 2 years I’m really quite happy with the Mac. Hardware-wise, the Mac itself has been fine. The only negatives are that there is a speck of dust behind the screen glass. I don’t feel like taking the iMac apart, and it’s up in the top right-hand corner, so I’ve lived with it for quite some time now. The Mac itself is very quiet. The only time it’s been anything louder than a whisper was during summer, when the sun had been shining on the black back for hours. I know have an external drive (more on that later), and that’s louder than the Mac itself.

As far as the included peripherals are concerned (keyboard, mouse and remote control), it’s a mixed bag. The remote control doesn’t get used, and the keyboard is fine, although there is some wear or discolouring around the arrow keys. The mouse however is not so good. Apple came in for plenty of criticism for the Mighty Mouse, and in my mind it’s deserved. The scroll ball now no longer works, regardless of how much you clean it. The side-squeezing buttons never get used, because with my big hands I have to adjust my grip on the mouse. I’d replace the mouse with the Magic Mouse if it weren’t so damn expensive. At least that has no moving parts.

When I bought the iMac, I chose the entry-level model, with a 250GB disk and 1GB RAM. Since then I’ve upgraded the RAM to 4GB, which was a painless procedure, once you’ve found the right sized screwdriver! The disk space is getting low though, with around 20GB free, although the machine is only used for internet email, iPhoto and iTunes. The next one will have to have a much bigger disk.

Mac OS X

Leopard seemed fine to me. There were some niggles that were sorted out after a few months, such as occasionally refusing to connect to the wireless network first time after waking from sleep, and losing text labels on stacks. Since then I’ve upgraded to Snow Leopard. Once you’ve got over the excitement of having about 7GB more disk space free, the biggest differences between Snow Leopard and Leopard can be summed up in one line.

Mail starts faster

Opening Mail went from about 15-30 seconds to about 2 seconds for me. Apart from that there are some changes to Expose (and I’m not sure they’re changes for the better), and a few other small things you notice, but nothing to write home about. I still think Preview for PDFs blows Adobe Reader out the water, and I hate using Reader, waiting for it start on a Windows machine.

One thing that is fantastic is Time Machine. Setup couldn’t be much easier. Plug in a hard disk, get asked if you want to use it for Time Machine, switch it on. Then get told you need to format it. Then get asked to switch TiMe Machine on again. OK, so maybe it’d be simpler if you bought a drive that came HFS+ formatted.

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