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iMac DV -- Best Mac Ever?

Dr. Mac In October I told you about the new iMac DV from Apple, and how it looked like it was going to be the best iMac Apple ever built. Well, that was before I road-tested one. Now that I have spent several weeks with mine, I am totally sold.

On top of being gorgeous, the iMac DV is like getting three different machines for the price of one. Sure it's a Mac -- a great personal computer and easy-to-use Web applicance. But iMac DV is also a full-blown home theatre system, complete with a DVD player and mind-blowing Harman Kardon sound system. And last but not least, iMac DV is a complete video editing studio that anyone -- even your mother -- could use.

To start with, our iMac DV was a cinch to set up. In fact, my 7 year-old son was able to get the whole thing wired up and plugged in by himself (with adult supervision but no intervention, of course). Once he got everything hooked up, it took me 5 minutes to get Internet access up and running. Total time from box to Internet: 20 minutes. Then, everything worked just as you'd expect, only faster. The bottom line is that iMac DV is first and foremost a Macintosh, and a very good and fast one at that.

But it's also a respectable home theatre. To show off the DVD-ROM drive (which also plays CD-ROMs and audio CDs, by the way), Apple has thoughtfully included a copy of "A Bug's Life" on DVD-ROM, with every iMac DV. I popped the disc into the slot-loading DVD drive and was blown away -- the full-screen DVD playback was stunning, vivid, lifelike, breathtaking, and amazing. The effect was amplified (excuse the pun) by the clear, clean sound system. We (my family and I) were stunned at how excellent the whole experience was. My wife summed it later when she said, "The iMac sounds better than the stereo in my van! A lot better."

But the best part, at least for me, was the included iMovie software. iMovie is Apple's new easy-to-use software that lets you transfer video to and from any digital camcorder (via iMac DV's FireWire ports), perform easy "drag-and-drop" editing, add special effects like dissolves and wipes, record voiceovers (using the built-in microphone) and create soundtracks from audio CDs.

What can I say? Using iMovie was unbelievably easy. I shot some footage of my son's soccer game on Saturday. By Sunday at noon I had completed a 7 minute mini-movie, complete with soundtrack, dialog, professional-looking dissolves and cross-fades, and rolling credits.

The iMovie software is so easy to use that Apple doesn't even provide a manual. And I never felt the need for one. There is a very good Mac OS Help-based tutorial and an extensive online help system. Between the two I was able to create a very nice (if I do say so myself) 7 minute movie in just a few hours.

The iMac DV (and it's souped up brother the iMac DV Special Edition) is without a doubt the best iMac of all time. Heck, it may well be the best Mac of all time!

iMac DV. 400MHz G3,
64MB RAM,
10GB hard disk,
DVD ROM drive,
FireWire,USB, iMovie software.
5 colors.

iMac DV Special Edition. 400MHz G3,
128MB RAM, 13GB hard disk,
DVD ROM drive,
FireWire, USB, iMovie software. Graphite color only.

iMac DV. SRP $1,299.
iMac DV Special Edition. SRP $1,499.
Apple Computer,
Cupertino, California
800-795-1000 or
http://apple.com/imac/

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Bob LeVitus is a leading authority on the Mac, the author of 22 computer books, including "Cheap & Easy Internet Access," "WebMaster Mac," and "System 7.5 for Dummies." Bob is also a contributing editor and columnist for MacUser magazine. E-mail comments and suggestions to [email protected]. Dr. Mac / Bob LeVitus has a new "vanity" web site at http://www.boblevitus.com/.
 
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