New eMac review

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by makeme, Jul 28, 2005.

  1. makeme macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2005
    I've read lots of people asking for reviews about new Macs that people have gotten, but nobody seems to have written one. If they have, please excuse me, but it doesn't seem to happen very frequently so I thought I'd write one.

    To avoid writing what would otherwise be an extremely long review, I'll make a list of the bad things that I experienced, as they were so few, during my switch from an HP Pavilion 8280 running Ubuntu Linux to an Apple eMac running Mac OS 10.4. I'm going to be writing more about the software as that is obviously the soul of my new eMac and as always with computers is far more problematic than hardware.

    HP Pavilion 8280
    333 MHz Intel Pentium 2
    256 MB of Memory (64 MB originally)
    40 GB 7200 RPM Hard Disk Drive (8 GB 5400 RPM originally)
    ATI Rage Pro with 4 MB of Video Memory
    17 inch CRT
    Ubuntu Linux 4.10 (Microsoft Windows 95 originally)

    Apple eMac 2005
    1.5 GHz PowerPC G4
    512 MB of Memory
    160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Disk Drive
    ATI Radeon 9600 with 64 MB of Video Memory
    17 inch CRT
    Mac OS 10.4.2 (Mac OS 10.4.0 originally)

    The Apple Keyboard
    Originally, I really disliked the Apple keyboard. It felt like a toy, spongey, soft and cheap. On numerous occasions I thought that I might break the dang thing. However, now that I have grown accustomed to it, I like it. It has not broken and is surprisingly indestructible, just don't spill anything on it.

    The eMac Screen
    Before I purchased, I was under the impression that the eMac's screen would reach at least 85 Hz at 1280 x 960 resolution. However, it is much less at only 75 Hz. When Apple first released the eMac, I printed out the specifications and they claimed refresh rates of 85 Hz or above at all resolutions. Not surprisingly, the specifications have now been corrected and are much lower than they were originally. Nevertheless, I find my eMac's screen to be wonderful at 1024 x 768 resolution. Anything more hurts my eyes and I wish Apple would make the eMac's screen significantly better than my old CRT that I bought 8 years ago, which is about equal to the eMac as far as refresh rates and resolutions go but isn't flat like the eMac's. I'm not doing any video editing or desktop publishing, so I don't find 1024 x 768 to be all that limiting.

    Public beta. Workflows saved as standalone applications or finder plugins don't work at all. Hogs memory. Leaks hogged memory. The slowest application that I have ever used in my life. To be fair, those last two were fixed with 10.4.2. Other than that, Automator is a fantastic idea that I would like to see replace Applescript one day. Needless to say, it needs a lot of work before that's going to happen.

    Public beta. Hogs memory. Borks up on me. Meaning that every so often I open up Dashboard and all the open third party widgets have closed and the built in ones cease to function. Restarting or closing and reopening all widgets restores Dashboard to working condition. To be fair, that last one seems to have been fixed with 10.4.2. Other than that I love Dashboard and use TV Tracker, Marquee, Package Tracker, Calculator, Phone Book, Weather and Wikipedia frequently.

    The best web browser that I have ever used. I just wish it wouldn't crash whenever I visit certain websites.

    Public beta. Crashes. Loses messages. Rules don't work. To be fair it doesn't seem to crash anymore after 10.4.1. For such an important program I've been very disappointed with Mail. Not only does it look like hell, but it crashed on me and lost all my messages after using it on day one. I've crafted a rule that redirects junk mail to my ISP to improve its spam filtering only to have it not be applied to messages that I've marked as junk that Mail didn't catch. I actually used Entourage during my entire Microsoft Office Test Drive period and liked it, but now that it's run out I'm too cheap to buy it.

    User Interface

    Unification and Consistency is what Apple really needs to work on. For consistency problems look at Mail, then Safari and then Pages. Apple needs to either go all the way with brushed metal or go all the way with Aqua. It also needs to take a trip down memory lane and use Mac OS 9 for awhile because there are many things that it has that Mac OS X could benefit from.

    For unification, how about unifying some of the preferences that almost all applications provide and making them a system preference that all applications adhere to. Speaking of System Prefrences, how about making that awesome Password Assistant a system wide thing, so I can use it to create a new password for a website in Safari. Printer configuration, maintenance and monitoring could use a whole lot of unification and simplification. It is a huge mess right now strung out over several applications, System Preferences, Printer Setup Utility, ColorSync Utility, some application that is the name of your printer, some application that is the name of your printer with utility at the end and on and on.

    Apple also needs to do something about consistent behavior. When one application, like System Preferences quits when I close it's window and another one doesn't it's very confusing. Yes, some applications shouldn't and some should, but as it is now I see no justification that QuickTime shouldn't and System Preferences should. Safari certainly shouldn't, but why shouldn't QuickTime or Mail or iTunes. Applications that only use and have one window like iTunes and QuickTime should quit when that window is closed. Applications that use and have many windows like Safari and Word shouldn't.

    Sorry for that whole rant about user interface, but as it stands all of the user interfaces I've used have left much to be desired and some were just plain awful like Windows'. Mac OS X has the potential to have the greatest user interface if Apple would just fix these problems that mar one of the best user interfaces I've ever had the pleasure of using.
  2. alexprice macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2005
    Interesting Post

    That makes interesting reading, thanks!!!


  3. JonMaker macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2004
    Solid review. Your objectivity is impressive.

    The eMac is still a viable product. I used a 1.25 for a semester of CRS, and it performed more than adequately. I can't stand CRTs anymore, but I understand that they are only still used for durability and cheapness.

    One issue: Automator will never replace AppleScript. That's like saying Dreamweaver will replace HTML.
  4. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Its 1.42 GHz. Read carefully

    Because QT is not a single-window application. You can open as much movies and audio clips in it as you like and when you close one of them the app doesnt quit. Simple.

    I personally like new Mail in Tiger. Its far more superior than Panther and older Mail. System Preferences also have the same good design with Mail. This design is very convinient, effective and good-looking so I dont know why do you guys dont like it. In OS X I have used Mail and only Mail for e-mailing perposes, though I have Entourage 2004 and can use it if I wish, but I don't.
  5. makeme thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2005
    LOL! That's funny. Apple always touts Applescript as being so easy to use, but it's not. Automator actually is and I think that's what I was getting at. Applescipt definitely won't be going away anytime in the next few years. Regardless, I would like to see Automator bring as much of the power of Applescript as possible to such an easy drag and drop form of programming.
  6. makeme thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2005
    True. It was probably my subconscious coming out reminding me how it should be 1.5 GHz. I mean, what is with these paltry 100 MHz clock increases in Apple's consumer macs?

    True. QuickTime behaves correctly in that regard, but what about iTunes, iCal, Mail or Address Book?

    I never used previous versions, so I don't really have anything to compare it too.

    I think Mail and System Preferences look and act very differently. Mail uses an almost half aqua and half brushed metal interface and uses different looking and acting buttons than any other mac application. The mailbox list looks and acts nothing like iTunes or Finder too.
  7. briand05 macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2005
    What about iPhoto which closes when the window is closed, but iTunes doesn't. That is strange.
  8. makeme thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2005
    I agree. It is strange. That was what I was getting at in my review. Certain applications quit when you close their window and others don't. Upon closer inspection, I see that Mail doesn't because for some reason you can actually open more than one main window as well as many message windows. I don't know why you would want to have more than one main window though.
  9. matt_randal macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    I guess iphoto closes because its a visual app....once you close the window there is no function

    but itunes is not a visual program(unless like watching the cool effects!!) so when you close the window in itunes the music still you dont need the interface to listen to the music.
  10. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Hey guys im not saying anything about Address Book, Mail, iPhoto etc.

    I just pointed that QT should NOT close when you close a movie/song.

    When I want to quit the app I press Command-Q anyway.

    No, I think that Mail's mailbox window acts the same way as Finder windows
  11. makeme thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2005
    You can listen to iTunes Music with the main window closed? That's actually pretty darn cool and a lot easier than selecting Hide iTunes from the menu.
  12. makeme thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2005
    I don't seem to recall iTunes playlists or Finder folders disappearing like Mail mailboxes when there isn't anything in them. Now where did my Outbox go? It was just there! This is annoying and confusing as hell.
  13. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Thats made for the space-saving perposes. You know that iTunes' Source list icons are very small compared to Mail's icons.

    But the real reason they made Outbox disappear when there's nothing in there is that you can put something into the Outbox folder only when you send something. No dragging. But in Finder and iTunes you can place files/folders and songs to the empty folders/playlists with no problems, cuz the only way to do that is drag-n-drop. Not confusing at all.

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