posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Jan 2006 11:28 UTC

"iMac G5: iSight, Photobooth, Conclusion"

iSight & Photobooth

The built-in iSight really is a major selling point of the machine-- seeing the ridiculous amount of money Apple dares to ask for its iSight camera. The iSight is embedded atop of the screen and it can produce VGA quality video and photos. Obviously, because it's built-in, everything works perfectly from the get-go. The actual quality of the camera disappointed me a little bit; the quality reminded me of videos or pictures I sometimes shoot with my mobile phone (test photo). An iSight isn't used to win the World Press Photo, but still, I expected more.

Photobooth is an awesome little application. It kind of emulates those, well, photo booths you see in train stations and airports, only now without the unpleasant side-effect of draining your wallet, of course. You can choose between several effects, divided into two categories (see the screenshots for more details). Shooting a photo is accompanied by a three-second countdown timer, and the screen is used as a sort-of flash. All photos you've shot are stored in a row beneath the 'viewfinder', and you can immediately send your pictures via email, import them in iPhoto, or set them as account pictures, or buddy pictures in iChat AV.

The iSight works perfectly fine with iChat AV. As a test, I had a videoconference with Eugenia (on the other side of the Atlantic) and it worked really well. I have to say that the video quality of her external iSight seemed a lot better than of my internal one; Eugenia confirmed this.


At the beginning of this review, we asked the question whether or not the iMac G5 is worth its pricetag. I can answer that question with a firm, confident, and solid 'yes'. The iMac G5 in its current form is, in my opinion, the best personal computer for home and/or office use that money can buy. If you compare the iMac to what Apple's competitors have to offer, it becomes painfully clear just how far Apple is ahead when it comes to making user-friendly, visually attractive, and plug-and-play home computers.

However, that does not mean there is no room for improvement. The quality of the iSight camera leaves a lot to be desired, and Front Row is nice, but it could have, and should have, been a lot more. The lack of TV support is the major miss of this machine. Other than that, OSX also leaves quite a few things to be desired.

Another thing to take into account is whether or not it is worth to upgrade to this new iMac G5 if you already own a previous model. That question I can answer with a definitive and resolute 'no'. Photobooth/iSight and Front Row/remote control do not offer enough functionality over the previous model, and the processor/memory/videocard improvements aren't that stellar either. If you already own a 1st generation iMac G5, there is no need to upgrade now; you are much better off waiting for the coming Intel iMac.

--Thom Holwerda

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Table of contents
  1. "iMac G5: Intro, Build quality, Setting up"
  2. "iMac G5: Remote Control, Front Row"
  3. "iMac G5: iSight, Photobooth, Conclusion"
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