Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle , Henry Norr squared off a new SuperDrive-equipped iMac against a Hewlett-Packard Pavilion 780n — a Windows XP-equipped PC that’s “roughly comparable in pricing and positioning.” The article is entitled Apple flat-panel iMac the better way to go with digital media.
Norr exemplifies his experience with both machines by noting a glaring omission in the Hewlett-Packard box: although it comes with a DVD+RW drive, it doesn’t come with any blank media. Trivial though it sounds, to Norr, it exemplifies what’s wrong with PCs.
“When it comes down to the little things that determine the quality of the user’s experience, this industry just doesn’t get it,” said Norr, who added that while Apple isn’t perfect in this respect, at least they give you a disc to try burning your own DVD.
Norr notes the engineering of the new flat-panel iMac’s neck, but criticizes the screen’s inability to turn from landscape to portrait mode, and says that he’s not crazy about the hemispherical design of the iMac’s body, either. Norr’s clearly bored by the HP clone, too. He did note, however, that the HP came with twice as much memory — 512MB — and twice as much hard drive space — 120GB. The HP’s prodigious storage capacity will come in especially handy when handling digital video, Norr suggested. He also noted that the “difference is appreciable” between the 800MHz CPU in the iMac and the Pavilion’s more-than-twice-faster CPU clock speed (1.8GHz).
“Apple and HP are on opposite sides of the writable-DVD standards battle that continues to divide the industry and occasionally befuddle consumers,” wrote Norr, who said that Apple’s DVD-R drive doesn’t work with the same media that HP’s DVD+RW does. Apple’s burns write-once DVDs that can be played on almost any DVD player, while the Pavilion burns rewriteable DVD discs. The rewriteable discs are more expensive but come in more handy for data archival, while Apple’s discs are more compatible with consumer DVD players.
For Norr, the Pavilion edged out the Mac when it came to using the Web and playing games. But the Mac gets the edge when it comes to digital media. He has criticisms of both machines overall — iMovie crashed on him, and he finds the way software is set up on the Pavilion to be confusing.
“If you’re committed to Windows, the Pavilion 780n may be as good a digital- media system as you’re likely to find. But if you have the freedom to choose, you’ll probably master digital media a lot faster if you go the Apple route,” said Norr.