Apple practically reinvented the desktop when it put out its first iMac in 1998, and since then, the company has made improvements as the years have passed.

In its latest iteration, the company has tried to make the desktop even thinner, incorporating a new welding process to make it happen, while improving the hardware and making the monitor just a touch better.

That last point – the screen – seems like a perfect place to start, and here in the new iMac, the display is just simply gorgeous, and has been built with a new process that brings the display closer than ever to the glass, making the visuals just pop.

Apple’s new iMac screen uses a similar process to what’s being used in the latest generation of iPhone – as well as LG’s Nexus 4 and Optimus G smartphones – whereby the gap between the LCD and the covering glass is removed, with a thinner LCD panel pressed against the screen resulting in less reflection and better colours.

Sure, it’s not the “Retina-grade” panel everyone was hoping for, but it is a Full HD 1920×1080 display in a 21.5 inch size, which is fantastic.

And it just looks awesome.

Likewise, the overall construction of the iMac is breathtaking.

When we first saw the announcement, like many we were gobsmacked as to how Apple could make a desktop wafer thin, similar what we’ve been seeing from flagship LCD TVs in the past year.

Now that we’ve spent some time with the new iMac, we can safely say that Apple’s uber-thin desktop is more optical illusion than a patient in a weight loss program, with the back of the screen curving out slightly to meet in the centre, and pushing back roughly 3.5cm. That’s not a big deal, mind you, as the stand itself is 17.5cm deep, so it will always come out much further than the back of the screen.

Still, it’s an absolutely lovely design, with the casing still made from aluminium, and now built using a process called “friction stir-welding” which forces the surfaces together with such pressure that the molecules from the metal bind and create an edge as thin as 5mm.

Performance, this Mac mostly won’t disappoint, managing a higher index in our benchmarks than the MacBook Pro with Retina display, a machine that was near perfect when we took a look at it earlier in the year.

Depending on how you configure the iMac 21.5, you should see it fly, and heat seems better optimised than one of the older models sitting on our desk, which seems to get too warm for its own use lately.