Interesting insight into the mind of an Apple buyer there. I note you use the word "surprising" a lot, as do Apple themselves in their marketing. You also don't quantify things like the time machine restore being "fast" - fast in comparison to what, and with how many apps and how much data? What does noiseless mean, presumably not 0db?
What I'm getting at is your impression of the machine is based entirely on your expectation of it. I'm not saying it isn't nice hardware, it is, but that is also the very definition of the Reality Distortion Field. The brand, the shiny retail space, the reassuringly high price that must mean it's made of better quality materials.
I'm not having a go at you personally, just pointing out how Apple operates, and why it's hard for the rest of us to take a "review"/anecdote like this too seriously.
First - this was not a review. This was list of impressions. For a review, I would need to compare it to something, go into technical details, measurements etc. This wasn't a review - and for what it was worth, I don't think the one in the original article was a good one either. I think this is a better example of a review, but it is of a different model.
As of my use of "surprising", I used it twice. Once for the weight. Since I had just moved my old 27 inch iMac, I had a good comparison - and this was 1/3rd lighter for what is still basically a computer attached to a screen. Only the optical unit is really missing. This felt slightly surprising to my muscle memory. The second time was describing the sound, and my surprise there is that it is even coming close to "passable for some light use" given the speakers. This is hardly what Apple's marketing would aspire to ;) I would not consider using this without additional speakers.
As for "quantify" that time machine being fast - it was a couple of clicks. After that, it took an hour or two - it was about a terrabyte of data (mostly RAW images and music files). I didn't hang around to find out, but the involvement for me was "fast". As for "noiseless", it means I have a really hard time hearing that it's one - I have to put my ear to the screen.
As for "what you're getting at", you're wrong. I don't buy retail (there aren't even any Apple stores around here), and of course lower price is better. I just happen to look at what I get for my money rather than always choosing the lowest price, and previous experience (my own and people I trust) will have an influence on my decisions.