Apple iMac 27in (2012) review

12 Feb 2013

Apple revisits its top-end iMac, and reasserts its position as the best all-in-one bar none

Price when reviewed: 
2,179(£1816 exc VAT)
Buy it now for 

Although we saw the new iMac 21.5in at the end of 2012, Apple has kept us waiting impatiently for the redesigned iMac 27in. Thankfully, that wait is now over. It’s a stunning transformation: where the previous model was a thick slab of metal and glass, the all-new iMac 27in squeezes into a body that measures only 5mm thick at its edges.

Apple iMac 27in (2012)

Peer around the iMac’s sides, and those millimetres-thick edges arc into a bulged rear, a metal stand sprouting from its centre. The wide expanse of silver metal is interrupted only by a strip of ports at its bottom corner, and the Apple logo at its centre. It’s beautifully plain and minimalist and, as king-sized all-in-one PCs go, impressively svelte.

As ever, the glossy 27in display is the focus of attention. There’s the same 2,560 x 1,440 resolution as on last year’s model (Retina technology hasn’t made its way into the iMac range quite yet), but that’s no disappointment. There’s oodles of space for multiple applications on the desktop, and the huge pixel count is matched with outstanding image quality thanks to the IPS panel within.

Put to the test with our X-Rite colorimeter, the iMac’s display measures up superbly. With a maximum brightness of 437cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 949:1, movies and photographs simply burst from the glossy panel. Colour accuracy is excellent, too. With an average Delta E of only 1.6, the iMac’s display compares favourably to the best monitors money can buy. If there’s any cause for complaint, it’s relatively minor: just as we’ve noticed with Apple’s iPad, the very darkest greys are, seemingly deliberately, crushed into black to give images a more solid, contrasty look.

Apple iMac 27in (2012)

With a starting price of £1,499 inc VAT, Apple’s iMac 27in is anything but cheap. The entry-level model partners a quad-core Core i5 CPU with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD. Our review unit was substantially more expensive. Taking the £1,699 model as its base, our review unit featured an upgraded Core i7 processor (£160), an Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX GPU (£120) and a 1TB Fusion Drive (£200), Apple’s hybrid combination of a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD. It’s also worth mentioning that the RAM can potentially be quadrupled via the four user-accessible SODIMM slots at the rear.


Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,000GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Screen size 27.0in


CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz


Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec


Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 2
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

Graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX
Graphics card RAM 2.00GB
DisplayPort outputs 1
Number of graphics cards 1


Optical drive DVD writer


Resolution screen horizontal 2,560
Resolution screen vertical 1,440
Resolution 2560 x 1440
Contrast ratio 949:1
Screen brightness 437cd/m2
DisplayPort inputs 1

Additional Peripherals

Speaker type Stereo


Chassis Bluetooth keyboard, Magic Mouse
Case format All-in-one
Dimensions 650 x 203 x 516mm (WDH)

Rear ports

Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 1

Front ports

Front panel memory card reader no

Operating system and software

OS family Mac OS X

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 87W
Peak power consumption 254W

Performance tests

Overall Real World Benchmark score 1.03
Responsiveness score 0.95
Media score 1.10
Multitasking score 1.05

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