Apple iMac 27in (2013) review
A formidable all-in-one, with updated Haswell internals and new Nvidia graphics - at an even higher price
Review Date: 1 Nov 2013
Reviewed By: Bobby MacPherson
Price when reviewed: £1,591 (£1,909 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
After last year’s iMac redesign, Apple has stuck to the tried and tested in 2013. As such, this year’s new iMacs are little more than a refresh, sporting the same sumptuous exterior design as the 2012 models and a handful of upgrades.
The most obvious change is the inclusion of new Intel Haswell processors, but this isn’t as big a deal as you might think. Haswell’s prime attraction is energy-efficiency – there’s no big step up in raw performance – with the main beneficiaries being improved battery life for laptops and tablets.
Still, results from the 3.4GHz Core i5-4670 model were impressive. With the help of 8GB of RAM, it scored 0.98 in our Real World Benchmarks, which is comparable to the 3.4GHz Core i7 Ivy Bridge iMac we tested last year.
Accompanying the upgraded CPU is an updated 1TB Fusion Drive, with its 128GB SSD now connected via PCI Express rather than mSATA, and a similarly improved Nvidia GPU. This time it’s an Nvidia GeForce GTX 775M instead of the GTX 680MX, and it produced impressive average frame rates in our Crysis gaming benchmark, with 56fps at Full HD resolution and Very High quality settings.
As is the norm for Apple products, the iMac remains the most visually alluring all-in-one on the market. Its smooth, silver metal back is gently rounded and terminates in an ultra-thin, 5mm edge. It’s a triumph in minimalist design that extends to the beautifully crafted peripherals. Our review iMac came supplied with Apple’s Magic Mouse and the usual compact keyboard.
The mouse has lost none of its appeal – its touch surface is responsive and it feels reassuringly weighty in the hand. The keyboard’s keys are still a little bunched up for our taste, but they yield well with just enough resistance to make touch-typing a comfortable experience.
The star of the show remains that beautiful 27in, 2,560x 1,440 IPS display. We’re surprised Apple has resisted opting for Retina once again, but it’s still a stunner. In tests with our X-Rite colorimeter, the results were similar to last year’s model, with superb colour accuracy (an average Delta E of 1.8 is exemplary for an all-in-one PC), a contrast ratio of 904:1 and a top brightness of 407cd/m2.
Everything else is as you’d expect. For wireless and wired connectivity, there’s dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, four USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt ports (which double as DisplayPort outputs), Gigabit Ethernet and a 3.5mm audio jack. The latter provides both analogue and optical digital output.
As with last year’s model, there are four user-accessible SODIMM slots that sit below a small flap on the rear, giving you the option of potentially quadrupling the RAM.
As an annual update, this year’s iMac 27in looks a little underwhelming. It’s also more expensive than before, with the base Core i5 model costing a significant £100 more than last year’s unit; if you want a Core i7, it will cost you £79 more for the base-level machine. So while it remains the most accomplished, desirable all-in-one desktop machine on the market, you’ll need deeper pockets than ever to afford one.
Author: Bobby MacPherson
Memo to photography department.
Next time can you please photograph these devices in a use configuration i.e. with at least a power and network cable in place? Apple's design looks great photographed as a 'fetish' object, but the a lot less good in practical use. For £2000 they ought to be able to figure a way of having the cable connectors concealed in the base.
By JohnAHind on 1 Nov 2013
Plus of course ...
keyboard and mouse USB cables or a dongle for wireless desktop devices.
By JohnAHind on 1 Nov 2013
minus the wireless dongle
would seem a bit pointless as it has wireless built in...
By sihaz2 on 1 Nov 2013
It's easy enough to route the power and network cable through the hole in the stand and into the sockets so it is not visible from the front.
As has been said, standard config is supplied with wireless mouse and keyboard too.
By ajf350d on 1 Nov 2013
The dongles aren't necessary as both the supplied wireless keyboard and the mouse / magic trackpad use Bluetooth which is fully integrated to the system.
Assuming you opt for the wireless devices, technically the only thing you need to plug in to the back to make it work is the power cable which routes tidily through the stand into the back of the computer.
By hjlupton on 1 Nov 2013
4 out of 6 for value for money after the author pends paragraphs talking about how pricey it is.....
Could get a Lenovo all in one, with touchscreen for £1299+ similarly specced.
Personally, not sure about all the hoo-haa about he curved back.It's actually wider than the previous flat back model at its widest point, so to me is a bit more limiting.
By TigerUnleashed on 1 Nov 2013
I'm going to get mine with an SSD boot drive, 2 x 2 terabyte hard drives and an internal Blu-ray drive. Just like my 5 year old PC has.
What do you mean, I can't.....?
By Alfresco on 1 Nov 2013
The fact that you want a touchscreen desktop removes all credibility from your comments.
By BliksemPiet on 1 Nov 2013
So you can manage with WiFi, Bluetooth and just a power cable, but presumably all those hi-tech ports are actually supposed to be used? And if the mains cable looks OK, why not do the photographs with it in place? A lot of effort has gone into making this a sculptural object that looks good from all angles, but that is only true if it is not actually in practical use! Reminds me of Erno Goldfinger's architecture - looks great as long as you do not actually let anyone live in it!
By JohnAHind on 1 Nov 2013
Yes, but if Apple told you that you wanted a touchscreen desktop, you'd just love it!
By Steve_Adey on 1 Nov 2013
What are you talking about? I just went through 4 other computer reviews trying to find your comments about those ones not being plugged in to the mains in their pictures (take a look, not one shows a power lead) but you hadn't commented. Why did you pick on an Apple? Oh because you cannot afford one and feel the need to put down people that can... I get it
By TimoGunt on 2 Nov 2013
Really? I'm afriad a comment like yours shows you up to being a narrow-minded fool. How you could possible know that I don't use a touchscreen efficiently in my work really is a miracle of nature. You should get your own show in Ch5. FYI, I used a touchscreen in the banking world back in the eighties. NCR Made them I believe. I'd bore you on the applications that a desktop touchscreen is useful for but I don't believe you'd be able to read a paragraph that long. Stupidest comment ever on PCPro.
By TigerUnleashed on 2 Nov 2013
I had a look for this Lenovo but the best I could find was £1500 but it did have a cheaper graphics card, less Ram and a lesser hard drive. However it's not a bad PC. They do say you pay another £100 for the Apple Badge and against the Lenovo that may well be the case
By TimoGunt on 2 Nov 2013
Can't you Apple Fan Boyz take a compliment? Most monitors/all in ones are so butt ugly (certainly from the back) it does not make any difference whether the cables are plugged in or not. Apple's design is worth commenting precisely because they set such I high standard.
I'm the guy who has an Apple keyboard on his PC despite having to write his own key mapping and live life as a C++ programmer without a # key!
By JohnAHind on 2 Nov 2013
Haha nice turn around but I think you were putting down the computer as a 'fetish' object and the cost warrants a better design and that it won't be as pretty when being used.
Strictly speaking I'm not an Apple fanboy, boy is quite far off the mark. I'm a C# programmer and use Windows computers most of my life. You beat me on the language front. However using iPads and iPhones is a joy that I've not found on Android or Windows devices so in that respect I'm a fan. I just don't like the hate campaign against Apple that happens on this website. It's silly
By TimoGunt on 2 Nov 2013
The near identical 2011 models are a great second hand buy. Just as good as this one and a lot cheaper. It is a shame Apple has only managed to make them thinner in the past two years.
By tirons1 on 3 Nov 2013
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