Apple iMac 27in (2013) review

Apple's king-size iMac remains a formidable all-in-one, but the arrival of the Retina 5K model means that it's no longer our favourite

Bobby MacPherson
8 Oct 2015
Price when reviewed 

Looking for a review of the latest 27in iMac with Retina 5K? Then click here. 

After a ground-up redesign in 2012, 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.

Apple iMac 27in (2013): Specifications & performance

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.

Apple iMac 27in (2013)

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. Bear in mind, though, since the introduction of the 27in iMac with Retina 5K display, it's only possible to buy the model with the slower Nvidia GeForce GT 755M GPU – if gaming performance is a priority, you'd be advised to turn your attention to the newer Retina 5K model with its uprated AMD chip. 

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.

Apple iMac 27in (2013): Display quality and connectivity

The 27in, 2,560x 1,440 IPS display remains one of the best we've seen on an all-in-one, but, thanks to the arrival of the Retina 5K model, it's no longer got the wow factor it once had. That said, it still hits all the right notes. In tests with our X-Rite colorimeter, the results were similar to the model from 2012, 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.

Apple iMac 27in (2013)

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.

Apple iMac 27in (2013): Verdict

While Apple still sells the non-Retina 27in iMac, and it is £150 cheaper than its more pixel-packed cousin, it's now more than a little underwhelming. Frankly, given how much better the iMac with Retina 5K display is, we'd spend the extra in a flash - the upgraded display is worth much more than £150 on its own. Of course, if you can pick up the old 2013 model for a song, then it remains a superb all-in-one PC, but be under no illusions – it's simply not the do-it-all wunderkind it once was.

Price when reviewed 
1,909(£1591 exc VAT)


Warranty 1yr collect and return

Basic specifications

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


CPU family Intel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz


Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec


Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 2
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

3D performance setting Medium
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX7 75M
DisplayPort outputs 2


Resolution screen horizontal 2,560
Resolution screen vertical 1,440
Resolution 2560 x 1440
Contrast ratio 904:1
Screen brightness 407cd/m2
DisplayPort inputs 2


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

Operating system and software

OS family Mac OS X
Recovery method Recovery partition

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 42W
Peak power consumption 233W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 108fps
3D performance setting Medium
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.98
Responsiveness score 0.98
Media score 1.04
Multitasking score 0.92

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