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
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.
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.
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.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Total hard disk capacity||1,000GB|
|CPU family||Intel Core i5|
|CPU nominal frequency||3.40GHz|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||2|
|Memory sockets total||4|
|3D performance setting||Medium|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GTX7 75M|
|Resolution screen horizontal||2,560|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,440|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440|
|Dimensions||650 x 203 x 516mm (WDH)|
|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|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||108fps|
|3D performance setting||Medium|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.98|