Apple 5K Retina iMac review: Totally worth the upgrade

Stefan Vazharov
Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov

From Digital Spy

Revealed alongside the updated iPad Pro during this year's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, the new iMac all-in-one desktops are a thoroughly refreshed hardware option, headlined by a 21.5-inch 4K display option, or the rather humongous 27-inch 5K screen like the one we tested.

At a quick glance, the new 27-inch iMac looks a) enormous and b) just like the model it replaces. It has a sleek, exceptionally well-crafted metal body with 5-millimetre edges, and a highly adjustable stand with a nicely compact footprint.

However, you're probably not going to care about it much, because your attention will be entirely focused on the all-new, stunning 5K Retina display that the new iMac packs.

iMac 2017: 5K Retina is a humdinger of a display

At 5,120 x 2,880 pixels, the 27-inch 5K Retina display of the new iMac is the sharpest in its class. The panel also supports the P3 colour space, which results in incredibly accurate colour reproduction that's great for graphic design work.

To top things off, the panel delivers up to a whopping 500 nits of brightness, ensuring you can enjoy all of its amazing qualities even in spaces with bright lighting.

It's an absolute visual treat, which makes even the most mundane computing task look and feel like a special occasion. Whether you're looking to use the iMac for work or at home, that screen alone makes the all-in-one desktop worth buying.

iMac 2017: What hardware exactly is under the hood

Apple offers the 27-inch iMac with an array of quad-core, seventh-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. The user-upgradeable RAM options are also abundant - they range from a standard 8GB, through 16GB and 32GB, and all the way to a power-user-friendly 64GB. Upgrading to the last one, however, will cost you a cool £1,260 alone.

The graphics chip options on the 27-inch iMac are all made by AMD. They include a Radeon Pro 570 and Radeon Pro 575 with 4GB of memory, and a more powerful Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of memory. The last one is capable of powering a high-end VR headset, plus handling heavy-duty image and video processing.

As far as storage options go, you can choose between a Fusion Drive – which combines a conventional hard drive with a small solid-state drive – or an ultra-fast SSD. By default, the iMac comes equipped with a 1TB Fusion Drive.

iMac 2017: Get yourself connected

Located on the back, the wired connectivity options include a quartet of USB 3.0 ports, two USB-C ports with ultra-fast Thunderbolt 3 support, an SD card slot and an Ethernet cable connector. The Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to connect two 4K monitors seamlessly to the desktop, or an addition 5K display. A standard audio jack is also located there (not to be taken for granted anymore!).

The wireless connectivity features include speedy Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2. A FaceTime HD camera, a microphone and stereo speakers are also on board.

Every iMac comes bundled with Apple's excellent Magic Keyboard, as well as a wireless Magic Mouse 2. There's the option to upgrade to the Magic Trackpad 2 for an extra £50, and we highly recommend that you do so, as it's much better suited for working with macOS.

iMac 2017: Power and performance you would expect

We tested an entry-level iMac with Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and Radeon Pro 570 graphics chip. Even in its base configuration, we found the 27-inch all-in-one desktop to be an excellent performer on most occasions.

The iMac is capable of editing large photos and running multiple browser tabs, as well as productivity software, all while streaming your favourite tunes. Combined with the quad-core Core i5 processor, the Radeon graphics chip ensured that everything ran smoothly on the millions of pixels of the Retina display.

Overall, it will deliver all the processing power most home users out there will ever need. More demanding professionals can spec up the desktop and make it a productivity monster, for a price.

iMac 2017: The verdict

The 27-inch iMac is the best all-in-one desktop computer in its class. Its stunning 5K Retina display alone pleads with the price tag. The excellent performance and the abundance of quality hardware options make the desktop's case even stronger, and louder.

We wish that the screen bezels of the desktop were smaller, though you really won't care about them much because of the gorgeous display in front of you. We also wish that Apple offered the desktop with 16GB of RAM out of the box, but at least you have the opportunity to upgrade it yourself if your wallet will allow.

The entry-level 27-inch iMac with Intel Core i5 and 8GB of RAM is priced at £1,749, a sizeable chunk for a computer but a fair price for a high-end all-in-one desktop.

That said, we'd highly recommend you upgrade your RAM to 16GB (£180), as well as potentially opt for an Intel Core i7 (another £180). If you get carried away, a fully loaded productivity monster with Intel Core i7, 64 GB of RAM, and a 2 TB SSD will cost you just shy of £5,000.

You certainly can't say you're lacking options.

Buy Apple 27-inch iMac 2017

Photos by Stefan Vazharov

You Might Also Like

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes