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iMac 27-inch (2013) review

Andy Vandervell



Our Score


User Score


  • Awesome design and build quality
  • Very cool and quiet
  • Plays games decently
  • Convenience
  • Great screen


  • Mediocre webcam
  • Default colour settings not great
  • Price

Review Price £1,599.00

Key Features: 27-inch, 2560 x 1440 IPS screen; New Intel Haswell processors; Faster Fusion Drive with PCI-e flash; 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Manufacturer: Apple

What is the Apple iMac 27-inch (2013)?

Apple's iMac range needs little introduction. The first iMac was the beginning of a new era for Apple and it remains one of its most iconic products. These days it comes in 21.5-inch and 27-inch versions, and it's the 2013 iMac update of the latter we're looking at today. The 27-inch versions are really for power users. Prices start at £1,599 and rise exponentially depending on the options. After last year's breathtaking new design, however, the 2013 update deals with the insides only, with new Intel Haswell processors, updated graphics and faster flash memory being the key upgrades.

SEE ALSO: Best Windows 8 laptops and PCs

Apple iMac 27-inch (2013): Video Review

Get a quick snapshot of our comprehensive review with our video review:

Apple iMac 27-inch (2013): Design & Features

We won't dwell too much on the design because: one, it hasn't changed; and two, it speaks for itself. The slim body, flawless aluminium finish and effortlessly smooth hinge talk both to its beauty and its quality. The most controversial issue is the lack of any optical drive, but this is 2013 and we've got quite used to this now. Any holdouts may want to stick with what they've got, or buy an external drive if needed.

Elsewhere the features are typical of Apple, minimal but just enough for the great majority of people. There are four USB ports, two Thunderbolt ports (which double as mini-Display Port outputs), an SD card slot, Gigabit Ethernet and a single combination audio in/out jack. Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi round-up the connectivity such as it is, the latter being a small upgrade on the Apple iMac 27-inch (2012) model.

Those two Thunderbolt ports are pretty important, partly because you can daisy chain numerous peripherals on the same port, partly because of Thunderbolt's breathtaking speed (double USB 3.0 in 'theoretical' terms), but mainly because they mean you could drive two further monitors at up to 2,560 x 1,600 - a prospect so tantalising our inner geek is doing somersaults at the very idea.

Sticking to more grounded items, our particular 2013 iMac came with a small standard keyboard and the Magic Mouse. The former is an excellent keyboard and there's the option for a large one with a numeric keypad at no extra cost. The latter, however, is a mixed affair. It's a reasonable compromise for anyone who can't countenance the idea of using a trackpad, but we strongly prefer (and recommend) the Magic Trackpad (a wireless version of a MacBook trackpad) instead. It costs no more and works seamlessly with the various gestures supported in Mac OS.

Apple iMac 27-inch (2013): Screen Quality

The size of the 27-inch iMac means the screen is the first thing most people notice. Its 2,560 x 1,440 resolution is very high, not 'retina' high but that's not a realistic expectation with a screen this size as making it 'retina' would be extortionately expensive. It might happen in future, but not right now.

As with our monitor reviews, we broke out our Xrite i1 Display Pro 2 to get an idea of how the screen measures up. The result is very good, albeit with one small caveat.

The default colour temperature of our review sample was 6,730K, which is only a little off the 6,500K benchmark (nothing a little tuning can't fix) and the contrast ratio 1147:1 is among the best we've seen lately - only the 3,200:1 BenQ GW2760HS (a VA-based monitor) has recorded much above 1,000:1 in our recent testing.

The peak brightness is a retina burning 337 nits, while a DeltaE (a measurement of colour accuracy) of 2.13 is good. We wouldn't qualify these as 'professional' level results, but then the glossy finish rules out genuine professional use (by which we mean absolute colour critical work) from the outset. But for a consumer monitor it's very good and many regular professionals should find it ample for their needs.

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The 'consumer' focus brings us to the caveat, which is that default colour profile crushes blacks a little too much for our liking in favour of producing a 'contrasty' appearance. This means you lose details in dark scenes of HD video, the kind of details we want to see. Some will prefer this look, perhaps, but if you'd rather see all the detail available there's a simple fix: just select the Adobe RGB (1998) profile in the 'Color' control menu. It restores the detail and still maintains decent black levels.

Finally, while the glass front means this isn't a true professional class screen, reflections aren't anything like as bad as you'd expect. This is largely down to changes introduced last year, namely an improved coating and tighter air gap, but the result is impressive. The excellent peak brightness helps here, too, and means we didn't have serious problems in a brightly lit office environment.

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October 15, 2013, 6:58 pm

fantastic machine.


October 17, 2013, 12:17 pm

Can you review Overclockers UK and Scan.co.uk desktop computers in the £2000 to £2500 range, especially the noise dampened ones with 32GB ram?


February 1, 2014, 12:35 am

I cant believe Trusted Reviews fails in mentioning the iMacs appalling screen image retention problem which is extremely widespread among all 27"models. A quick search in google and youTube for "Imac image retention" returns thousands of images testimonials and videos of users reporting this shocking problem on ALL iMacs (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 models). This is a serious problem which should have been noted in this review but has been completely omitted either by incompetence of the reviewer, or lack of proper research. Its reviews like this which bamboozles customers into buying faulty products.

Peter Wolf

March 1, 2014, 1:15 pm

Well, I don't think your words are entirely true - while there is a number of reports regarding 'ghosting' or 'image retention', esp. on 27-inchers, it is not "extremely widespread" as you claim. I got my iMac the other day (the same spec as reviewed above) and it has an LG display, marked as the culprit vs the Samsung ones, and this issue is not present. I'm not saying it's a pleasant experience to pay 2-3k for a machine and encounter this issue, but it's not like every other iMac is plagued with it. I have no doubt Apple smartened up LG about it in the meantime, since class action suit was in the works a year or so ago by the angry owners. Back to the article at hand: if the test machine was ok, how would trustedreviews go about spreading stories that might not be true any more at the time of writing?

Also, my CTO iMac is joy to use, the only complaint about the 27" screen atm is that I have to accommodate my eyes to the canvas size and smaller elements :), otherwise it's supersonically fast.

Ron Tyler / AFP-HD Tyler,TExas

March 24, 2014, 3:28 am

I don't have that ghosting problem with my iMac either. It is a pleasure to do HD video editing on everyday! I am in the process in ordering two more iMacs for my video production company!


April 4, 2014, 9:20 pm

I too purchased a 27" i Mac about 3 months ago, as a matter of fact it was a refurbished model since I wanted it loaded to the max and did not want to pay the max . Have had no image retention issues at all. While this may have been a problem at one time, it appears to have been fixed.

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