How good is the Apple iMac 2019 screen?
- Apple gives you the option of a 21.5-inch 4K iMac or a 27-inch 5K iMac display.
- The Apple iMac 2019 has a fantastic colour gamut range for sRGB, Adobe RGB and DCI-P3, making it a great display for photographers and video editors.
- There’s no touchscreen here, which will be a disappointment for graphic designers who want to sketch directly on the display.
Every PC aimed at creative professionals needs a quality display to accurately present images and photos, ensuring they look as close to reality as possible. The Apple iMac 2019 fulfils this requirement by offering a fantastic screen. It may not have changed since the 2017 model, but even back then its quality was at such a high standard that there was no need for the company to upgrade its offering.
You can decide between two Apple iMac 2019 displays: a 21.5-inch 4K offering, or the more pricey 27-inch 5K alternative. I had the latter in for testing, so bear in mind that all of our findings were gained from testing the most option expensive configuration.
- Not keen on the iMac? Here are more options in our Best Desktop PC 2019 list
For all of the display tests, we used the DisplayCal benchmark software and an X-rite i1Display Pro colorimeter and compared results to the closest competitor: the Surface Studio 2.
The white level refers to the max brightness of a screen. Honestly, it’s probably the least important feature for a monitor that spends most of its time indoors, but nevertheless handy if you really like to see your screen glow. The Apple iMac 2019 has one of the brightest displays I’ve seen, sporting a white level of 515.3 nits. It can’t quite compete with the impressive shiner found with the Microsoft Surface Studio 2 though, which sees a max brightness of 541.7 nits.
The black level determines how dark the blacks on-screen can get, giving extra detail and punch to images with little light. Lower is better with black levels, and the iMac hits the industry standard smack on with a result of 0.5 nits. The Surface Studio 2 slightly edges the iMac, though, with even better black levels of 0.45. That said, the difference is so little you’ll unlikely notice.
Contrast is the difference between bright and dark lighting, making objects stand out more and helping to provide a clearer image. A contrast ratio of 1000:1 is usually cited as the ideal figure, and iMac 2019 just about surpasses this with a result of 1009:1. Good enough to beat the Surface Studio 2? Not quite. Microsoft’s all-in-one desktop achieves a contrast ratio of 1205:1.
The colour temperature shows how accurately the display can replicate natural light, as quite often you’ll see blue or red lights bleed into the picture, making it appear colder or warmer. A figure of 6500K indicates pure daylight, so this is what manufacturers aim for. Our results show the iMac 2019 has a colour temperature of 6525K, which is almost perfect. The Surface Studio 2 isn’t far behind, however, with a colour temperature of 6368K.
The Apple iMac 2019 sees a superb colour gamut coverage for sRGB, Adobe RGB and DCI-P3. The first of these is important for design work and digital art. A figure of 100% is usually seen as the golden standard, so to see the iMac’s panel succeed this by a significant margin is an incredible feat.
Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 gamut coverage, meanwhile, are important for photography, helping images to look as realistic and visually striking as possible. Both the iMac figures here float around the 100% margin, which is the target for most monitor manufacturers.
For all three colour gamut coverage results, the Apple iMac 2019 sees superior figures compared to the Surface Studio 2, which suggests the former may well be better suited for professional creatives.
Screen uniformity refers to how even the display’s brightness is across its whole panel. Many screens, particularly LCD offerings, will see a drop in quality around the edges as a result of uneven backlight distribution. This is apparent with the Apple iMac 2019, despite it being an LED. That said, these results are still better than those achieved by the Surface Studio 2, which sees an even more significant drop in quality on the right side of the display.
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