Stunning to look at and stunning to use, the 27-inch iMac wins accolades as the best all-in-one desktop computer on the planet. You might be equally stunned when you look at the price tag, especially for an upgraded system, but most say you at least get what you pay for.
Only slightly better than its excellent predecessor. The late 2013 update for the 27-inch Apple iMac was relatively modest. The most significant change was a jump to 4th generation Intel processors and the small performance boost that provides (experts say that 4th generation processors make a bigger difference in laptops where their power-saving features stretch battery life to unheard-of lengths). That means that the 27-inch iMac remains one of the better-performing all-in-one desktop computers you can buy. The 27-inch screen is non-touch, but boasts a beautiful 2560-by-1440-pixel resolution. The base configuration includes a 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of memory, a 1 TB hard drive, and Nvidia GeForce GT 755M graphics with 1 GB of memory.
Upgrade options for the base iMac are limited at purchase and virtually impossible afterwards -- only the memory can be accessed. If that's a concern, look to the step-up version (Est. $2,000 and up). Improvements are minimal -- just a slightly faster Core i5 processor and better graphics (Nvidia GeForce GTX 775M with 2 GB of memory). However, it offers a far wider roster of available upgrades (at purchase since, again, nothing aside from memory is upgradable afterwards). Options not offered on the base 27-inch iMac include a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor (Est. $200) and Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M graphics with 4 GB of graphics memory (Est. $150).
As stunning as ever. When it comes to design elements and usability, Apple decided to leave well enough alone. That means that the current iMac is every bit as beautiful as its very-admired predecessor. At first glance the computer looks impossibly thin, and it measures just 5 mm at its edge. There is a bit of a bump at the back, however (to house the computer part of the iMac, of course).
Fit and finish are all first-rate. The port selection is good, with the notable omission being the lack of HDMI support. Everything is on the rear of the system, and the lineup includes four USB ports, two Thunderbolt ports, an Ethernet jack, a headphone jack and an SDXC card reader. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built in, and the latter has been upgraded to support the 802.11 a/c standard. A wireless keyboard and mouse are included. What's missing (still) is any kind of optical drive.
Top-notch despite short telephone support. Apple rises to the top of the heap in most satisfaction surveys. The free telephone tech support is limited to 90 days. You do have access to the Genius Bars available in Apple Stores if one is nearby, though that's not as attractive an option with a desktop as it would be with a laptop or tablet. The full warranty is for one year. Extended-care warranties are available, but are considered to be pricey.
Windows competition heats up. Loaded up to the max, the 27-inch iMac becomes a very expensive all-in-one. However, it is also a well-built and stunning-looking powerhouse that can handle everything short of high-end gaming at maximum settings. If an Apple system is not a must, for a little less the very well-regarded Dell XPS 27 Touch (Est. $1,600 and up) offers as much, or more. Offsetting that is Apple's stellar customer satisfaction record; Dell is a middle-of-the-road or worse performer in that regard.
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PCMag.com looks at the step-up version of the 27-inch Apple iMac and is impressed enough to grant it an Editors' Choice award. Joel Santo Domingo compares the all-in-one to the Dell XPS 27 Touch (Est. $1,600 and up) and gives it the edge.
Review: Apple iMac 27-inch (Intel Core i5-4670), Joel Santo Domingo, Sept. 27, 2013
CNET says that while owners of the previous generation iMac need not upgrade, those with older machines or buying their first system will find the new iMac a compelling choice. Dan Ackerman says that the updates don't change the experience of using an iMac, but do take an already excellent desktop computer and bring it completely up-to-date.
Review: Apple iMac (27-inch, September 2013) Review: New Processors and Faster Wi-Fi for Apple's Slim Desktop, Dan Ackerman, Updated March 7, 2014
The headline of this review neatly sums up the opinion of Macworld's James Galbraith. All four of the base versions of the current iMac line, including the Apple iMac 21-inch (Est. $1,300 and up), are tested and compared to each other and their predecessors.
Review: Late 2013 iMac Review: Faster Than Before, but the Gains over Previous Models Are Modest, James Galbraith, Jan. 16, 2014
ConsumerReports.org tests the latest version of the Apple iMac 27-inch. Ratings are provided and the all-in-one is ranked next to competing and comparable systems. Discussion is brief, but covers most important points.
Review: Apple iMac 27-inch ME088LL/A w/Fusion Drive, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
HotHardware.com looks at the base configuration of the 27-inch iMac and comes away mostly impressed. "The late 2013 edition iMac is an easy recommendation provided you're willing to spend a premium for a machine that looks as well as it performs, and are interested in OS X," Paul Lilly says. He does add that Windows users can find more affordable all-in-ones, however.
Review: Apple 27-Inch iMac (Late 2013) Review, Haswell Inside, Paul Lilly, Oct. 28, 2013
More than 280 owners post reviews of the base version Apple iMac 27-inch, and most are very happy -- as evidenced by the all-in-one's 4.8 rating. Just five users give the all-in-one less than a 4-star rating and 96 percent say they would recommend it to a friend.
Review: Apple - 27" iMac - 8GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of April 2014
Amazon.com lumps all sizes (21- and 27-inch) and configurations of the Apple iMac together, so it's a bit hard to get a handle on how well the 27-inch iMac stands up. Still, as the 4.3-star rating attests, most users are pleased with their iMac regardless of its size and power.
Review: Apple iMac ME089LL/A 27-Inch Desktop (Newest Version), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014