PROS / The iMac’s 5K display is stunning; you won’t find a sharper screen in an all-in-one computer.
CONS / Since the system uses Apple’s Thunderbolt 2 ports, you need adapters if you want to connect additional displays via HDMI.
VERDICT / With gorgeous design and blazing-fast internals, Apple’s iMac is the best all-in-one computer on the market.
Apple is known for its minimalistic approach to design, so it should come as no surprise that the iMac 27-inch all-in-one computer doesn't deviate from that approach. It's made from a single block of aluminum and sports a sleek, seemingly paper-thin design. The 5K display is positively gorgeous, the sixth-generation Intel processor is a beast, and there’s even a discrete graphics card under the hood. With a beautiful chassis and an intuitive operating system to top it all off, the iMac clearly deserves our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
The iMac doesn’t check all the boxes we looked for in all-in-one desktops, but what this computer gets right, it gets very right. The 27-inch screen is far superior to the 23- and 24-inch options offered by much of the competition, giving you significantly more screen real estate to play in. Even better, it features a 5K, 5120 x 2880 display resolution. The result is a computing interface that’s crystal clear, rich and vibrant.
Being an Apple product, the 27-inch iMac runs OS X El Capitan, the latest version of Apple’s proprietary software. OS X has a strong reputation for being both powerful and easy to use, so if you’re not comfortable with computers or are buying one for someone else, it’s often a safe bet.
For all the iMac’s plusses, the system is missing several features. There’s no Blu-ray or DVD drive, so if you want to watch movies, you have to either buy an external drive or stream from a service like Netflix or iTunes. There’s also no touchscreen, a feature found on every other all-in-one we reviewed. This is likely because while Windows 10 is designed to support touchscreens natively, OS X is not.
There are three variants of the 27-inch iMac available from Apple’s store. We reviewed the starter model, which comes with a sixth-generation Intel i5-6500 processor running at 3.2GHz and an AMD Radeon R9 M380 discrete graphics card – that is, a separate component dedicated to nothing but improving graphics performance. If that all sounds a bit technical, just know that the processor beats out seven of the other nine computers on our lineup and is more than capable of handling music and movie streaming, intense office work, and the occasional game.
If you’re explicitly looking for a good gaming system, it’s worth noting that even though the iMac has a discrete graphics card, it’s not a particularly high-end one, and Apple’s underlying architecture isn’t the best for many modern games. If you’re interested in some light gaming on the side, the iMac won’t disappoint, but if you want a dedicated video game machine, you’re better off with a Windows device.
Like every all-in-one we looked at for this comparison, the iMac has 8GB of memory and 1TB of storage space. Both of these are upgradable if you want to invest in a more powerful model.
All-in-one computers are great if you want to reduce the clutter of parts and cords on your desk, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want to plug in accessories or peripherals from time to time. The iMac has four USB 3.0 ports to do just that, as well as two Thunderbolt 2 ports for video output. There aren’t any standard HDMI ports on the back of the system, but Apple sells adapters that let you connect your HDMI-enabled TV or second monitor via Thunderbolt 2.
Of course, the iMac also comes standard with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for all your wireless needs, and it has an SD card reader for transferring data to and from a camera or smartphone.
Help & Support
Apple has long been recognized for its outstanding customer support. Our sister site Laptop Magazine thoroughly tests the technical support of all the major computer manufacturers each year, and in its most recent assessment, Apple rightfully came out on top. Its service team is dependably friendly, informed and able to answer almost any question you might throw their way.
A one-year warranty comes standard with every iMac, but you only receive 24/7 phone support for 90 days after purchase. If you want to extend the warranty for three years, you need to invest in AppleCare.
Apple packed a lot of power into a thin, attractive, powerful and streamlined machine. Its display is big and offers unmatched resolution, while its processor and graphics card can handle anything the average family might throw its way – except heavy gaming, that is. You’ll pay a premium for the Apple brand, build quality and customer service, but you’ll probably think it’s worth the money; the iMac is the best all-in-one computer you can buy right now.