Apple iMac with Retina 5K display all-in-one PC review

Apple has updated its iMac all-in-one PC with a new option for an ultra-high resolution display, four times that of earlier 27in models, and 16 times the original 720p HD format. Here's our new iMac with 5K Retina display review. Also see: Best all-in-one PCs 2014/2015 and all all-in-one PC reviews.

Apple’s latest iMac stands out for a number of reasons, but most obvious of all is its amazing 27in 5K display. With a screen 5120 pixels wide and 2880 pixels high, it offers the highest resolution of any display currently available and this feature alone makes the £1999 price tag seem more than reasonable.

Of course you get a lot more than just a cutting-edge Retina display with the new iMac all-in-one PC. Being an Apple product the build quality and ergonomics are second-to-none: it’s incredibly well made and almost impossibly slim. The system comes with OS X Yosemite installed, along with a large selection of bundled software you’ll only get from Apple, including Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X and Aperture.

However, there’s also a lot you won’t get from an Apple computer. There’s no built-in optical drive and no touch support. Apple has also disabled the ability to use this amazing display as an external monitor - even at lower resolutions. Placing all of the I/O ports at the rear is also a mild annoyance, but the price you must pay for having such a slim design.

We’ve tested the entry-level 5K iMac here, which includes an Intel Core i5-4690 quad core processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive, which uses fast solid-state storage to boost the performance of the storage subsystem. Unfortunately, this feature doesn’t work when running Windows, meaning our tests can’t show the kind of performance you’re likely to get under OS X. So, keep in mind that the iMac is actually even faster than our already impressive performance results show.

Under PCMark 8 the iMac is the fastest performer in the Home and Creative tests, with only Chillblast’s Volante AIO coming anywhere close. The Creative result is boosted by the built in AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor which also propels the iMac way ahead of the field in all out gaming tests. You may not think of the iMac as a gaming machine, but our results show it’s a clear winner - even if you do have to buy and install Windows to play most of the games.

The Retina display is not only amazingly sharp but it also delivers excellent colour, being the only display in this round-up able to fully display all the colours in the sRGB gamut. It also delivers by far the best contrast ratio and can go around twice as bright as any of the competition, which is great for watching movies in the daytime. The movies will also sound good, thanks to some powerful internal speakers.

See the next page for our original hands-on review by Andrew Harrison.