Oh, iMac, I’ve missed you. I thought I could replace you with a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and 27-inch LG Ultrafine display. Actually, I did for seven months, but the entire experience just wasn’t as smooth. Plus, the Apple all-in-one’s display is so much more elegant than LG’s monitor.
The recent rev of the iMac with 5K Retina display is the company’s finest Mac ever. Use it and you may never be able to use any other computer again thanks to the spacious, gorgeous screen. Yes, I say this with every version upgrade of my favorite Mac — but it’s true.
The latest incarnation of Apple's all-in-one is, hands-down, the world's best desktop. Its performance — up to 50% faster than its predecessor — is beefy enough for all but the most demanding “power users.”
I have the high end model that comes with a 3.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, Radeon Pro 580 graphics card with 8GB of view memory, graphics and a 2TB Fusion Drive. However, I quadruped the standard amount of RAM (more on that in a moment). Performance is quiet and smooth with no lag even when I have seven apps running in the background as I edit a video in iMovie. Also, it feels substantially faster than my 2016 MacBook Pro (which is limited to 16GB of memory).
Of course, the big feature is the screen. The iMac comes with a 5,120-by-2,880-pixel display. If you thought the display was excellent before, this one is even better. The 2017 iMac’s screen is 43% brighter at 500 nits and supports one billion colors.
Text appears super sharp, videos are lifelike, and you can see incredible levels of detail in photos. For example, video editors can view a 4K (Ultra HD) video (3,840 by 2,160) at 100% while still having a boatload of pixels left over surrounding the video for media libraries, toolbars, and video timelines. And the iMac is a great machine for watching movies in my man cave when my wife and daughter have outvoted me and are watching a LifeTime movie in the living room.
Though Apple tells me that there’s no change in the 2017 iMac speakers, to me they sound more powerful. Volume seems louder and the bass has a lot of thump considering there’s no subwoofer. So far, I don’t feel the need to attach external speakers as the iMac sounds so good. This, of course, saves a lot of desk space.
Not surprisingly, two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports come standard on all iMac models; each delivers up to 40Gb/s data transfer for external drives and cameras and twice the bandwidth for video and display connectivity. However, unlike the controversial MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the latest all-in-one has four USB 3 ports — and one Gigabit Ethernet port — so there’s more options for connecting peripherals. The new all-in-ones also sport three-stream Wi‑Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology, as well as a SDSX card slot.
My biggest complaint is that the new iMac comes with a miserly 8GB of RAM, when 16GB should be standard. Oh well, it's easy to upgrade the memory, which, can be boosted to 64GB. You can pay Apple an arm and a leg to upgrade the RAM before shipping the iMac to you. Or you can order memory from MacSales and follow my installation video to save you some serious moolah.
The new iMacs come with a Magic Keyboard 2 and the Magic Mouse 2, which I like as they’re designed around a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. You can buy a Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad for an extra $129. Everyone won’t need this, but it’s a Mac accessory that’s long overdue. I also wish that Apple had released a Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar.
Hmmm. I do have one more complaint. I wish the “non-pro” iMacs were available in space grey as the iMac Pro will be when it arrives in December.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★