Apple iMac 27in (Mid-2011) 2.7GHz Core i5 full review

Apple’s 27in iMac stands apart from all other all-in-ones. Peerless design and unbeaten build quality are matched with bleeding-edge technologies such as ThunderBolt interface connections and multi-touch mice control. Its massive 27in panel may be matched in size by Asus’s E2700INTS, but none come close in image quality or clarity. See also Group test: what's the best all-in-one PC?

Where all of the Windows-based PCs max out at 1920 by 1080 pixels, the iMac offers an amazing 2560 by 1440 pixel display. It also displays a wider range of colours, and displays them more accurately. Its Super-IPS panel technology providing ultra-wide viewing angles and delivers a level of quality good enough for professional graphic artists and photographers.

Latest (late 2012 models): Apple iMac 21.5-inch review and Apple iMac 27-inch review

The OS X Lion operating system, unique to Apple computers, makes widespread use of multi-touch gestures and comes pre-installed with a selection of superb applications enabling you to do most of what you need without requiring any additional software – whether it’s editing photos and video, managing appointments or creating your own music.

Inside, the core hardware is based on the same Intel processors and chipsets as a standard PC, although this particular iMac comes with one of the fastest processors of the group in the form of a quad-core Intel Core i5-2500S running at 2.7GHz. This has the ability to turbo up to 3.7GHz on a single core.

This level of performance is reflected in a WorldBench 6 score of 147 points – beaten only by Chillblast’s not-really-all-in-one Fusion Powerpack system. Better still, the CPU is complemented by an AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphic processor which out-guns any other GPU in this group test and delivers by far the best framerates for games.

Our tests were conducted under the Windows 7 operating system which can be easily installed using Apple’s Boot Camp app, although you’ll have to add the cost of Windows to the total price if you need to install it.

However, the iMac isn’t for everyone. Apple’s allergic reaction to Blu-ray leaves the iMac without the ability to play HD discs natively and the system doesn’t incorporate a touchscreen or USB 3.0 ports.