iMac 27" 5k Review

CaptRB

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 11, 2016
884
878
LA, California
I recently received my new iMac 27"

Specs are as follows:

5K i7 4.2GHz/580/512SSD/24GB RAM 2TB T3 SSD and Dell P2715Q 4K

Primary usage includes writing, professional photography for catalogue and web presentation and some light video work.

I spec'd out the system to an i7 because virtually every pro shooter I know told me to stay away from the i5 and not to worry about drives, which could be updated. I initially chose the FD 2TB drive, but a memory failure on that machine resulted in Apple shipping me this new unit with the 512 SSD at no charge.

OVERALL
I love this system. The i7 is noticeably quicker than the new i5 (my son's machine). The screen is beautiful. Apple continues with the crummy magic keyboard which somehow is STILL not backlit, so I use the excellent Logitech unit which is vastly better and backlit. It also connects to three systems with a press of a button. Running photoshop with various plug-ins I able to load up a huge amount of RAW Nikon or Canon files and batch process with ease. Everything happens very quickly and there's little to complain about. If you're a photographer, picking up a good card reader is essential.

5K DISPLAY
It's a beautiful display, but really no better than the 450 dollar 4K P2715Q right next to it. The Apple display seems to have a slight advantage in dynamic range via better control of highlights. But the Dell does a bit better with shadow details. Pixel density at 27" is high on both monitors so it's tough to see much (if any difference). The matte finish display of the Dell is superior to the highly reflective Apple display when it comes to video/photography. With the right room lighting either monitor is up to pretty much any task. The Dell is a superior product in the end because of the matte display. The Dell also rotates to portrait mode and has a FAR more adjustable and stable stand.

SSD VS. FUSION & i7 VS. i5
I had the 2TB fusion. In the next room is the same unit with the 1TB Fusion. All of these are fast machines once you add some RAM. The SSD version that I'm reviewing brings up programs and files a bit faster, but I don't see it making a huge difference in most workflows. Obviously there will be some situations where the SSD will be MUCH better. But listen to folks at a few of the top Hollywood post production houses (and in NY too!). Get the i7. Don't get a far slower processor to get the SSD because you can add the SSD later on. If there's ever going to be a bottle-neck, choose a machine where this can be addressed with a fairly easy upgrade. Start with the i7, add RAM, maybe an external T5 SSD and later on, if you need it, swap out the FD for a nice SSD.

SOUND
The sound of the iMac isn't terrible, but you already know that it's best to go with some external speakers. I use the HK sound sticks, but they're barely acceptable. You can spend thousands on a good computer sound system, so good luck.

MAGIC MOUSE/KEYBOARD
Boy, is this thing long in the tooth. Microsoft has some far better alternatives. My son stole mine, so I'm about to order something better. The best use for the Magic Mouse is with my MacBook Air as it's a very slim mouse and easy to carry around. As for the keyboard...no thanks! An illuminated keyboard is a must and I have it with the Logitech K811 Apple keyboard, which also controls my Air if want.

FINALLY
So this is the setup that replaced my new MBP with the awful defective keyboards. The Air will suffice for work on the go and this desktop is a monstrously powerful system that should last quite a while. There's not much to complain about...but I'm always looking! ;-)

20170919_132334_resized.jpg


Cheers,



R.
 
Last edited:

CE3

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2014
1,398
2,223
Thanks for the review!

RE: Magic Mouse & Keyboard: I had never used either until I got an iMac. I absolutely love the magic keyboard. It's the best typing experience I've had in a long time. I agree that a backlit option would be nice though. The magic mouse is another story. It's too small for me and went back in the box.
 

CaptRB

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 11, 2016
884
878
LA, California
The Apple Magic Keyboard is fine, but it needs to be improved and LIT. After using laptops I really hate keyboards that don't have a backlight.

I'm using the Logitech unit pictured below. Even with the backlight (which can be adjusted) the battery lasts a LONG time and charges fast. It has 3 USER buttons so I can use it with my iMac, Air or iPad. It has the same footprint as the Apple unit and has all of the same Apple keys. It has a bit more key travel, but most will adapt fast.

There is also a version for PC's.

20170919_153512_resized.jpg




R.
 

colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
789
253
Colorado
The Apple Magic Keyboard is fine, but it needs to be improved and LIT. After using laptops I really hate keyboards that don't have a backlight.

I'm using the Logitech unit pictured below. Even with the backlight (which can be adjusted) the battery lasts a LONG time and charges fast. It has 3 USER buttons so I can use it with my iMac, Air or iPad. It has the same footprint as the Apple unit and has all of the same Apple keys. It has a bit more key travel, but most will adapt fast.

There is also a version for PC's.

View attachment 719099



R.
The Logitech K811 is awesome. I have one and love it!
 

Starfia

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2011
607
314
I am a definite keyboard connoisseur, I've discovered – occasionally eBaying and buying new ones last decade until companies started converging on what I consider ideal ones. The Logitech K810 was the first one that felt nearly ideal – unfortunately it turned out to be a common issue for the down arrow key to lose functionality due to wear over time. But anyway, yes – it deserves to be hijacking this thread a little. ^ _ ^

Since then I've hopped around and currently use the wonderful SteelSeries Apex M800, despite not gaming much on the Mac; but macros and custom lighting schemes on a per-app basis are incredibly cool and useful.

Let's just see whether the iMac Pro launches with an optional backlit black keyboard with Touch Bar, mm? Mmmm? That's all I could think might restore said temptation-indicating bead of sweat which I think the M800 allayed.
 

Foxglove9

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2006
1,565
162
New York City
I guess I'm in the minority of people who hate the K811 Keyboard. One of my least favorite keyboards I've owned and I go back to the Atari 800 computer. For some reason I was constantly mistyping and missing keystrokes. I'm not sure if the spacing is different than what I was used too coming from a 1st Gen Magic Keyboard. Also a few keys would not register or stick if not pressed dead center. The lighted keys I always turn off, never felt a need to use it. It does have fantastic battery life, and looks beautiful. I like the ability to easily switch to different devices.

I have 2 other Logitech keyboards I currently use for my PC and iPad, and those are fine. For the iMac I loved the Magic Keyboard and so far the Magic 2 Keyboard (extended) is just as great.
 

zipur

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2011
583
73
The great state of Texas
I want to add my vote for the K811 and the must have device currently on the market. The ability to switch to three device quickly, battery life, back light, size, tilt and feel. I am so happy I took earlier suggestions and picked one up.
I'm a telecommuter so being able to dump a keyboard from my desktop for to computers plus still having ability to quickly jump on my IPAD when needed. --- K811 is a great all around tool.
 
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Solomani

macrumors 68040
Sep 25, 2012
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Alberto, Canado
I guess I'm in the minority of people who hate the K811 Keyboard. One of my least favorite keyboards I've owned and I go back to the Atari 800 computer. For some reason I was constantly mistyping and missing keystrokes. I'm not sure if the spacing is different than what I was used too coming from a 1st Gen Magic Keyboard. Also a few keys would not register or stick if not pressed dead center. The lighted keys I always turn off, never felt a need to use it. It does have fantastic battery life, and looks beautiful. I like the ability to easily switch to different devices.

I have 2 other Logitech keyboards I currently use for my PC and iPad, and those are fine. For the iMac I loved the Magic Keyboard and so far the Magic 2 Keyboard (extended) is just as great.
I also am using and like the (new for 2017) Magic Keyboard with Numeric Pad, this is the new extended version of the wireless Magic Keyboard. It's perfect for me as far as key placement and feel. Sure it would be nice if it were backlit, but I suppose that's not too important for me as my vision is fine, I use my iMac in a well illuminated environment. And best of all…. at least 2 companies already sell "Thin Skins" (ultra thin, clear, silicone keyboard covers) for this new magic keyboard model. I have been using the thin silicone keyboard covers since the 1990s!
forito skin.jpg


However, I do miss having the one useful USB port that was present in my older wired USB Magic Keyboard.
 
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klatox

macrumors regular
Dec 24, 2015
105
91
I agree that Apple really needs to update the Magic Keyboard with backlighting. The Magic Mouse is also good for basic stuff and the gestures are cool, but it's not comfortable at all.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,033
2,714
I also am using and like the (new for 2017) Magic Keyboard with Numeric Pad, this is the new extended version of the wireless Magic Keyboard. It's perfect for me as far as key placement and feel.
I got that and thought it was OK - but I've actually gone back to my old aluminium wired keyboard with numeric pad because the feel is just nicer & the angle better (although the new version is still, apparently, 'scissor' mechanism rather than the new MBP 'butterfly' style, they've still - and quite unnecessarily - significantly reduced the height/travel of the keys). Also, as you say, the wired keyboard doubles as a desk-level USB hub, and I've still got plenty of USB2 devices that benefit.

The new Magic Trackpad is great, though - its well worth considering getting that at a reduced price in place of the Tragic Mouse. I have a Logitech MX Master that I use for a few things like graphics and games for which the mouse is still king, but I'm using the trackpad for most general use.

I agree that Apple really needs to update the Magic Keyboard with backlighting.
Well, you either like computing in the dark or you don't. Personally, I prefer doing it with the lights on.
 

J.Gallardo

macrumors 6502
Apr 4, 2017
264
54
Spain
I recently received my new iMac 27"

Specs are as follows:

5K i7 4.2GHz/580/512SSD/24GB RAM 2TB T3 SSD and Dell P2715Q 4K

Primary usage includes writing, professional photography for catalogue and web presentation and some light video work.

I spec'd out the system to an i7 because virtually every pro shooter I know told me to stay away from the i5 and not to worry about drives, which could be updated. I initially chose the FD 2TB drive, but a memory failure on that machine resulted in Apple shipping me this new unit with the 512 SSD at no charge.

OVERALL
I love this system. The i7 is noticeably quicker than the new i5 (my son's machine). The screen is beautiful. Apple continues with the crummy magic keyboard which somehow is STILL not backlit, so I use the excellent Logitech unit which is vastly better and backlit. It also connects to three systems with a press of a button. Running photoshop with various plug-ins I able to load up a huge amount of RAW Nikon or Canon files and batch process with ease. Everything happens very quickly and there's little to complain about. If you're a photographer, picking up a good card reader is essential.

5K DISPLAY
It's a beautiful display, but really no better than the 450 dollar 4K P2715Q right next to it. The Apple display seems to have a slight advantage in dynamic range via better control of highlights. But the Dell does a bit better with shadow details. Pixel density at 27" is high on both monitors so it's tough to see much (if any difference). The matte finish display of the Dell is superior to the highly reflective Apple display when it comes to video/photography. With the right room lighting either monitor is up to pretty much any task. The Dell is a superior product in the end because of the matte display. The Dell also rotates to portrait mode and has a FAR more adjustable and stable stand.

SSD VS. FUSION & i7 VS. i5
I had the 2TB fusion. In the next room is the same unit with the 1TB Fusion. All of these are fast machines once you add some RAM. The SSD version that I'm reviewing brings up programs and files a bit faster, but I don't see it making a huge difference in most workflows. Obviously there will be some situations where the SSD will be MUCH better. But listen to folks at a few of the top Hollywood post production houses (and in NY too!). Get the i7. Don't get a far slower processor to get the SSD because you can add the SSD later on. If there's ever going to be a bottle-neck, choose a machine where this can be addressed with a fairly easy upgrade. Start with the i7, add RAM, maybe an external T5 SSD and later on, if you need it, swap out the FD for a nice SSD.

SOUND
The sound of the iMac isn't terrible, but you already know that it's best to go with some external speakers. I use the HK sound sticks, but they're barely acceptable. You can spend thousands on a good computer sound system, so good luck.

MAGIC MOUSE/KEYBOARD
Boy, is this thing long in the tooth. Microsoft has some far better alternatives. My son stole mine, so I'm about to order something better. The best use for the Magic Mouse is with my MacBook Air as it's a very slim mouse and easy to carry around. As for the keyboard...no thanks! An illuminated keyboard is a must and I have it with the Logitech K811 Apple keyboard, which also controls my Air if want.

FINALLY
So this is the setup that replaced my new MBP with the awful defective keyboards. The Air will suffice for work on the go and this desktop is a monstrously powerful system that should last quite a while. There's not much to complain about...but I'm always looking! ;-)

View attachment 719073

Cheers,



R.
Nice report.
Very informative,
BUT:
after some research (and thinking in the beginning to get a fusion disk) I’ve come to realize the native Apple SSD is the way to go. It’s an insanely fast pcie ssd disk, only made by Apple. It’s got special connectors, so it’s impossible at this time to upgrade from fusion to a such a fast disk. Of course, you could install an internal standard ssd, but speed (being fast) will be 25% of native internal ssd.
Just take in consideration (perhaps some video & image pros aren’t aware of this).
I’m considering getting even a modest 256Gb one, and use Thunderbolt ports with external ssd’s as needed (they will be as fast as internal upgraded ssd, without the hassle).
 

Solomani

macrumors 68040
Sep 25, 2012
3,702
6,180
Alberto, Canado
Manufacturer's names? Who sells them please? I haven't seen them around for a while.
Here is the one I just ordered from Amazon not too long ago. The brand is called Forito. Please note I am linking to the product on the Amazon USA store, I take it you are in Australia.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0721SDTZZ/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1YI477W1TS6OQ&colid=2HSLJB7D2WWBI

Another brand, which I bought for a past iMac and Macbook, is KB Covers, but sadly they have not yet released a silicone skin/cover for my new Magic Keyboard Wireless Extended. I'm sure it's coming soon. They have keyboard covers for all the other recent model Macbooks and MBPs.

http://www.kbcovers.com

KB Covers will ship worldwide, and their International shipping is not exorbitant.
 
Last edited:

CaptRB

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 11, 2016
884
878
LA, California
Here is the one I just ordered from Amazon not too long ago. The brand is called Forito. Please note I am linking to the product on the Amazon USA store, I take it you are in Australia.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0721SDTZZ/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1YI477W1TS6OQ&colid=2HSLJB7D2WWBI

Another brand, which I bought for a past iMac and Macbook, is KB Covers, but sadly they have not yet released a silicone skin/cover for my new Magic Keyboard Wireless Extended. I'm sure it's coming soon. They have keyboard covers for all the other recent model Macbooks and MBPs.

http://www.kbcovers.com

KB Covers will ship worldwide, and their International shipping is not exorbitant.




When I work on photographs, I reduce the lighting in the room. It's common practice. Go to any video editing suite and you're not likely to see a bright room. Indirect lighting is common. So a backlit keyboard is a wonderful thing.

Apple's magic keyboard not being backlit is nuts. People have been asking for this feature for YEARS.

It's incredible that Apple has dropped the ball on every keyboard except for the MacBook Air.



R.
 

burgman

macrumors 68000
Sep 24, 2013
1,971
1,378
I also am using and like the (new for 2017) Magic Keyboard with Numeric Pad, this is the new extended version of the wireless Magic Keyboard. It's perfect for me as far as key placement and feel. Sure it would be nice if it were backlit, but I suppose that's not too important for me as my vision is fine, I use my iMac in a well illuminated environment. And best of all…. at least 2 companies already sell "Thin Skins" (ultra thin, clear, silicone keyboard covers) for this new magic keyboard model. I have been using the thin silicone keyboard covers since the 1990s!
View attachment 723577

However, I do miss having the one useful USB port that was present in my older wired USB Magic Keyboard.
What is your genetic history that allows you to see in the dark? Never seen anyone use back-lighting in bright environment. Makes a product more versatile, not having it makes no sense.
 
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mortenjensen

macrumors regular
Mar 19, 2012
219
16
Thanks for the review!!
I am really interested in hearing more about the no-difference between the 5k and 4K. My next buy will be a mbp with a 27" screen or the iMac 5k. I am going to use it for office work, lots of reading. I would imagine that the crispness of the5k would be considerable better than on a 4K setup when it comes to reading e-books and so. Is this not the case?

Morten
 

CaptRB

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 11, 2016
884
878
LA, California
Thanks for the review!!
I am really interested in hearing more about the no-difference between the 5k and 4K. My next buy will be a mbp with a 27" screen or the iMac 5k. I am going to use it for office work, lots of reading. I would imagine that the crispness of the5k would be considerable better than on a 4K setup when it comes to reading e-books and so. Is this not the case?

Morten


On a 27" screen the pixel density at 4K is already VERY high. I have the Dell 4K right next to the 5K and there's really no difference. The Dell matte finish on the screen is better for my photography work.
We've put 5K video up and they look about the same. When writing the sharpness is identical in MS Word, Pages or Final Draft.


R.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
On a 27" screen the pixel density at 4K is already VERY high. I have the Dell 4K right next to the 5K and there's really no difference. The Dell matte finish on the screen is better for my photography work.
We've put 5K video up and they look about the same. When writing the sharpness is identical in MS Word, Pages or Final Draft.


R.
The main bonus to 5k for the iMac is the ability to edit video and photos at 4K resolution 1 to 1 pixels and still have space on your desktop for the editing tools and widgets, rather than any perceived increase in sharpness.
 
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mortenjensen

macrumors regular
Mar 19, 2012
219
16
Thanks. This really surprises me since you gain twice the amount of pixels. But it is a pleasant surprise that widens my options
Morten
 

Dry Rot

macrumors member
Apr 28, 2009
83
1
Australia
Here is the one I just ordered from Amazon not too long ago. The brand is called Forito. Please note I am linking to the product on the Amazon USA store, I take it you are in Australia.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0721SDTZZ/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1YI477W1TS6OQ&colid=2HSLJB7D2WWBI

Another brand, which I bought for a past iMac and Macbook, is KB Covers, but sadly they have not yet released a silicone skin/cover for my new Magic Keyboard Wireless Extended. I'm sure it's coming soon. They have keyboard covers for all the other recent model Macbooks and MBPs.

http://www.kbcovers.com

KB Covers will ship worldwide, and their International shipping is not exorbitant.
Thanks for that. Much appreciated.
 

Dry Rot

macrumors member
Apr 28, 2009
83
1
Australia
Here is the one I just ordered from Amazon not too long ago. The brand is called Forito. Please note I am linking to the product on the Amazon USA store, I take it you are in Australia.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0721SDTZZ/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1YI477W1TS6OQ&colid=2HSLJB7D2WWBI

Another brand, which I bought for a past iMac and Macbook, is KB Covers, but sadly they have not yet released a silicone skin/cover for my new Magic Keyboard Wireless Extended. I'm sure it's coming soon. They have keyboard covers for all the other recent model Macbooks and MBPs.

http://www.kbcovers.com

KB Covers will ship worldwide, and their International shipping is not exorbitant.
The Amazon one won't ship to Australia and it looks like KB Covers don't make one.

Anyone know of a silicone cover which ships to Australia for a 2017 extended (numeric) iMac keyboard?
 

Solomani

macrumors 68040
Sep 25, 2012
3,702
6,180
Alberto, Canado
The Amazon one won't ship to Australia and it looks like KB Covers don't make one.

Anyone know of a silicone cover which ships to Australia for a 2017 extended (numeric) iMac keyboard?
KB COVERS told me they will release one soon. They responded to my email directly.

I am using the Forito one now, but I still like the quality of my old KB covers, the feel and quality of the KB is superior IMHO. The Forito was just cheaper in price