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iMac Retina 27-inch and iMac Pro Apple review


Review of Apple 27-inch iMac Retina and iMac Pro displays

Published on May 15, 2015   |    Updated on May 15, 2020


iMac displays have never had a good reputation with photographers, especially due to their important reflections because their panel is glossy. So certainly the images are very beautiful but perhaps a little "embellished". However, I had observed from 2015 that although they only displayed the sRGB color space, these panels were still able to display colors with very good accuracy (the famous Delta e). As Apple has made great progress in displaying on its latest MacBook Pro, what about these beautiful 27-inch Retina panels displaying the 5K?

To quickly present this new monitor shared by the iMac Retina 27-Inch of 2017, 2018 or 2019 as well as the latest iMac Pro, we can already say that it is a 27-inch Retina monitor in the Apple language, therefore Ultra high definition 5K (5120 x 2880 - pitch 0,12 - 216 ppi) with a new generation brilliant panel - new anti-reflection and contrast treatment on the rise - which is aimed at photographers and other graphic designers but also at videographers, with IPS (white LED) technology, 10-bit LUT table and wide gamut since it covers the DCI-P3 which is located between the Adobe RGB and the sRGB.


In a few words...


iMac 27-inch
& iMac Pro

From $1,779.00

The screens of the iMac Retina have only one defect for some: the reflections of their glossy panel because as far as colors are concerned, it's up to Eizo's standards in 2019, quite simply! - Read my conclusion  

  More offers...  
CDN$ 2,414.95



Introduction to the 27-inch iMac Retina 2017/2019 and iMac Pro screens

Here are some illustrations of this new screen with its still questionable ergonomics, even on the latest model of iMac Pro:

iMac Pro Apple   iMac Retina 27-inch  Apple
iMac ventilation system   Connectivity of iMac Retina
  Technical specifications
  iMac Retina 27-inch Average price : from $1,699.00
Size / Resolution
27-inch 16:9 - 5120 x 2880 - 216 ppi
Panel technology
IPS white LED (new glossy panel)
  Uniformity check No
  Gamut > DCI-P3, 100% sRGB
  Certifications No
500 Cd/M2 / 980:1 measured
Table LUT
10 bits
  Response time -
Screen size
25.6 x 20.3 x 8 inches
  Border widths 25 mm
  Calibration software No
  Connections Thunderbolt 3.0 + HUB USB 3.0
  VESA compatibility Yes - 100 mm
  Hood No
  Garanty 1 or 3 years with Apple Care - Apple USA

In the box...

The screen is sold with :

  • Power cord... of course, even at Apple!
  • Keyboard + mouse.

Bulkiness and perceived quality

The screen has thick edges that will not promote a multi-screen environment 

iMac Pro Apple

As for the perceived quality, it is superlative, as always with Apple to such an extent that all the world's production is always comparable to Apple!

The 27-inch iMac or iMac Pro display and its Retina 5K panel

1 - Definition/resolution - Retina Apple panels provide access to very high definition: 5120 x 2880 pixels and 23.6 inches wide. Its resolution is 216 ppi. So we're talking about 5K. It is one of the most beautiful panels on the market, if one disregards the reflections. That said, surfing the Internet on such a panel is a real pleasure!

iMac Retina 27-Inch Apple

2 - The panel and its anti-reflective coatingNew -

It is a new glossy panel, with a new anti-reflective coating, obviously even better than the previous generation, but undoubtedly it is not yet a panacea. You will still have to work in a dark environment if you want to retouch your images without seeing yourself too much in them because your screen sometimes illuminates you, even in a dark environment you will not sometimes be able to miss yourself!


If you want to connect another screen you will have to do so with the new Thunderbolt 3.0 ports. All definitions and frequencies are therefore accessible without limitations.


Connectivity of iMac Retina 27-Inch

Thickness of the screen edges

They are now 25 mm wide on each side. This design, very elegant in a single screen environment, has been used for several years now. Still as beautiful but also as inconvenient for multi-screens!

To be read: My recommendations to choose your monitor for photography 

Ventilation des iMac Retina et iMac Pro

Ergonomics (see pictures above)

The ergonomics of the iMacs have been close to zero for ages since you can only tilt your panel slightly, and only slightly... We're at Apple's!
As for the screen settings, they can only be made in brightness on the keyboard or in the System Preferences > Monitor. Very light but finally not at all embarrassing.


iMac Retina and iMac Pro Monitor Preferences



What is the 27-inch Retina display of the Apple iMac and iMac Pro worth after calibration with the i1 Display Pro?

I calibrated this screen - like all the screens I test - with the best current colorimeter (except the superlative and very expensive Discus) in an excellent price/quality ratio: the i1 Display Pro + i1Profiler software (version 1.7.2) in order to be able to locate this new screen compared to the screens on the market. You will see that the figures are barely believable if you remain convinced that Apple panels are only pretty on a desk!

I chose the following screen settings:

  • Gamut: no choice! (DCI-P3 by default)
  • Gamma: no choice! (2,2 by default)
  • Contrast: no choice!
  • Color temperature: no choice (6500 K by default)

And as target value in the i1Profiler 1.7.2 software... 

  • Display technology: Choose white diodes,
  • D65 or possibly a little less if you want a slightly warmer screen. (Note that at D55, the screen is really warm but not yellow like on cheap monitors),
  • Luminance: 80 Cd/m2 or more depending on your main use (printing or web) and especially the brightness of your room,
  • Contraste: Native,
  • Gamma: 2,2 – standard curve,
  • ICC norm: V2 (to avoid incompatibility problems with some image viewing software (images too dark) and obviously V4 if you know what you are doing).

And the result is?

Objective data: what does the final report say after calibration?

Before switching to Delta E, it is interesting to note the color temperature values achieved and the contrast of this Retina Apple panel.


Final report after calibration of iMac Retina 27 inch and iMac Pro with i1Display Pro


My opinion: The color temperature (CT) is quite close to 6500K but there is a larger difference than on an Eizo panel.... Randomly! The contrast, close to 1000:1, is in the upper range of non-Amoled or non-HDR displays. This is very good for a "classic" technology.

The Delta E figures according to the 2000 standard are simply exceptional and are of the level of a ColorEdge Eizo, no less!


Delta e after calibration of iMac Retina 27 inch and iMac Pro with i1Display Pro


My opinion! Another new record on this site for an iMac: only 0.24 of average and only 0.48 for the maximum difference so at the level of a magnificent Eizo CG2420! That said, we are so far below the threshold of sensitivity of the human eye - you, me or the Six million dollars man! - that it's just for the sake of it or to choose a winner.

Now the homogeneity tests in luminance and color temperature:


Luminance uniformity after calibration of the iMac Retina 27 inch and the iMac Pro with the i1Display Pro


These are again superlative and very rare reports outside of the Eizo ColorEdge displays, especially in 27-inch!


Uniformity in color temperature after calibration of iMac Retina 27 inch and iMac Pro with i1Display Pro


In terms of colour temperature, this is obviously in line with this: a maximum difference of 80 K at the bottom! Unbelievable... because we're testing an iMac right now!

And my subjective data: what does my eye see?

The 2017, 2018 or 2019 27-inch iMac Retina and iMac Pro share the same panel, which is really beautiful. If only there weren't those damned reflections still perceptible!




  iMac Retina 27-inch and iMac Pro  
Color fidelity 10/10
Uniformity of the panel 10/10
Resolution 10/10
Ergonomic design 4,5/10
Connectivity 10/10
Manufacturing quality 10/10
Quality/price ratio 10/10


  I like it very much...  
  • Values after calibration with the i1Display Pro records: 0.24 of Delta E according to the 2000 standard!
  • Perfect grey neutralization,
  • Homogeneity!
  • Superlative 5K resolution!
  • Contrast: 1000:1 measured!
  • Expanded gamut: DCI-P3 and no longer just sRGB,
  • Updated connectivity (Thunderbolt 3.0),
  • 3-year warranty possible with Apple Care (cheap for Apple hardware!!!)
  • A favorite product where everything is only perfection or just like it!
  I regret...  
  • Reflections always and again despite the progress of the anti-reflective coating,
  • Thick edges,
  • Indigent ergonomics! Very surprised from Apple....
  My overall rating...  
  9.0 / 10  
  My conclusion...  
As I conclude, I realize that I really like this panel... that I should hate because of its glossy finish. And yet! I have rarely been so seduced by the quality of the display when I surf the Internet as I am on this beautiful screen. So much so that I would still be able to make this choice if I were a graphic designer or video artist. Congratulations Apple all the same.... waiting for the moment when you will want to create the same panel but matte this time.
Apple iMac Retina 27''

From $1,779.00

From $1,799.00
CDN$ 2,414.95
From $1,699.00
Apple iMac Pro

From $3,799.00

From $4,699.00
From $4,649.00
Here is my full review of the 27-inch display of the iMac Retina and Apple iMac Pro
- Full review of iMac Retina and iMac Pro
  1 - Introduction to the iMac Retina & iMac Pro display
2 - What are the iMac Retina and iMac Pro
worth after calibration?

3 - My rating and my conclusion

- My 35 monitor reviews!
- How to choose your monitor ?
- How to calibrate your monitor ?


Calibrate your monitor with the best
colorimeter: X-Rite i1Display Pro !

Read my full review...


Calibrate your photo printer with the
best value for money: X-Rite i1 Studio !

Read my full review...  










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