From its smallest desktop to its largest, Apple's computers get a 2012 refresh
30 November 2012
Summary: of a guy in Starbucks, playing a game on his iMac. It takes him forever to pack everything up when he's leaving — the mouse, the keyboard, the hulking desktop PC — but apparently the guy needed to play
Pros: Gorgeous display, Slim, light design, Powerful performance, Gorgeous display, Slim, light design, Powerful performance, Great design, HDMI port, Good media performance
Cons: No optical drive, Speakers are worse than previous model, No optical drive, Speakers are worse than previous model, Graphics performance worse than last model, Fusion Drive only available on high-end mini, Doesn't ship with mouse or keyboard
Summary: With a suggested price of USD 600, the Mac mini is not a cheap computer, but it is one of the cheapest ways to get into the Mac world, even if you have to purchase a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. With the upgraded processor and new internal components, it performs well and is noticeably faster than previous versions. It is well-designed and well-made. Combined with the new OS X Lion, it makes an excellent computer.
Conclusion: The refreshed Mac mini, with its Core i5-2415M (2.3GHz) CPU, is quite powerful for its price point and form factor. But the limited RAM (2GB) and sluggish hard drive (500GB 5400 RPM) are somewhat of a let down. Overall, the machine is responsive and runs OS X Lion without issue, but getting into more advanced photo/video editing and gaming puts a notable strain on the system.
Pros: Great overall performance, Gorgeous design, Ships with OS X Lion, Included Thunderbolt port, Cool and quiet, Robust iLife apps included
Cons: Pricey, HDD is sluggish, No optical drive, Must purchase adapter cable for Thunderbolt / DisplayPort, No USB 3.0 ports
Apple's added hot new processors and dropped the optical drive — is the trade off worth it?
25 July 2011
Summary: Unlike the new MacBook Air, the new processors in the Mac mini don’t suddenly make it a dramatically different kind of product; if the new Air with Lion represents Apple’s vision of what traditional computing should look like in 2011 and beyond, the new mini is more like a concession to the idea that perhaps not everyone else has quite caught up.
Pros: Solid performance, Small, beautiful case, HDMI port
Cons: No optical drive, Magic Trackpad required for full Lion experience, Expensive
Conclusion: The role of the Mac mini has changed dramatically over the past five years. What once was a way for Apple to tempt users into trying OS X is now a fairly expensive, niche Mac. As an HTPC the new Mac mini is great. It works just as well as any of the ION boxes we've reviewed while using less power and offering better performance. The only problem, outside of lacking Blu-ray support, is that it is a very expensive HTPC without offering the higher end HTPC features (e.g.
Excerpt: If you’re a PC user with a spare monitor, looking to dip your toe into Mac waters, the Mini is a nice introduction to Apple computers. All others, though, should weigh this tiny PC's value versus an iMac.
Pros: Very compact, Decent performance, Great connectivity for a tiny chassis
Cons: Keyboard, mouse, monitor not included, Not upgradable, Costly for what you get
Conclusion: The Apple Mac mini makes an attractive entry point for the Windows-to-Mac switcher, the Mac user who needs an upgrade from a pre-1-GHz Mac, or the user on a budget who wants a small, silent desktop with a really cool design.
Pros: Sleek design. Tiny chassis. Most affordable Mac yet. Built-in Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless available. Quiet, single-fan system.
Cons: Base price ($499) does not include keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, or wireless; RAM and hard drive space are barely adequate. No audio input. Limited internal expansion.