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
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 Apple Mac mini (HDMI) is an all-around improvement with a new unibody aluminum chassis to match the rest of the Macintosh line. The mini is the mainstream, compact PC you've been searching for, and it defines its category.
Pros: Super compact design. Aluminum unibody construction. SD slot supports new SDXC cards. Included HDMI-to-DVI adapter and HDMI port. Extremely low power usage. GreenTech Approved. Internal power supply. Accessible memory slots. More 3D power than anything in its class.
Cons: Still no Blu-ray. Hard drive is hard to upgrade. No eSATA port.
Conclusion: One of the most aesthetically beautiful business servers we've ever seen, this tiny, peppy machine makes for a quiet desktop server that's perfect for light-duty home and SMB server tasks.
Pros: Setup in as little as 10 steps. Faster processor and more memory than the Mac mini client. Lots of storage for SMBs or a home network. New features add to the ultra-easy Mac experience. Powerful command-line option for advanced tasks and management.
Cons: Tricky Active Directory integration. Not for heavy-work-load environments.
Conclusion: In addition to being as powerful as a tower PC, the Apple Mac mini (Thunderbolt) innovates and sounds the death knell for the optical disc.
Pros: Super compact design. Aluminum unibody construction. SD slot supports SDXC cards. Included HDMI-to-DVI adapter and HDMI port. Internal power supply. Thunderbolt interface. Second generation Core i5 processor. 3D performance rivals a tower PC.
Cons: Hard drive is hard to upgrade. Thunderbolt peripherals are scarce. No optical complicates some installs.
Conclusion: The Mac Mini is the Bruce Lee of the computing world – small frame, incredibly fit, lightning fast and able to take on any sized opponent with unflinching confidence. The video performance was impressive – exceptional in many ways – but could be improved upon. The integrated video chip is certainly worthy of applause and congratulations but it may not deserve a standing ovation.
Pros: Small size; attractive design; powerful; low power consumption
Cons: Mono speaker: cost is higher than expected; video output could be better