Apple recently introduced the new Mac mini. An impressive machine, but perhaps not for everyone? OMT editor Mark Hofman got to play with Appple’s new addition for a while and lists five pros and five cons of the Mac mini.
Let me start by saying that the number of advantages of the new Mac mini with Apple’s M2 Pro chip do outweigh the disadvantages. That’s why I’m not going to put salt on every bone. But it quickly became clear that the new mini is not for everyone. So the key question is: how Mac-crazy are you?
Apple’s Mac mini is like small, strong workhorse
During Apple’s presentation, it was quickly established that the Mac mini is a small all-rounder with the new M2 (and M2 Pro) chip. But it was mainly the price that made us gag for a while: 719 euros for the entry-level model is very doable.
OMT, however, went with the top model that costs 1,569 euros, but for that you get the M2 Pro chip with a 10-core CPU and further 16-core GPU and 16GB of RAM. But why shell out that kind of money? Here are five reasons.
Compact and stylish design:
The Mac mini is only 3.58 cm high, and 19.7 cm wide and deep. So it takes up very little space on your desk. It has a sleek and modern design, which makes it perfect for any work environment. Apple has changed little about the previous design, and see for yourself; there’s nothing wrong with that.
So simple but stylish. (Image: WANT.co.uk/Mark Hofman)
It is almost bizarre to see how much work the little Mac mini is capable of. In fact, I would venture to say that certainly the top-of-the-line model rivals the Mac Studio for many tasks. Large projects, such as editing 4K video goes very smoothly, and you can just keep multitasking while doing so. Some games also run like a charm, but gaming is limited (and I’ll come back to that).
So, as mentioned, you get the proverbial “bang for your buck. The entry-level model is very affordable, making it ideal for students. Of course, you can also buy a fine Windows PC for that money, but the smoothness with which everything works together in a Mac mini is hard to match. Especially in such a small enclosure.
The Mac mini has a good amount of ports and connectivity options, making it easy to connect to other devices.
The version I was able to spot had four Thunderbolt ports, two USB-C ports and an HDMI port. It even has a mini-jack jack for headphones. You read that right: a headphone jack! In other words, you can plug in a lot without having to buy a HUB.
MacOS operating system:
This reason speaks for itself. If you dwell in an Apple environment, a Mac is a must. With childlike ease you hang all your devices in the Apple ecosystem and sharing or working through on all your gadgets is a piece of cake. It is and always has been masterful how well Apple coordinates all these things.
An impressive array of ports. (Image: WANT.co.uk/Mark Hofman)
In short: If you’re an Apple fan looking for a powerful and compact desktop computer, the Mac mini with M2 chip is the perfect choice. It has an affordable price, a sleek and modern (but unshocking) design, powerful performance, plenty of connectivity and runs on the MacOS that is familiar to many.
The new mini is not blissful for everyone
If this was going to be your first Mac, or you’re unsure about the price, there’s a case to be made that this shouldn’t be your new computer. And that’s probably for these five reasons.
Limited upgrade options:
One disadvantage of the Mac mini is that it has limited upgrade options. For example, you can’t add extra RAM or replace the hard drive. Now, the new mini will last you quite a long time, but upgrading some hardware in the future is damned hard.
No CD/DVD or Blu-ray player:
Okay, the number of people who still use a disk drive is limited. But that doesn’t mean that such a slot for discs isn’t still handy. Maybe you have a closet full of DVDs and Blu-rays and want to check them out on your TV (because your Mac mini fits easily under there). Or maybe you want to transfer old videos from CD or DVD to an SSD. In this case, you really should buy an external drive.
Mac mini with a Studio Display. (Image: Apple)
This is not a gaming PC:
The graphics can certainly be called impressive. And that’s completely the case if you use a Studio Display (5K), for example. But gaming just isn’t a priority for Apple. Apart from the fact that the number of games for Mac is limited, you just don’t have the performance that, for example, a graphics card from Nvidia (such as the RTX 30- and 40-series) do. So Ray tracing (without handy tinkering) is out of the question.
More expensive price:
Expensive or cheap is a relative term. I find the Mac mini affordable for an Apple product, but that does not mean that everyone has such a budget available. Although the Mac mini is more affordable than many of Apple’s other desktops, it is still more expensive than many Windows machines.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly computer, there are definitely other options available, especially if you have some savvy and put together your own PC.
You must use MacOS:
MacOS is both a curse and a blessing for some. Do you have everything from Apple? A blessing. But if you have an Android phone or, say, a Windows laptop, it can be quite a curse. It works, but not as smoothly as you hope. Or maybe you’re just used to Windows, in which case MacOS does take quite a bit of clicking (and a lot of Googling).
In addition, there is always another small risk. Some programs or apps you are used to using may not be available for MacOS at all. Alternatives can often be found, but you will have to get used to them all over again.
The ideal size? M2 Mac mini about
So think carefully before you buy
With the Mac mini with the M2 or M2 Pro, you really can go for years. But that also means that during that time you are “stuck” in Apple’s ecosystem without (easily) upgrading. The sleek desktop doesn’t cost a fortune, but it’s far from cheap. So be sure to consider all these points in your decision to switch to a new desktop.