Apple Mac mini (preview)
The smallest of Macs gets a power boost, but still looks the same
- Upgraded internals keep the mini up to date
- It's no smaller or sleeker than the last model
The updated Mac mini gets its makeover internally rather than externally, with Ivy Bridge processors and storage upgrades hidden inside the same cuboid chassis. We would have loved if it got even smaller than it already was, but we're not really going to complain about its size. It's now got the power to compete with other mini-PCs.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
It didn't even rate its own press release in Apple's end-of-year refresh for its notebooks, desktops and tablets, but the Mac mini deserves some attention: it gets the same Ivy Bridge processor refresh and Fusion Drive storage tech that went into the new iMac.
Apple Mac mini: the hardware
Since the exterior of the Mac mini remains the same — an aluminium unibody shell that has the company's recognisable rounded corners — you'll need to delve a little deeper to see what's changed in the latest iteration.
The Mac mini gets itself a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 from the Ivy Bridge processor line-up , with an optional upgrade to a 2.6GHz quad-core i7 from the more expensive model. The default 4GB of DDR3 RAM can be upgraded to either 8GB or 16GB of RAM in any Mac Mini.
This update in processors also brings along a boost in graphics power — since the mini uses the graphics processor integrated into its CPU, Ivy Bridge's Intel HD Graphics 4000 means 65 per cent more power (according to Apple, at least). It's not going to run any modern games at high resolution but it'll handle any desktop computing task you throw at it.
The mini comes by default with a 500GB hard drive, with 1TB on the more expensive model. The 1TB unit can be upgraded to a 1TB Fusion drive for $300, adding a 128GB flash storage drive that transfers commonly used files from the 1TB spinning disk for fast access without any input needed from the user. A 256GB flash storage option is also available.
The switch to newer processor and motherboard means USB 3.0 is now natively supported, with the mini sporting four USB 3.0 ports alongside Thunderbolt, SDXC, audio in/out, FireWire 800, and Gigabit Ethernet. 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi is also built-in.
A Mac mini with OSX Server is also available; it has effectively the same specs as the high-end Mac mini, but has space for two hard drives, and comes with OSX Server installed on top of the standard OS X Mountain Lion. It can be upgraded with a 1TB Fusion drive, 3TB Fusion drive or up to 768GB of flash storage.
Apple Mac mini: Conclusion
The little Mac mini has always been one of our favourites from the Mac family — it's small and unobtrusive, good-looking, comparatively cheap, and more versatile than it gets credit for. The minor upgrade it gets in this cycle is enough to keep it competitive with other mini PCs from the Windows side of the market.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung Galaxy S7 hardware will come to the DragonBoard 820c computer
- Now you can try Microsoft's supersized Surface Hub before buying
- Samsung scraps a Raspberry Pi 3 competitor, shrinks Artik line
- Google wants to add AI to gadgets made using Raspberry Pi
- How to fix a limited connectivity problem on a Windows 7 PC
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPFunctional AnalystVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)ACT
- TPSenior IT Business AnalystNSW
- TPAnalyst Programmer (Adabas)SA
- FTApplications DeveloperACT
- FTBusiness Development Manager - IT SolutionsNSW
- FTBranch Practice Manager - SecurityQLD
- FTSecurity Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- FTSenior Solution ArchitectSA
- FTAnalyst Programmer (Natural/Adabas)SA
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- CCProject Manager (Event Management)NSW
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- TPMobile DeveloperWA
- CCContract - System Access Administrator - major Telco in MelbourneVIC
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- TPDatabase Integration SpecialistVIC
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCDeployment EngineerSA
- TPLead Change Manager - ERPVIC
- CCLevel 2 IT Service Desk OfficerQLD
- TPAgile CoachNSW
- FTJava Developer - Fixed Term ContractQLD