Apple Mac Mini review: A Macintosh that's easy on the wallet
Not all the changes to the Mac Mini are for the best
- Fantastic design with small footprint
- Good connectivity
- RAM is not upgradable
- Closed-off design
- Does not come with keyboard or mouse
Price$ 619.00 (AUD)
Apple's Mac Mini has a low $619 price, is unobtrusively styled and proves versatile in that it can be used as an everyday computer or a sophisticated media player.
Dated or timeless?
Three years have passed since the Mac Mini received a cosmetic makeover. Aluminium still conforms to the simplistic shape of a flattened cube. Black is used for the Apple logo and for the panel housing the ports. Pride is evidently taken in its construction, and in bundling a premium material with minimalist design, the Mac Mini’s appearance leans away from dated and towards timeless.
Even the USB 3.0 ports, of which there are four, have their inner lip coloured black in camouflage. The power brick is built into the enclosure so that the plug is small and accommodating. Tiny details like these make the Mac Mini feel special.
One for everyone
Apple offers three versions of the Mac Mini, all of which are powered by the Haswell generation of Intel core i5 processors. The introductory model has a 1.4GHz dual-core processor (Turbo boost to 2.7GHz), Intel HD Graphics 5000, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. It has a retail price off $619.
Our review unit topped the range with a 2.8GHz dual-core CPU (Turbo boost to 3.3GHz), Intel Iris graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB fusion drive. A Mac Mini with this configuration is more than double the price at $1249.
A mid range model is offered with the same specs for $869, although its processor is a 2.6GHz dual core with a turbo boost to 3.1GHz. We believe this setup will prove most popular.
Older Mac Minis could be upgraded over time, with the removable black base granting access to some swappable components. Apple has made some changes to the design of the replacement model that limit future upgrades.
Accessing the circuitry is harder with the introduction of an obtrusive metal plate. Removing it is a matter of having on hand a specialist Torx screwdriver. Another obstacle is the fact the RAM is soldered directly onto the circuitry and therefore cannot be upgraded,
Being able to upgrade components in the Mac Mini was a strong point. People who bought the 2011 model could swap out the RAM and hard drive for higher performing components and, because the looks haven’t changed in years, dated Mac Mini’s would benefit from an as-new shine. It is a shame that is no longer the case.
Opting for the top-tier model is one way to fend off obsolescence. This is the version being reviewed by Good Gear Guide and it performed admirably in our routine tests.
The core i5 processor proved competent in our Blender 3D test. It took 24 seconds to render an image, which for comparison’s sake, is much slower than the 13 seconds of the flagship 27-inch iMac.
We also transcoded a .mp4 Full HD video to one optimised for the web using the Mac Mini. The 136MB file was reduced to 27MB in 33 seconds.
The Mac Mini reviewed by Good Gear Guide comes with a drive that bundles a 128GB SSD with a 1TB hard drive. Regular files are stored on the solid-state drive so that files can be retrieved quickly.
Results for the storage drive outperformed those achieved by the 27-inch iMac. The Mac Mini achieved a write speed of 448.9MB/s and a read speed of 715.9MB/s in BlackMagic’s storage speed test.
The Mac Mini runs Apple’s OS X Yosemite (10.10.2) operating system. Anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple TV will appreciate how well other Apple products work with the Mac Mini. Jumping across to Apple if you already own one of these devices is like having one foot already in the door.
Apple’s Mac Mini will take word processing, emailing and web-browsing in its stride. Mature software and refined hardware ensures all multimedia needs — whether it’s photos, music or videos — are generously catered. This computer is one that can be used everyday.
Demanding users keen on OS X should consider Apple’s range of iMac computers or the company’s powerhouse Mac Pro. It is a shame Apple has limited what parts can be upgraded as it makes the Mac Mini a less attractive proposition.
The design may be three years old, which is an eternity in the technology space, though the simplicity of it ensures it is timeless. Mac Mini’s nesting alongside televisions and set-top boxes will only add charm to entertainment set-ups, and that’s something too few PCs can do.
Join the newsletter!
Bringing VR out of office and study spaces will serve to help it attract the new audiences it needs to continue growing
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Panasonic Lumix G9 review: A mirrorless moulded to the needs of still-shooters
- 2 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By ASUS
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Dell
- CES 2018: Intel Reveals VR-Ready ‘Hades Canyon’ NUC
- iMac Pro first look: Apple’s most powerful Mac is a multiprocessing beast
- macOS High Sierra ‘root’ security issue allows admin access to your Mac—but there's a fix
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- Sony a7R Mk III review: Full, in-depth review
- Which 2018 Smart Speaker Should I Buy
- 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
- FTSenior Network EngineerOther
- CCChange AnalystNSW
- CC.Net Integration Lead DeveloperNSW
- TPProcurement ManagerACT
- TPProject Manager/Stream LeadQLD
- FTSQL Developer / Data AnalystOther
- CCTivoli Netcool DeveloperVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst - End User Computing - MobilityOther
- FTContract Obligations Manager - Telco - 2 year Max Term - Nth SydneyNSW
- FTCyber Security AnalystOther
- CCReporting Data Analyst - TelcoVIC
- TPProject Manager - Cyber SecurityNSW
- FTDigital Content ProducerOther
- FTSenior Project CoordinatorOther
- CCBRM DeveloperVIC
- TPCyber Security SpecialistQLD
- FTTechnical Lead UnixOther
- TPSystems AdministratorQLD
- FTNetwork Services ManagerOther
- TPBI AnalystNSW
- CCIncident ManagerNSW
- TPSplunk EngineerNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTTechnical Quality LeadVIC
- CCChange ManagerNSW