The Mac mini occupies a very interesting space in the Apple ecosystem and it’s kind of an oddball in the lineup, here’s why:
- It’s designed for desktops, but it’s also eminently portable.
- It provides full-sized computer specs, but at the low end of the market to keep costs down.
- It’s an impressive little computer for various unique purposes.
“Unique purposes? Like what?” buyers may be wondering as they look at Apple’s computer options.
Why pick a Mac mini over something like an iMac, or MacBook, or even the ultra-powerful Mac Pro?
Well, here are several niches where the Mac mini performs really well! If you’re in a situation like one these, you should certainly consider the mini.
Compatibility, Performance, and Accessories
If you’re still using an iMac or MacBook that’s around ten years old – or a similar Apple machine that’s aging, you may notice it’s about time for a replacement. Apple computers this old are starting to run into compatibility problems, and probably haven’t been able to upgrade to the latest macOS software in a while. However, this time you may want more flexibility.
For example, you may want to pick out your own display as a way to lower costs or get the correct type of display that you need for work. Maybe you don’t want the mouse and keyboard that an iMac comes with. In these cases, a Mac mini is the ideal solution that doesn’t lock you into a particular screen and allows more freedom with accessories while also giving you better specs and access to the latest macOS.
Oh, and the mini also replaces hybrid and HDD storage options with all SSD, as well as Thunderbolt 3 ports, which may be just the upgrade that you were looking for.
You Split Your Time Working in the Office and from Home
The Mac mini is very portable, on purpose. As long as you have a screen, a keyboard, and the mouse of your choice, you can use it. This makes the mini an ideal situation for workers who spend a lot of time in the office and a lot of time working from home. Even with cloud storage, switching back and forth between computers can be annoying, especially for content creators and designers.
The Mac mini offers a solution to this problem by being portable and powerful enough to function as a computer at work and home alike. Just pop it into your laptop bag, and you’re good to go! For the right work/life balance, this is an ideal feature.
You’d Like a Family Computer
Other buyers may have in mind a general computer that’s open for all kinds of uses and people. Perhaps a home computer that kids and family members can freely use, or a hallway computer where roommates and guests can freely check email and do other basic tasks. The Mac mini is ideally suited for such broad-use computer stations: It doesn’t take up much room, and can easily provide enough power for basic computing purposes. In a similar vein, students looking for a basic computer solution that’s a step above a laptop, but still fits into a crowded dorm should also take a look at the mini as a potential answer to their scenario.
You’re in Filmmaking
We already mentioned that the Mac mini is a great tool for moving back and forth between office work and home work, which probably already has some editors and filmmakers interested. But there are other reasons that the Mac mini makes an ideal solution for those in the film business. With Thunderbolt 3 and the ability to connect multiple eGPUs to the mini, it’s ideally suited for fast-paced and versatile filmmaking projects.
In the right conditions, it can even act as an Ethernet switch or serve other roles in more complex systems. Those involved in film, graphic design, and similar professional projects should certainly take a look at the mini’s capabilities when looking for a new machine.
The mini has one of the greatest price ranges of any Apple computer. The base model starts at around $700, and the best specs top out around $4,200. For all of the purposes that we listed above, this gives buyers an opportunity to customize the mini to just what they want – more than most Apple options. This versatility can be particularly attractive for people with specific computing needs. Older (and more affordable) Mac minis can be found elsewhere online, although it’s likely worth the money to skip directly to the current generation.