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Mac mini or MacBook Air: the best low-cost Mac for your money

Karen Haslam | July 15, 2015
If you are looking for a low cost Mac the £399 Mac mini and the £749 MacBook Air are likely to be your top choices, but which one offers the best deal?

The cheapest MacBook options is the £749 11-inch MacBook Air which features a 1.6GHz processor, 4GB memory, and a 128GB SSD. The entry-level laptop is almost twice the price of the entry-level Mac mini. For £50 more you could get the ultimate Mac mini with a faster 2.8GHz processor, 8GB memory, and a 1TB Fusion Drive.

Buying advice

The price of the £399 Mac mini, along with a monitor, mouse and keyboard is comparable to the £749 MacBook Air with its 11-inch monitor. That model has the same spec as the Mac mini and you will get a built in display. However, the display you buy to use with the Mac mini is likely to be much larger than 11- or 13-inches, so we reckon the Mac mini will have the edge there.

If you had the budget for a £749 MacBook Air and already owned a screen we would recommend spending it instead on the 2.8GHz Mac mini which costs £50 more at £799 and includes 8GB memory and a 1TB Fusion Drive as standard. That's presuming that you don't need a portable Mac.

The best value way to buy a Mac is possibly to purchase a second hand Mac. There are a variety of ways you can do this, check the Apple Refurbished store here, where Apple sells Macs that have been returned (if there was a fault it will have been rectified and the Mac still has a one year warrenty). You may also find a good deal on eBay or on Macworld's own mResel site, where we buy and sell old Macs, iPads and iPhones. Find out more about Macworld's own reseller service, which buys and sells a range of second hand Apple products here.

 

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