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Mac mini versus MacBook Pro, why the Mac mini might be the best Mac you can get for your money

Karen Haslam | July 23, 2015
If you are looking for the best Mac you can get for your money there are a couple of contenders that might surprise you.

Most Mac fans will think of the Mac mini as a low cost (prices start at £399) basic Mac, but there are two more Mac mini models that offer great specs and still come in at a lower price than nearly every other Mac.

In fact, the two Mac mini's in question have specs that are very similar to the Retina MacBook Pro. So which is best?

In this article we will look at the pros and cons of each of these equivalent Macs and will offer buying advice to suit your needs.

MacBook Pro versus Mac mini: how the models compare

The £549 Mac mini has a 2.6GHz processor, 8GB memory, a 1TB hard drive and Intel Iris Graphics.

The £799 Mac mini has a 2.8GHz processor, 8GB memory, a 1TB Fusion Drive and Intel Iris Graphics.

For £999 you can get a MacBook Pro with a 2.7GHz processor, 8GB memory, a 128GB SSD and Intel Iris Graphics 6100.

For £1,199 you can get a MacBook Pro with a 2.7GHz processor, 8GB memory, a 256GB SSD and Intel Iris Graphics 6100.

For £1,399 you can get a MacBook Pro with a 2.9GHz processor, 8GB memory, a 512GB SSD and Intel Iris Graphics 6100.

Note that the MacBook Pro models have been more recently updated than the Mac mini, with new Broadwell processors, and slightly faster clock speeds, but these models are pitched around the same ballpark. Therefore we're going to take a closer look to see if you can basically get the power of a MacBook Pro in a Mac mini for half the price, and it is practically half the price: you could save £450 if you chose the £549 Mac mini rather than the £999 MacBook Pro, and you could save £640 if you chose the £549 Mac mini rather than the MacBook Pro at £1,199, while the £799 Mac mini is £600 less than it's MacBook Pro equivalent.

The big question is: are the added benefits that come with the MacBook Pro worth it. From the Retina display to the faster flash storage, the MacBook Pro offers some excellent features that the Mac mini lacks. You'll need a display, mouse and keyboard to go with the Mac mini as it doesn't ship with any of those peripherals, so you will have to factor in that extra expense. Plus if you wanted to switch to an equivalent SSD in the £569 model (you can do so at point of purchase) that would cost you another £160, bringing the price to £729.

Even with the equivalent flash storage added to your Mac mini, that still leaves you £480 to spend on your display though before you are at the equivalent MacBook Pro price.

 

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