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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.

As we mention above, you can also plug your Mac mini straight into your widescreen TV, making it ideally suited as a media centre in your living room. We wouldn't recommend working on a Mac that had a television screen as a monitor, though.

Buying advice

The key difference when choosing between the MacBook Air and a Mac mini is the presence of the integrated display on the MacBook Air, but given the fact that this display is small and not as good as other Apple displays, you may find yourself factoring in the cost of a display anyway. If you add the cost of a decent display to the price of the lower-cost Mac mini it doesn't look like such a cheap option, but you may want to factor in the cost of a decent display into the price of the MacBook Air too.

13in MacBook Pro versus Mac mini: Portability

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display weighs 1.58kg, it's not the lightest laptop you can buy - that's the 12in MacBook with Retina display at 0.92kg, but the closest comparison is the 13in MacBook Air at 1.35kg. It's certainly not going to weigh you down too much if you have to carry it around, though.

The 2014 Mac mini, on the other hand, is a tiny 20cm square box that's less than 4cm deep. It actually weighs less than the MacBook Pro - between 1.19kg and 1.22kg depending on which model you choose. You could probably happily carry the box in your bag, but you'd also need to drag around a monitor, mice and keyboard. If you wanted a desktop Mac that took up very little space the Mac mini is perfect though.

Buying Advice

The MacBook Pro is clearly the most portable when compared to the Mac mini. The Mac mini might be light but it's not really one to carry around - and it wouldn't be much use to you without a monitor. We also wouldn't recommend carrying a hard drive equipped Mac mini around too much - you may be thinking it would be a good solution to carry it between your office and home so you would be able to work at either location, but a hard drive can be damaged if you move it around regularly, so if this sounds like the kind of thing you might do opt for an SSD at point of purchase.

13in MacBook Pro versus Mac mini: Upgradability

One of the best things about the 2012 Mac mini was the fact that it was more upgradable than any other Mac. It used to be possible to upgrade both the hard drive and the RAM using parts purchased separately, rather than having to choose the upgrade options available from Apple at point of purchase.


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