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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.

Sadly the new 2014 Mac mini is not so upgradeable. Apple has soldered the RAM in place, as you will see if you read this article: Mac mini 2014 v 2012 model, comparison. However, there is still one factor in that Mac's favour: you can still upgrade the storage on the Mac mini. gave the old Mac mini a reparability rating of 8 out of 10 in its teardown. The new 2014 Mac mini features RAM that is soldered on, so it is impossible to update it at any time after purchase. iFixIt gave the Mac mini a 6 out of 10 this time round.

The MacBook Pro doesn't have any real upgrade options. The RAM is soldered on and it's not possible to upgrade the storage - trying to do so would void your warranty, not that you can get inside easily thanks to the proprietary pentalobe screws. iFixIt gave both the and 2015 MacBook Pro a reparability score of just 1 out of 10, it can't really get any worse than that.

Buying Advice

The Mac mini used to be the Mac for the kind of people who liked to tinker. Now that Mac is not as easy to upgrade down the line. You won't be able to touch the RAM as it is soldered on, for example.

The MacBook Pro simply can't be upgraded.

13in MacBook Pro versus Mac mini: Best value

The Mac mini is Apple's cheapest Mac at £399, but as we noted already, you will have to factor in the cost of a monitor, mouse and keyboard. Add even the cheapest monitor (around £150) and the cheapest Apple keyboard and mouse options (£40 each), and you are looking at around £629.

In fact to get almost exactly the same specs in the Mac mini as you get in the £1,199 MacBook Pro (2.7GHz with 256GB storage) you would need to spend £729 to get a 2.6GHz i5 processor and 256GB flash storage, which leaves you £470 for your peripherals.

Buying advice

While the price of the Mac mini looks a lot more favourable in comparison with the MacBook Pro with Retina display, it does lack the display and peripherals that come with the laptop, so there will likely be extra expenses to factor in. Of course you may prefer to purchase a larger screen for use with a laptop anyway, which may make this a moot point. You may already own that screen as well, and the display you use with the Mac mini is likely to be much larger than 13-inches, so we reckon the Mac mini will have the edge there.


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