Apple’s latest models of Mac Mini and MacBook Pro, though launched together, are worlds apart.
While both can boast new and more powerful chipsets, the Mac Mini is a pint-sized computer, like a desktop PC, that can be paired with any monitor, keyboard and mouse, and the two new MacBook Pros have practically enough power to render a short cinematic film release (while taking public transport).
Focusing on the baseline model, unboxing and setting up a new Mac Mini is a simple plug and play experience. All you get in the box is the 1.18kg, 3.5cm tall computer and its power cable. The Mini has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, two USB-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a headphone jack on the back. This means you’re just about good to go, plugging in any and every accessory you might need.
It’s important to note that the Mac Mini is Apple’s cheapest computer available right now, with the next most affordable option being the $1499 MacBook Air (with the older M1 chip) or a colourful 2021 iMac that starts at $1999.
And yet the Mac Mini has Apple’s new M2 chip, an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of SSD storage.
For those who don’t speak in specs, you can essentially expect an incredibly fast computer that doesn’t lag when you have a boatload of tabs open in Safari or even when editing high res images in Photoshop or an 8K ProRes video in Final Cut Pro X.
The Mini even has the ability to play games from Apple’s App Store, Apple Arcade or Steam.
As with others before it, you’ll need to bring or buy your own peripherals to use with the Mac. So, whether you plug in a budget computer monitor or pair it with Apple’s divine $2499 Studio Display, it’s up to you – candy bar pick ’n’ mix style.
It’s definitely a computer I would recommend to first-time Apple users, students or those on a budget, but now, with the specs it’s boasting, I would even recommend it to a pro user.
That being said, let’s talk about the new MacBook Pros.
Macbook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch
Apple’s 2023 MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch are really special, although I’m not sure it’s worth the upgrade if you already have a MacBook Pro from the past couple of years.
These machines are truly made for people in the creative industries, or for those who need incredible processing power. The units house Apple’s new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which are the successors to the M1 Pro and M1 Max from 2021, giving them a power boost.
Apart from that, my main excitement for the new models is the increased battery life and HDMI 2.1 support, which allows you to connect it to external displays that are higher resolution (ie. 8K) or those that support faster refresh rates.
We could get all technical, but if you’re looking to work with 3D renders, high resolution photos or videos at work, at home and even on the bus, this is a laptop to consider.
Otherwise, most regular folk would suit a Mac Mini or a Macbook Air.
Price and discounts
For those wanting to dive right in, the baseline model of the M2 Mac Mini is on offer for as low as $829 with an education discount on Apple’s website, which is surprisingly cheaper than a pair of Apple’s AirPods Max headphones (RRP $899).
For everyone else, the M2 Mac Mini starts at $999, the MacBook Pro 14-inch starts at $3199 and the MacBook Pro 16-inch starts at $3999.
Originally published as New Apple Mac Mini and Macbook Pro are of different worlds
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