Wed, 04 Nov 2009 Mac mini review (Late 2009)
Two Mac mini updates in seven months? Forgotten Mac, indeed
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Pros: [Mac mini 2.26GHz] Tiny size; impressive set of features; all the dramatic improvements of the Early 2009 model plus better performance. [Mac mini 2.53GHz] Tiny size; impressive set of features; all the dramatic improvements of the Early 2009 model plus better performance; no longer a very poor value compared to the £499 model.
- Cons: [Mac mini 2.26GHz] Slow hard drive; difficult to upgrade. [Mac mini 2.53GHz] Slow hard drive; difficult to upgrade; performance increase over £499 model still not dramatic.
- Mac mini 2.26GHz £499
- Mac mini 2.53GHz £649
- Star rating:
Macworld Buying Advice
According to Apple, the mini line was designed to be the most affordable way to get a computer with Mac OS X and iLife. While that may be true, the early-2009 Mac minis were the first that actually let you take full advantage of that software. The latest models improve modestly on their predecessors with faster processors, more RAM, and – on the lower-end model – more hard-drive space at the same £499 and £649 prices. The results are Mac minis that address a few of our biggest criticisms of the early-2009 models. (Sadly, slow hard drives remain.)
The Mac mini continues to be a great option for those new to the Mac who already have a display, keyboard, and mouse. As for current Mac owners, if you purchased a Mac mini earlier this year, these relatively minor improvements are unlikely to convince you to upgrade unless a slight bump in performance will mean big productivity gains for your particular tasks. But if you’ve got an older Mac mini – or an older Mac of another line – and you’re looking to upgrade, the latest minis are appealing. They give you all the impressive updates of the models released earlier this year along with better performance.
As for which of the two models to consider, unless you need the very best performance in a computer the size of a mini, the £499 model is better value, giving you most of the power of the £649 model with enough cash left over to spurge on a huge, fast, external hard drive – and maybe even a few other accessories.