Lovely to look at

In fact, this editor couldn't resist the urge to take the mini chez lui and hook it up to a palm-sized 3M projector.

Mac mini review ()

Using the easily accessible HDMI port, we had no trouble connecting the device to the projector, and mirroring the contents of our external Thunderbolt display. We did, however, encounter Bluetooth audio sync issues with our Jambox, forcing us to depend on the mini's able, but far-from-powerful internal speaker.

Of course, you can always go the more traditional route and attach it to your HDTV, but if you're aching to make use of that vast DVD library sorry, Blu-ray owners , then prepare to spring for a SuperDrive. At that point, though, you may as well just enter the MacBook fray. Apple's quite pleased with the mini's newest feature, the FusionDrive, even though hybrid storage solutions have been in use for quite some time now.

Apple Mac mini (Winter 2012)

So, what is it exactly? It works like this: But as time progresses and your storage begins to spill past the SSD's GB limit, the FusionDrive kicks in, analyzing user-level actions based on algorithms to determine commonly used files and then allocating them accordingly. Say, for example, you're a photo editor who makes heavy use of Aperture, but rarely bothers with iPhoto. Well, over time, the system will acknowledge this usage pattern and relegate iPhoto to the hard disk's slower volume, so Aperture will continue to launch and run quickly from flash.

What's more, all of this is done behind-the-scenes when the mini is idle, so users won't notice any changes taking place. In fact, there's no real way to monitor or edit how the system arranges the storage -- it's made to appear as one unified volume. It's fair to say the Mac mini occupies a special place on the consumer spectrum.

New CPUs, USB 3, and optional Fusion make for a nice shiny package.

Consider it a 3 on our appropriated Kinsey scale of tech-to-consumer affiliations. It's the perfect bridge to all things Apple. Designed, initially, to help make Windows users feel at home within the Mac ecosystem, the mini was offered up as an elegant solution -- a compact desktop that would play nice with people's existing peripherals. But as time wore on, this "appliance Mac" as one rep put it took on other uses in enterprise and among power users. Eventually, it wormed its way into all manner of server-based applications: Whether you really need the added boost of the 1.

Why I bought a Mac mini in 2018

In fact, that latter option might be more than enough for most. So, where's the rub? Well, that's just it. If you fit the sort of user profile we've been describing, we aren't quite sure there is one. At the end of the day, the mini is destined to sit outside of Apple's public limelight like all the models that have come before it. It's the company's jack-of-all-trades, but a shining star for those in the know. All products recommended by Engadget were selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company, Verizon Media. If you buy something through one of our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Buyer's Guide. US Edition. Log in. Sign up. Show More Results. The Mac Mini has always been that runt you might buy if you couldn't afford any other Apple computer. Which is to say: No longer. The model is a fantastic, affordable, and small.

Review: The Mac mini takes the Ivy Bridge to Fusion Town

In models past, the Mac Mini was an underpowered joke, best used to serve up media or pull down your torrents in the background: But the new Mac Mini can be a few different things, all of them worthy. For a few hundred more, you can stick in massive storage, gobs of memory, and a quad-core CPU that'll more than handle any normal computing tasks you throw at it. We priced ours out at around a grand—a decent price for a desktop—and took it from there, using a keyboard, mouse, and LCD display we had sitting around.

It's like a big Apple TV.

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Even after losing its dedicated graphics card which makes it basically useless for gaming , the Mac mini is still one of the most powerful mini-computers around. And the design is still as stylish and well-built as they come. Its low graphics Apple's Mac mini doesn't look any different to last year's version, but this doesn't matter because the design and build quality is outstanding. The Fusion Drive is a luxurious addition and Ivy Bridge upgrades provide plenty of power but Not all Apple's additions offer good value, but the hardware is as enticing as ever, and the Ivy Bridge upgrade is worth This update to the humble Mac Mini has gone almost unnoticed amidst the headline-grabbing launch of the iPad Mini and the elegant new iMac.

Apple's tiny but perfectly-formed Mac mini makes no claims to be a media centre PC. It requires a little work to setup as a media centre, but its minuscule dimensions, minimal power consumption and flawless design make it more than a little Dropping the discrete graphics processor was an unwelcome surprise, though the unexpected but much appreciated Fusion Drive, a hybrid solution combining a hard drive and solid state storage, is a great configuration option. The hackneyed old phrase, 'an evolution not a revolution' could to use another hackneyed phrase be written for the late Mac mini.