Apple Mac mini review
Apple Mac mini review

Apple did not forget about the Mac mini, and also this long-awaited refresh is proof. As soon as it's been a fan favorite, it has been more than four years because we saw the past Mac mini, but using the 2018 model, the smallest Mac was introduced into the modern era.

Apple is saying that the new Mac mini is around five times faster than the 2014 model, therefore it had been worth the wait paper. This performance increase is due to a impressive replicas lumps, such as a hexa-core Intel Coffee Lake desktop processor and up to 64GB of RAM.

It should not come as too much of a surprise, then, that Apple is hailing the Mac mini as a media production machine. The Cupertino behemoth asserts the new Mac mini is around 30 times faster at HEVC encoding compared to the 2014 Mac mini. There's also lots of connectivity to the rear of the device, such as four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

So, was the Mac mini worth the wait, or if you wait to see whether there's a Mac mini 2019? We are going to take Apple's smallest Mac for a spin to see if it is well worth it this season.

Apple Mac mini review

Price and availability

This year's Apple Mac mini starts at $799 (£799, AU$1,249) and tops out at $1,099 (£1,099, AU$1,699) together with the preset configurations. If you alter any one of the components, the purchase price will even change, which provides you some flexibility in regards to balancing electricity with budget.

Should you require a Mac for innovative applications, the new Mac mini is a much more affordable route, compared to something like the iMac Pro, that will put you back a whopping $4,999 (£4,899, AU$7,299) for the base model.

More interested in the Mac mini as a little PC? Then the closest rival is possibly the Intel Hades Canyon NUC, that will be a strong, yet barebones, miniature PC that runs either Windows or Linux, and prices $999 (about £710, AU$1,302).

That makes the Apple Mac mini seem pretty value-oriented, especially once you realize you are going to need to purchase storage, memory and an OS individually for the NUC, which adds additional cost (though you do not have to pay for Linux, of course ).

Apple Mac mini review

Design

Fans of the streamlined, no-nonsense designs of past Mac minis will be very happy to learn that the newest Mac mini pretty much retains that intact, with all the exact same little, square-ish metallic design that steps 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches (19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6cm) and weighs slightly thicker than the past Mac Mini in 2.9 lbs (1.3kg), compared to the older Mac mini's pounds of 2.6 lbs (1.19kg).

Within the exact measurements, the Mac mini manages to possess more powerful hardware than ever before, due to a redesigned thermal structure that comprises a larger fan, enlarged vents and an overhauled electricity supply.
Apple has made several tiny adjustments to the Mac mini's design -- it today comes at the exact same Space Grey since the iMac Pro -- although it is the only colour option this time around. Apple also claims that the new Mac mini is made of 60% Nominal plastic, mostly at the foundation, together with the chassis being assembled from 100% recycled aluminum.

The transfer to some PCIe solid state drive (SSD) for storage does not only make the Mac mini faster, it means it runs quieter and cooler too -- essential to get a tiny form-factor PC.

Ports-wise the Apple Mac mini (2018) includes four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, two USB-A ports, audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet, together with a 10Gb Ethernet option. On the rear corner there's a power button along with the more infrequent (for Apple products, at least) 3.5 millimeter headphone jack also.

Apple Mac mini review

With only 1 HDMI port, you are going to need to either update to a Thunderbolt 3 screen or make do with an adapter if you would like to plug in more than 1 screen. Contemplating the Mac mini is built as a founder's instrument, multiple monitors are often crucial, therefore many people might need to purchase more accessories.

The good thing is that with Thunderbolt 3 you will have the ability to run just two 4K displays at the same time, and you will still have two ports left -- perhaps one for an external graphics card option, which the Apple Mac mini (2018) supports. As per usual, the keyboard and mouse are not included, so there's another two accessory to factor into the general cost.

All these ports are stored in the rear of the Mac mini to get a clean look, which retains wires out of sprawling all over the place.
It should not come as a surprise, but the Apple Mac Mini is not easily upgradable, unlike miniature PCs such as the Intel NUC or even Zotac ZBox range. This implies when the Mac Mini starts to show its age, you will not have the ability to open this up and toss in a few more powerful components -- besides the memory.

For anybody coming from a PC background where upgradability is vital, this may be frustrating, but for anybody used to Apple's way of doing things, it will not be too sudden.

Apple Mac mini review

There's also a couple of things Apple has done to enhance the user's inability to update easily. First of all, you are ready to configure the Apple Mac mini (2018) rather widely, letting you upgrade several components before purchasing, ensuring that you get a Mac mini that is most suitable for your requirements and budget.

Additionally, it is worth noting that thanks to the modern technology at the Apple Mac mini, you need to hopefully not believe the necessity to update for a little while yet. And, taking into consideration the difference between Mac miniature releases these days, that could be for the very best.

In general, we are happy that Apple has maintained the small size of the Mac mini while filling it with more powerful components and lots of ports, although creatives that need multiple monitors might have to believe carefully as a result of the only HDMI port, along with absence of any DisplayPorts.

The Space Gray color looks fantastic, since it will on other Apple products, as well as the 100% recycled aluminum case is a welcome move, which also retains the Mac mini feeling hardy and robust.

Apple Mac mini review

Performance

The new Mac Mini includes desktop-grade 8th-generation Intel Coffee Lake processors in quad- and - hexa-core models, therefore we had high hopes to the computing power. The brand new square shaped desktop delivers five times the total amount of performance over its predecessor, at least according to Apple.
Because the Mac Mini is aimed at creatives, which typically rely on intensive software and editing big files, the 2018 Mac Mini has to have the ability to keep pace, more than any prior version.

The quad- and - hexa-core Intel Core processors with Turbo Boost rates of around 4.6GHz, and support up to 2,666MHz (that is four times what the final Mac Mini could hold) will surely maintain the 2018 Mac mini feeling fast and responsive to many tasks, and lets it handle multiple tasks at the same time, as a result of the massive quantity of memory on offer.

The most recent Mac mini includes the Apple T2 security processor, which includes an SSD controller using on-the-fly data encryption to get"industry-leading security". The T2 processor also features HEVC video transcoding that's around 30 times faster, which is excellent news for video editors that want to know more about using an Apple Mac mini for their innovative work.

The only place the Apple Mac mini (2018) is allowed down, specs wise, is using the Intel UHD 630 integrated graphics. We'd have much rather seen some type of different graphics, and anybody working with the Apple Mac mini for graphically-intensive innovative work, like video editing and 3D modelling, may locate the integrated graphics somewhat restricting.

However, people who are looking for a increase in performance with this front can always plug into an eGPU.

We got to see how elastic the Mac mini (2018) is using a Dark Magic eGPU plugged . Assessing raw 4K video files and incorporating impacts on the fly in Final Cut was smooth for such a multifunctional device. Of course, the outside graphic card has been doing a great deal of heavy lifting, but it turned out to be a good sign of the way the new Mac mini may be used in imaginative work.

Apple Mac mini review

Apple also showed an intriguing set up where one Mac mini (2018) was connected using a network switch into a network bunch of five Mac minis (stacked on top of each other). By placing the 10Gb Ethernet port on the Mac mini (should you select that option when buying the Mac mini) to good use, we found the way you are able to offload intensive processes (for instance, making video) to these other Mac minis. The process of accomplishing so is incredibly simple in Final Cut, in which it was an issue of opening a menu and choosing the connected Mac minis.
After done, the tasks have been performed from the other Mac minis, whereas the main one can nevertheless be used for working without any noticeable effect to performance. Perhaps most impressively, the stack of five Mac minis remained pretty much quiet, even if working on these intensive tasks. For everybody who has used multiple PCs simultaneously on complicated projects and needed to set up with the sound of fans hammering off, this is going to be a welcome alternative.

Of course, there will not be many people who will probably use a heap of Mac minis such as that, but it is a good demonstration of just how adaptable the new Mac mini is.

Within our day-to-day use we had been impressed with all the new Mac mini, that felt fast and reactive when running macOS 10.14 Mojave. Apps closed and opened immediately, and much more challenging processes, such as video transcoding, was achieved quickly -- and quietly too.

What we love about this new Mac mini is that Apple has produced a strong and versatile miniature PC that's compact enough to be easily carried about, or hidden out of view behind a display.

In our standard tests, the Mac mini does not reach the highs of professional-grade Apple devices like the MacBook Pro or even iMac Pro, but it still plays quite well, particularly in the multi-core evaluations thanks to that quad-core Intel processor. If you go for the Mac mini configuration using a hexa-core processor, expect much greater results.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the Mac mini is a fair bit more affordable than either of the other devices, even if you factor in the reality that you require a screen, mouse and keyboard to the Mac mini.

Compared to the preceding generation of Mac mini, there's no rivalry: this season's Mac mini blows it out of the water, performance-wise. If you like your Mac mini and have been awaiting a update, then you are going to be more really satisfied with the new Mac mini.

Apple Mac mini review

General assessment

Many of us was hoping that Apple would launch an upgraded version of the popular Mac mini for years now, so we were excited when the Cupertino company finally announced the new Mac mini earlier this season. Nonetheless, this is not only an afterthought, or even a quick and dirty update to maintain the more outspoken Mac mini fanatics silent.

Rather, we have got a hugely discredited Mac mini that in some ways goes beyond what we'd been hoping for. This really is a really accomplished small machine that packs a few amazing modern features and components to get a level of performance that places a number of other little form-factor PCs to pity.

Apple has acknowledged that the computing landscape has shifted since the last Mac mini was released. Back then, the Mac mini was designed with casual users in your mind, in addition to an accessible device to acquire more than people from Windows.

With the growth of laptops, and together with the entrance level MacBook currently behaving as that crossover device, Apple has now pitched the Mac mini towards creatives and professionals.
That might sound crazy, but you know what? It works. This is a fantastic little device in its own right, but paired with an eGPU (or a few additional Mac minis) and you have got a strong machine for heavy duty tasks. By being accessible in such a manner, in addition to letting you use your monitor and peripherals, you have got an extremely flexible device.

Additionally, it is very competitively priced compared to other small form factor computers that offer comparable levels of performance. We have been waiting a very long time to get an upgraded Mac mini, but in our opinion it's definitely been worth the wait.