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on 3 December 2012
I'd been looking for a desktop Mac to compliment my MacBook and initially was looking at the iMac, having had one previously I know just how great they are, but what concerns me with the iMacs is that when you want to upgrade you have to change the entire system, screen and all! For about the same price, you can buy the Mac Mini and a 27in Thunderbolt screen, giving you pretty much the same identical system, but with the advantage of being able to upgrade the main computer unit at a later date without having to get rid of your monitor, which proves to be very cost saving!

As with any Mac, it was up and running within minutes of me getting it out of the box and I was away and working with all my applications downloaded / installed in minutes ready to get to work! It comes with Mountain Lion installed, although it needed the latest update, that didn't take long to do.

The inclusion of USB 3.0 on the latest version of the Mac Mini is a huge bonus and allowed me to add a large capacity external hard drive for much more storage space for all my photo and video library, yet it still copies files as quickly as having the drive mounted internally. You can use the Thunderbolt port to add external storage, but prices are still very high for Thunderbolt enabled devices compared to USB 3.0 and the advantages are limited given hard drives can't get anywhere near the USB 3.0 data transfer limit. The one great thing about Thunderbolt is that with the Apple 27in Thunderbolt monitor, it acts as a hub for your other devices with more Thunderbolt and USB ports, not to mention the speakers and a built-in webcam, all of which get configured automatically once you plug it in.

I've upgraded this with an SSD myself, it is a bit fiddly to get to the hard drive be honest but well worth it in terms of performance boost. I wouldn't recommend doing it if you're an absolute beginner as there is the potential to damage the internals, but I also wouldn't recommend paying Apple's prices for their own SSD upgrades!

With the SSD it now sits there almost silently and because it is so small it can be hidden away off the desk. You can get a 3rd party caddy that screws under the desk to hold it in, which is a nice neat solution. With an HDMI port on the back you can easily hook up two monitors - one via the Thunderbolt port and one via the HDMI and it sorts everything out automatically for you with no effort required configuring anything.

A quality product as you'd expect from Apple. Well worth considering against an iMac - though I realise the new iMac's are super thin and look very cool! I'm hoping that Apple will update the 27in display soon to the new thinner model they have on the 27in iMac.
33 comments| 50 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Beautifully designed powerful desktop Mac. Absolutely Love it!

If you're like me, you'll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new Mac. In my case I already have a MacBook Pro and wanted an additional machine for my daughter, and this fits the bill beautifully.

Here's why...

Quick word of warning first - if you already own a MBP or MBA and want a techie comparison with the iMac best skip this review. I've come from a Windows background, and I'm not an expert on the Apple mac line-up, and this is meant for similar non-experts.

Firstly, the hardware - which is all held in a small aluminium box at about 8 x 8 inches and about 1.5 inches tall.

In terms of hardware you get:-

* * 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel processor with 4Gb of Memory (Terrifically Fast and powerful !)
* * 1 Terabyte hard drive (Gigantic amount of space for photos and videos). Put this in context - a thousand Gb!
* * A Firewire 800 port (to connect a very fast external disk)
* * 4 USB 3.0 ports (to connect a keyboard, external disks or other stuff)
* * HDMI port - to connect to an external screen or TV
* * Thunderbolt connection (Apple's own connection for an external screen or very fast disk)
* * Audio line - for a headphone
* * Gigabyte Ethernet port - for the internet
* * WIFI connectivity plus Bluetooth
* * SDXC card - so you can transfer photos
* * Preinstalled Mac OS X and iLife (free upgrade to the latest operating system Mavericks)
*

* What you don't get:

* External monitor (I recently upgraded to a Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 24 inch IPS Widescreen LED Monitor and Love it)
* Keyboard (You may well already have one). The Apple Wireless Keyboard is brilliant (but expensive)
* Mouse (I'd HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Apple Magic Trackpad - it's wonderful to use).

Apple hardware (when comparing by pure spec) is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you really do get what you pay for, and they come with incredible attention to detail, and beautifully designed inside and out.

In this case of this particular device, it is:-

* Unbelievably quiet. Almost no noise at all
* Wonderfully small and compact - takes up almost no space on the desk
* Looks beautiful
* Incredibly easy to upgrade the memory (just unscrew the base)

The only complaint I have is, all the connections are at the back - including USB ports, and it gets a bit cramped (I have two USB devices where the plug is too wide). I soon solved this by adding a set of external USB ports. Other than that - it's an wonderful.

As a prior Windows laptop user, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying a Apple Magic Trackpad. The multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation, and actually worth the extra money. You can scroll down web pages (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), and the "System Preferences" window where you can configure the options includes a handy video demonstrating the options available. It's hard to over-state the benefit of this. It's so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

If you really want to complete the "Apple" look - I'd recommend a genuine Apple keyboard as well. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There's a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course this machine no longer comes with a DVD/CD drive - but even still all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing.

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I'd have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music to my Hi Fi speakers via an Apple TV. It's worth noting - you can stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

Although I don't often play games, I'm told this is not a "serious" gaming machine, for for web use or video streaming it's more than capable. I can't really comment more than that.

In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* iPhoto - to import, edit and manage photos - including from the "cloud" (any photos taken on an iPhone or iPad)
* Garage Band - a drum machine on your laptop
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Calendar, Mail and text editor etc
* Reminders - to remind you

Since I bought mine some time ago, Apple announced anyone buying a new machine will also get a free copy of Pages, Numbers and Keynote (their presentation program) - but I'm not 100% sure if this includes this model. Even if you don't these are only around £10-£15 each - not the £100-£150 we're used to paying for Word. Excel and PowerPoint.

During the past 18 months I've also noticed how the OS is becoming even more integrated with the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. For example, you can now write a Pages or Numbers or Keynote (Word, Excel or PowerPoint for the rest of us) on a Mac and then view and edit them on an iPad (and the software is also free on a new iPad). You can also set a reminder on your iPhone and see it pop up on your Mac, or take a photo on your iPhone and see it appear (no wires, in fact completely automatic) on your Mac in the iPhoto application. This may not be a compelling reason to buy THIS particular model, but it is a great advantage if you already have (or plan to buy) and iPhone or iPad.

Finally, you can of course also upgrade this little machine. The two most popular upgrades are:-

* Memory - it comes with 4Gb - but can be increased to 8Gb or even 16Gb pretty easily
* Disk - I'd eventually replace the existing "Hard Disk" with a "Solid State Disk" - which will make this machine much faster, and add a few more years usage.

On balance - I'd have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it's hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine. Highly recommended

Hope you found this review useful - Many Thanks !
22 comments| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 September 2013
As an engineer I appreciate the build and design of this neat little package. I run both Macintosh and Windows 7 operating systems, the latter via Boot Camp. The Mac side is seamless and a pleasure to use. Windows works as well as a dedicated PC except for some of the operating system drivers supplied by Apple, particularly with Apple bluetooth keyboards, mice and trackpads. As these are software issues I have not reduced the rating but am somewhat unimpressed.

All in all, probably the best value for money of all Apple products.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 April 2014
I wanted a replacement for an old 15" laptop that I only use these days on a desk hooked upto a 24 " screen. I have other apple products (iphone, Ipad) so after reading alot of reviews on laptops, desktops, etc i went for this.
I wasn't put off by the "possibility" of a new unit being released "this year", there is no point as whatever you buy, it's already going to have a replacement/upgrade in the pipeline!!
I am very impressed with this little unit. It's quick, quiet and very small for a PC. I have two 24" screens hooked up, no issues connecting or running them. The utilities on the MAC pulled the data i wanted from my old PC very easily.
All in all I would recommend this unit to anyone (apart from serious gamers).
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on 30 April 2013
This is such a neat little package. If I wanted to transport it between sites it would easily fit into my manbag, leaving room for my lunch and a paperback. All the inputs and outputs line up in a row at the back together with the recessed On/Off switch. This arrangement may or may not be convenient in your layout. As both SD and USB slots are duplicated on the edge of my monitor it works very well for my desktop.
I use a bluetooth Apple keyboard and trackpad. The Mini drives a 24 inch Dell U2413 monitor via the Thunderbolt port using a lead that was supplied with the monitor: setup was straightforward. With the monitor sitting on a £12 Fellowes monitor stand and the box itself tucked out of sight directly underneath it, lead clutter has been minimised. I bought short (0.5m) ethernet and USB leads to connect to peripherals to keep things tidy.
The Mini's operation is invariably silent with the fan rarely audible though the operating temp is obviously dependent on the CPU load and how many cores are in use.
I decided to increase the RAM to 8GB (Corsair CMSX4GX3M1A1600C9 - about £45). No problems.
Inevitably, the Mini variants lacking an SSD or fusion drive take a bit of a speed hit although its overall performance is fine.

My only (minor) quibble - occasionally communication with the trackpad gets lost after startup for a second or two before the link re-establishes itself.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 June 2014
Having had to survive off my old Acer windows PC for the last 5months I decided now was the time to step back to a Mac. Unfortunately my MBP died in December and I thoiught I'd manage without it but I was wrong...

Windows is crap full-stop. Slow, bitty and useless with iTunes!

The Mac Mini was set-up in no time at all including upping the RAM to 8GB

I know that there are rumors that Apple keep threatening to either update these are discontinue them but they're still worth while buying
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 March 2014
Wonderful bit of kit easy to set up. Decided after 12 years of using windows on a PC a change was needed. I must admit I was surprised how easy and quick the new system is. I would recommend this apple product.
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on 24 April 2013
I chose this Mac because I grew weary of wrestling with different PC / laptop issues using them as Digital Audio Workstations.
With the 16GB upgrade, I installed my DAW and it worked flawlessly right away - perfect!!
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 December 2013
After my 4th PC gave up its life I thought that is enough! The last one was a custom built very heavy desktop with an i7 proc. Apart from that I am fed up with the forever upgrades from Microsoft, the frustrating slowness inbuilt with MS-OS whatever build they claim to improve on and the blue screens of death! So I took the plunge into the apple world and since it arrived I cant stop saying WOW !

Its smaller than a Morisons Victoria cream sponge ( if such is possible) and is so powerful and faster than a rabbit on steroids. There is the occasional SW upgrade but you get a nice pretty icon showing what it is and completely none intrusive. There is a mass of standard ports on the back apart from the apple thunderbolt. I am using my old ASUS screen for now but any screen with HDMI or DVI will do the job. I purchased the apple keyboard and DVD drive and got a wired a mouse on ebay as the apple magic mouse does not have such good reviews as you would expect.

The apps provided with the device are great too, Garageband is one of my favourites for music creation, maybe not as powerful as PROTOOLS but this is Free! There is a ton of free apps you can download and the 'pay for' apps are much cheaper than I expected.

So lots of wows - wow wow etc and 5 stars is not enough
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on 8 June 2014
Took a week to make my mind up to throw PC in the bin. I have an iPad ,iPhone ,iPod ,Apple tv so seemed only right to make the transition to mac. Glad I did ordered it came on time and was new sealed as expected. Good price too. Amazon and this seller delivered in every aspect of my order and apple did the rest once set up which was also painless and a pleasant experience.

Now I just have to order my samsung ssd 840,and 16gb crucial ram and 3t Toshiba ext hard drive for time machine and I think I can kiss good bye to my PC for ever :-)

Don't think about it just do it !!!!!
You wony regret it :-)
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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