"Love It--Detailed Review"5.0 starson by elob
Pros: Wonderful small design, very quiet, faster than similarly-priced PC's, top notch included software
Cons: Should have more included RAM
Summary: Spend a day with the Mac Mini and you'll understand what by-the-numbers comparisons can never tell you. The joy of using a machine that's so well thought-out goes hand-in-hand with increased productivity. The Mac is as small as it looks. I put mine on my desk's slide-out keyboard shelf, so my desk appears to have nothing but a monitor. It's very quiet, faster than my not-quite-so-budget HP (though certainly not as fast as a professional model computer), and has amazing software for music, movies, photos, etc. I also picked up Microsoft Office which works just as well on the Mac as on the PC. As a legal professional with no high-end graphics needs (it does fine with my amateur-level Photoshop work), the Mac Mini works fine as my main computer. Hard-core gamers, graphics pros, and the like probably won't be looking at this machine anyway.
For me, the lack of included extras was a big plus. I bought a very nice flat-panel display (the Mini supports any VGA or DVI display) and would prefer to keep that when I upgrade the computer in two or three years. With the Mini, I have that option. I also wanted to choose my own keyboard and mouse, so the Mini is good in that way as well.
Expansion is a mixed bag. On one hand, this computer has both FireWire and USB 2.0, so nearly any accessory can simply be plugged in. I also ordered with Bluetooth and WiFi support. If you're interested in either of those, get them when you are buying the Mini. On the other hand, if you need PCI cards, the Mini is clearly not your machine. The included RAM is not enough. Although you should use high-quality RAM from an authorized retailer (or face stability consequences), there are deals to be found. Most users will feel more comfortable letting the dealer install the RAM, although I installed mine by myself with no problems. Half a GB of RAM will work for most users.
Since the RAM issue can be addressed when ordering, I didn't deduct a point for it. And frankly, I'm in love with the computer in every other respect. It does everything a computer in this price class ought to do, it is way smaller and quieter than any others, and it performs with the high class of beautifully intuitive design. Some may prefer Windows for whatever reason, and some certainly will need more power than a sub-$1000 machine could offer. But for everyone else, Apple hit this one out of the park.