Pros Awesome design; easy set up; connectivity options; upgraded processor and graphics; easy to upgrade memory; dead quiet.
Cons No optical drive or keyboard; expensive for features.
Summary Since this was my first Mac, I went with the cheaper version and so far, it is working very well for what I need. Several people are giving the more expensive model negative reviews, focusing on things such as Apple's decision making and the value of the product. Yes, they are very valid points for the $799 version but in my opinion, not as salient with the cheaper version. For someone like me who already has all the peripherals, doesn't plan on fully integrating it into my home theater system, and just wanted to try out a Mac without spending $800 for more memory and dedicated graphics card (or $1200 for an iMac), this is a GREAT option. Yes, for the same $, I could have had another Dell with a slightly faster processor and graphics card, more memory, and keyboard, but I guess I needed a change and wanted to see why many of my friends swear by Mac over PC. I love my iPod and iPhone but also like Windows 7.
No optical drive: I think Apple is making a good decision...but probably a bit too early. Like a lot of people, I still use DVDs to back up pictures, documents, and videos but to be honest I'm getting tired of all my extra CD's and DVD's lying around for software, operating systems, Office, etc. Apple is right: most everything one would need is available for download via the Internet and flash storage may be the wave of the future. At some point I will probably upgrade the memory to 4 GB (~$40) and get an optical drive for <$50 or put it on an Xmas wish list.
Games/graphics: I already have a PS3 so I don't have a need for a Blu Ray player or high powered gaming system. However, my Mac Mini played Half Life 2 perfectly at full resolution and I believe specs. I'm not sure if it will handle some of the newer games as easily without changing the resolution, game specs, or upgrading the memory. But I rarely have time to play games anyway. Had this unit not played this game and our HD videos from our camera so well, I would have had to consider the more expensive option, which I really didn't want to do. Wife would definitely have grounds to get peeved!
Other features: I'm really enjoying the built in email feature b/c I've had many problems with MS Outlook. I'm also starting to get into iPhoto. Much better system than using the software that came with my Nikon Coolpix S9100. Pics and HD videos look great. In fact, this was the main reason I needed a new desktop b/c my 2004 Dell (upgraded hard drive, power supply, and memory in 2008) could not play the HD videos properly. Plus, it was slowing down and was just plain old outdated. Fortunately, I live about 15 minutes away from an Apple store so their excellent customer service (from what I've read) is right around the corner.
If you're in the same boat as me, you'll probably enjoy the new Mac mini. Granted, you may have to spend a bit more $ for an optical drive and USB hub if you don't already have one (the 4 get used up quickly!). I also bought the wired Apple keyboard b/c it's really nice and my Logitech was getting old and used a PS2 cable. You could consider a used Mac Mini from last year as I did. It has a CD/DVD drive but from what I've read, the processor was and is now outdated. Good luck!
Pros - Portability. Great for travel if you happen to have the necessary peripherals.
- Gestures compatible.
- Can be used as a dedicated iTunes server (I have NAS)
- File server integration with iPad 2, iPod touch and my MBP.
- Nice display with an HDMI.
Cons - Price-wise, one would probably expect an optical disk drive. I didn't feel it was necessary so I went ahead with the purchase.
- Only 500 GB.
Summary All in all, I'm glad I didn't get an iMac because the mini has great potential as a portable unit as long other peripherals are handy. It has an elegant design which can be added to using the USB, firewire, and thunderbolt ports.
I really don't see why other reviewers knocked this unit. Maybe pricing issue and its memory are good arguments but I found they weren't compelling for me not to like it.
"A Fne Computer"on by bzzman
Pros OS X Lion, Core i5, Sandy Bridge, 500GB hard drive,SMALL!!!!
Cons Optical Drive, 2GB RAM (a problem for some, not me!)
Summary Great intro Mac. It's VERY fast, and I'm typing this on my Mac mini right now!
Pros Easily upgradable Memory, great OS, low power use, very quiet, takes up almost no desk space
Cons No optical drive, adapter required for VGA monitor, relatively small hard drive, low base memory
Summary Overall, this is a great machine for people wanting to switch to Mac OS X. The industrial design is almost a work of art and the Mini runs so quiet that you may think you're in an art museum. It will take up almost none of your desk space, mine fits nicely under my LCD monitor.
The graphics card is decent for my use, but I strongly suggest upgrading your system RAM to at least 4GB to get the best your graphics card can offer, since the graphics card shares RAM with your CPU. I upgraded my RAM to 8GB for under $50.
Most users will need to by a display port/thunderbolt adapter to hook up their monitor, and while they are at the Apple store, they should probably invest in the Magic Trackpad to have an "optimum" experience. Though it is good for my needs, if you save many files on your computer, you may want to upgrade from the 500GB hard drive.
I'd recommend the Mac Mini to almost anyone but power-users.
Pros easy setup, does wired and wireless.
Cons No drives.
USB 2 ports only
Slow for blu-ray type videos
Very few wireless multimedia keyboard options.
limited video codecs
Summary I got a new TV and wanted a multimedia device. My other TV has a Dell Zinio (Dell no lnger sells them). I have a iPad 1 and iPhone 3gs so thought a mac mini would compliment the other devices.
First off I work in the tech world but primarily with Windows and Linux. Office365/2010 is my primarily workspace.The last Mac I used on was a G4. I do support macbook airs so I see/use the interface enough to understand it.
The Mac Mini is overpriced. I purchased one with a upgraded harddisk so that I could get 7200RPM, 5400 is not enough for HD movies with something running in the background. I also got an additional 4GB (to bring it to 5GB) from cruicial.
Before putting in the additional memory I set it up and transfered a couple of Blu-ray files. When running them it did spudder every minute of so. I gave up after 15 minutes. I then put in extra ram and things did work better.
My next goal was to backup my system. I have a real NAS and wanted to use Time Machine with it, no go becuase it was not directly hooked up to machine (per Apple support). I also use a online service (CrashPlan) which I bprimary use for files, documents, but not for imaging. To do that I would need to purchase a Time Cap.
After 2 weeks I returned the Mac Mini to a Apple Store (I brought it online) then walked over to a MS Store and purchased one of the last Dell Zinio. The Zinio has a larger HD, more RAM, and connected to my system without any issues.
Last note my house is wired Cat5E with 100/1000 switches.