The Mac mini is Apple’s version of an affordable desktop computer. A Mac mini has a square design and doesn’t come with a keyboard, mouse, or a monitor, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs once described as BYODKM (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse).
Although it doesn’t come with these accessories and is far smaller than an iMac desktop computer or a MacBook laptop computer, on the inside, the Mac mini offers the same macOS operating system. The Mac mini runs the macOS High Sierra operating system (released in September 2017), giving you access to all of the macOS features that you expect, such as the beautifully designed user experience, security, the connection to your iPhone, and apps like Keynote, iMovie, Garageband and more.
Many people consider the Mac mini as a good way of getting into the Apple ecosystem without spending a huge amount of money. A Mac mini will cost significantly less to buy than an iMac or a Macbook and there are additional savings when purchasing a refurbished Mac mini. But this is not the only reason why a Mac mini is a smart purchase for Apple fans on a budget.
Save Money Using Existing Equipment
If you already own a Windows PC desktop system then you’ll be glad to know that you can use your existing accessories with the Mac mini box.
The Mac mini 2014 (the most recently released version of the hardware) offers four USB 3 ports (which can transfer up to 5Gbps), an HDMI port, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet port too. This means that your existing PC desktop monitor, those headphones with the crisp audio quality, your keyboard, mouse, your Webcam and the other accessories that you own will all be compatible with your new Mac mini and you needn’t spend money on a new suite of kit if you have them already.
Mac Mini is Lightweight
Because of its lack of a screen and its lack of a battery, a Mac mini is not an out and out replacement for a laptop. However, if you are someone who enjoys the portability of a laptop, requires a desktop computer set-up and cannot afford to purchase both pieces of tech, then you can consider the Mac mini as a bridge between these two worlds.
The Mac mini is known for its lightweight design and Mac mini 2014 model weighs between 2.6 and 2.7 pounds, which is little more than a bag of flour. Its dimensions are also 1.4 inches x 7.7 inches x 7.7 inches meaning that it will fit into your backpack or satchel a lot easier than an iMac will. Once you reach your destination (be it your workplace, or a friend’s house), you can plug your Mac mini into the TV or computer monitor and make use of their keyboard and mouse too.
No Need for Software Subscriptions
Speaking of taking your Mac mini to work, another budget-friendly benefit of this piece of Apple hardware is that it offers a suite of macOS software.
As mentioned, Mac mini users have access to the macOS High Sierra operating system which includes several of the Apple software staples that you have probably heard of. This includes software such as iMovie, Garageband, FaceTime, Photo Booth, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Maps, and more which are all included for free. Apps like these are why macOS is so popular with students, writers and other thinkers and creative people.
Alternatively, on a Windows PC desktop, you can access Microsoft Office services (an annual subscription costs almost $100) and this solution is not ideal if you don’t have much money to spend.
As the Mac mini is a desktop, it has to be plugged into the mains power supply in order to run. But this small piece of hardware is no power hog; in fact, it’s remarkably power efficient.
According to Apple’s own statistics about the Mac mini 2014 model, the Mac mini of all processor tiers uses just 6 watts when it is in an idle state and at a maximum, it will use 85 watts. Buckle in for some maths: if you run the Mac mini at max power for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (the average cost for United States households according to NPR) then that costs $89.11 for the year (according to the calculator at electricity-usage.com).
The 21.5-inch Retina 4K iMac 2017 runs at 49 watts when idle and has a CPU max of 161 watts which is $168.78 for the year on full blast. By buying a Mac mini, you’ll potentially save tens of dollars on your electricity bill.
Ideal for Cord-Cutters
The Mac mini has access to a range of dedicate Mac apps for services such as Netflix and YouTube, and more. With its small size and its sleek, silver design, the Mac mini will also fit nicely alongside your television. Additionally, Apple Remote is compatible with the hardware and allows you to select media from across the room, functioning like a television set-top box and a normal TV remote. This is why many Mac mini users double-down, using the well-designed hardware as their desktop computer and as their TV media hub.
According to a new report by TDG Research (via Motherboard), 40% of Americans will have cut the cord by 2030; they will have ditched their paid TV subscriptions in favor of getting their TV content through Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other online streaming services There is fantastic content on these platforms and it’s far more affordable to get your TV through a streaming platform than it is to pay for cable.
If you’re one of the millions of people who are planning to go all-in on streaming soon then a Mac mini will help you do that. It can be your desktop PC and your TV content provider all in one.
Why Are Apple Products So Expensive?
Apple products are beautifully designed, brilliant quality and offer access to a suite of incredibly useful software, which often makes them very expensive to buy. Many people believe that if you want to buy an Apple product, then you’d better have a lot of money at the ready.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case and refurbished Apple products like the Mac mini offer a more affordable way into the Apple world. So if you’re on the lookout for a desktop that won’t burst the bank, consider this smaller Apple computer as a cost-friendly alternative.