Mac mini M2 evaluation: Apple’s cheaper, tiny however mighty laptop | Apple

Mac mini M2 evaluation: Apple’s cheaper, tiny however mighty laptop | Apple

Apple’s least expensive desktop laptop has had a value reduce and an influence improve – making it one of many smallest, least expensive and most adaptable Macs but.

The Mac mini begins at £649 ($599/A$999) – £50 lower than the 2020 mannequin – and has Apple’s newest M2 or M2 Professional chips as used within the MacBook Air and MacBook Professional to nice impact.

The tiny aluminium field is concerning the dimension of a hardback e-book, measuring slightly below 20cm both sides and fewer than 4cm thick. It’s straightforward to suit nearly wherever: on a desk, mounted below one, in a TV cupboard, on the again of the monitor, caught to a wall – wherever you’ll be able to attain with an influence cable.

Mac mini M2 evaluation: Apple’s cheaper, tiny however mighty laptop | Apple
The facility button is on the again. It has a small speaker for fundamental sounds, however no microphones or cameras. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Like a traditional desktop PC you merely plug the Mac mini right into a display, keyboard and mouse, all of which could be purchased with it at nice expense – or you should use your present gear. I related an Asus 4K monitor and Logitech Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to the mini to set it up, utilizing them in the course of the size of the evaluation with out situation.

It runs macOS 13.2 Ventura like all current Macs and has the identical screen-sharing and proximity options because the MacBook laptops. Which means you should use a current iPad as a second display, use the hooked up mouse and keyboard to manage an iPad or different Mac and use an iPhone as a wi-fi webcam, which works very well.


  • Processor: Apple M2 or M2 Professional

  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 24GB or 32GB

  • Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 8TB SSD

  • Working system: macOS 13.2 Ventura

  • Connectivity: wifi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 2x USB-A, 2 or 4x USB 4/Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, headphones

  • Dimensions: 197mm x 197mm x 35.8mm

  • Weight: 1.18kg to 1.28kg

M2 energy and effectivity

The bottom of the Mac mini M2.
A plastic foot stands out of the bottom to barely raise the mini’s aluminium body. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The brand new M2 and M2 Professional chips provide first rate efficiency positive aspects on the earlier M1 and M1 Professional chips, with a ten% to twenty% enchancment in CPU pace and as much as 25% quicker graphics. That places them on the prime of the pile alongside a few of Intel and AMD’s newest prime chips, however at a lot decrease energy consumption, and an enormous leap over earlier Intel-powered Macs.

With that degree of efficiency, the Mac mini has turn out to be not only a small Apple laptop however certainly one of its extra highly effective and adaptable choices. The M2 model will probably be greater than sufficient for many common computing duties, with the dearer M2 Professional choice and as much as 32GB of RAM accessible for many who want extra energy. It sits under the Mac Studio, which is a beefed up model of the mini for many who want much more graphics or computing energy.

The great thing about the Mac mini is that it runs basically silently. It has a fan that you may really feel gently blowing out the again for those who put your palms over it, however you’ll be able to’t hear it below regular use. When pushed laborious whereas gaming or processing giant quantities of knowledge, the fan turns into solely nearly audible if you actively pay attention out for it.

It has a strong number of ports, however they’re all on the again, making them extra awkward to entry for issues similar to plugging in USB flash drives. There may be ethernet, HDMI 2.1, headphones, two USB-A ports and two or 4 Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports relying on the model.

You possibly can join as much as two displays without delay to the M2 and as much as three to the M2 Professional, which will probably be greater than sufficient for even probably the most elaborate desk setups.


The top of the Mac mini showing the Apple logo.
The solid-feeling physique of the Mac mini will get just a little heat throughout intensive duties, however in any other case stays impressively cool. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Mac mini is manufactured from 40% recycled supplies, together with aluminium, uncommon earth components, tin, gold and plastic. Apple breaks down the pc’s environmental influence in its report. The M2 Professional model consumes lower than 0.5W when asleep, about 3W at idle, round 5W for gentle work and as much as 50W when pushed, with a most rated draw of 185W.

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The pc is usually repairable. Apple publishes restore manuals for its computer systems and gives trade-in and free recycling schemes, together with for non-Apple merchandise.


The Mac mini begins at £649 ($599/A$999) for an M2 chip with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Fashions with the M2 Professional begin at £1,399.

For comparability, the MacBook Air M2 begins at £1,249, the 14in MacBook Professional M2 Professional begins at £2,149, the 24in iMac prices £1,399,


The Mac mini has lengthy been Apple’s smallest laptop, however a little bit of an outlier subsequent to its different widespread shopper desktop, the iMac.

Moderately than an all-in-one, it’s a bring-your-own display and peripherals system – a extra acquainted idea on the Home windows PC facet of the pc divide. However with the shrinking of the iMac line to simply the 24in model from 2021, and with the relaunch of Apple’s personal show line, the Mac mini is poised as the brand new desktop Mac for all styles and sizes.

The beginning M2 model has sufficient efficiency for many, whereas the M2 Professional gives extra energy than many will want exterior computing intensive workloads. And all packed right into a tiny, power-sipping and quiet-running field that, relying on which model you purchase, is surprisingly good worth for a Mac. There’s little that may actually compete with the Mac mini exterior a number of area of interest and costly small form-factor gaming packing containers or DIY computer systems.

It’s not excellent as desktop computer systems go since you can’t add extra RAM or storage after buy – although you should use an exterior drive. An absence of ports on the entrance makes plugging in flash drives and different momentary peripherals extra fiddly than it must be, the identical because the iMac. However it’s straightforward to dwell with, whether or not you might be utilizing Apple’s fancy shows, mice and keyboards or not.

Execs: super-fast M2 or M2 Professional chips, quiet and funky working, tiny field, good worth for a Mac, loads of ports, adaptable, numerous recycled supplies, can run two or three shows.

Cons: no entrance ports, no SD card slot, RAM or SSD can’t be upgraded after buy, built-in speaker is only for fundamentals.