I've ignored the Mac mini for 10 years. Now I get it

My Mac mini next to a speaker with a plant on top of it.
(Image credit: Future)

I've got a confession to make. I've never really paid attention to the Mac mini. As deals editor on Creative Bloq, I get excited about each rumour and release of iPad, MacBook, AirPod and iPhone. I nearly lost it when the Apple Studio Display was released. But for some reason the Mac mini never grabbed my attention – I never knew this little hero was hiding in plain sight. But today I think it's just about the most exciting thing that Apple is producing.

You see, I like finding the best products at the best prices for creatives. It's literally my job. Come Amazon Apple Prime Day, I'll be searching for quality tech that's both cool and useful for the maximum number of users. And that's the Mac mini right there. It's just as ideal for the average internet-browsing, film-streaming user, as for the juice-hungry working pro. And in both instances, you get it for a fantastic price (it's currently down from $599 to $529 over at B&H Photo). 

A Mac for the Average Joe

A side view of the Mac mini (M2 Pro) next to a small, gold dog figurine.

Small gold dog for scale. Kind of.  (Image credit: Future)

The entry level Mac mini (M2, 2023) is sold for $599, or $499 if you're a student – though I've already seen deals bringing it down to $499 for everyone. That's just wild when you think about it. That retail price is $100 less than the retail price of the M1 mini, and for that you get your Thunderbolt 4 ports (x 2), your Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, and of course, the mighty M2 chip. 

Now, there has been some grumbling about the speed of the entry level 256GB SSD for the M2, and we're well aware that the 256GB is considerably slower than the 256GB M1, or the 512GB SSD M2. But those facts need context, as we're thinking average Joes here: students and workers that browse, stream in 4K, maybe game a bit (though I imagine you'd have a console for that). For those users, the speed of the entry level SSD is fine. If you're a pro video editor, you may want to read on. 

Another thing I love is how the mini looks. This PC is small, petite even, and a nice antidote to all those bulking tower PCs in my past. That portability could also come in handy for a freelancer wanting a computer to take out to pitch at places they know there will be a screen to plug into, or a student who might be moving around a bit in the coming years (but if that's the case, you may want to think about the last word on portability, the M1 MacBook Air, my favourite laptop of all time). 

Grumble number two: you won't be able to upgrade the insides of your new M2 Mac mini. What you buy is what you get. But there are decent portable external hard drive options should you need more storage, so it’s not the end of the world. And really, average users won’t really be wanting more than the 8GB RAM on offer. Yes you can go for 16GB RAM for $200 more. But if you're doing that, you may actually want... 

A Mac for the juice-rinsing pros

A bird view of the Mac mini on a desktop, surrounded by monitor, speaker and a plant.

(Image credit: Future)

Long story short, the higher end versions of the M2, and especially the M2 Pro, are just as – if not more – impressive than the entry level model. It's silly fast, silly powerful, and also retains a relatively great price point for what you get. The M2 Pro is even benchmarking better than the M1 Max in the CPU department. That's wild. 

For all the details of what you get, you can check out our hands-on review of the M2 Pro version of the Mac Mini. But I think it's best summed up by comparing the M2 Pro mini to the M2 Pro MacBook Pro. They are the exact same computer, just one has a keyboard and display – and for that you will pay $1,999

For the Mac mini M2 Pro you pay $1,299. And I know you'll be able to find a monitor and keyboard for cheaper than the $700 difference... In fact, if you're a pro looking for your next Apple PC, you probably already own a decent monitor and keyboard. So the saving speaks for itself. And, of course, there's also the option to get a really premium display (here are some of our monitor picks for the Mac mini).

And that's why I now get the Mac mini. It's a beautiful computer that will bring a touch of class to any desktop. It also caters to the average Joes and the juice-rinsing pros, and both options are really good value for money. The truth is, I'm looking for my next PC. And I think I've found it. 

Want one? Check out the deals we've found below.

Beren Neale
Deals Editor

Beren has worked on creative titles at Future Publishing for over 13 years. Cutting his teeth as Staff Writer on the digital art magazine ImagineFX, he moved on to edit several creative titles, and is currently the Deals Editor on the most effective creative website in the world. When he's not testing and reviewing the best ergonomic office chairs, he can be found finding and comparing the best deals on the tech that creatives value the most.