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Apple Mac Mini (2018)

Apple Mac Mini (2018)

from  $799+
2018 Mac Mini Review: A video editor's perspective

2018 Mac Mini Review: A video editor's perspective

Posted   11.14.18
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80 Engadget Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
80

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

The 2018 Mac Mini is the first new compact computer we’ve seen from Apple in four years. With an eighth-generation Intel processor and abundant connectivity, including four Thunderbolt 3 and two USB Type-A ports, the Mini is designed to be fast and flexible. Apple is positioning the new Mini as a “pro” machine, but we found that the lack of a dedicated GPU holds this system back. Still, if you don’t need particularly powerful graphics and are looking for a speedy desktop, the Mini has a lot to offer for both the size and the price.

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Pros
  • Compact design
  • Versatile port selection including USB Type-A and HDMI
  • Fast CPU performance
  • Least expensive Mac in Apple’s lineup
Cons
  • Limited graphics performance (and no meaningful way to improve it)
  • Upgrade options get expensive fast
  • RAM isn't technically user upgradeable
80 Engadget Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
80

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

80
 

User Reviews

90
Scott
It's a tiny computer that performs very well, reliable and rugged. Expandability...read more
80
Maxsmart
Really should have easier way to add memory and increase drive size.
20
Robert
The Mac Mini is not a cost-effective computer. It lacks basic internal upgradeability...read more
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Score Breakdown

 
76
Average user Score
 
90
Scott
06.11.19
It's a tiny computer that performs very well, reliable and rugged. Expandability is limited to mostly external devices, but for most use cases this isn't a factor.
 
80
Maxsmart
06.08.19
Really should have easier way to add memory and increase drive size.
 
20
Robert
06.07.19
The Mac Mini is not a cost-effective computer. It lacks basic internal upgradeability and expandability. By the time you configure a Mac Mini to make it a reasonably functional computer, it's costly enough that it's within a small amount of money of a similarly configured iMac. No point in buying the mini anymore. Since both suffer from poor upgradeability and expandability, you may as well buy the iMac and be done with it. You're buying a display and getting the computer as a freebie.
 
70
chinito77
06.07.19
I really can't image anyone not getting the i7 model unless you really need a the mini for some niche purpose. Even with 32GBs of RAM, things like VMware and video editing can slow it down a bit and cause the system to really heat up. Sometimes it forces itself into a power save mode, especially if I watch 4k videos at 60fps on YouTube. Despite these flaws, it performs well with anything else and I would recommend but only if you get the i7 model and more ram.
 
70
dejanb
06.06.19
It would be almost perfect if the price was not that high - you can buy a more powerful Intel NUK and a fanless enclosure for a fraction of the price and it becomes a much better living room PC.
 
80
Darrell
06.06.19
Great little computer with plenty of power. I'm a semi-pro photographer, It has plenty of power for photoshop and lightroom. i plug it into external storage via thunderbolt 3, and a 4k monitor. It sits there and does its job quietly. Thats all i needed.
 
90
Luuthian
06.06.19
My version: i7 6-core, 16GB ram, 1TB memory Overall extremely satisfied. Although I don't do do heavy professional work with the device I've found it to be extremely zippy with anything I've thrown at it, from emulation to web surfing, to minor gaming, etc. Yes it doesn't have a GPU, but it ran the Sims 4 on a 4k monitor at 30FPS on medium settings. That's all I really need in a device like this. You obviously are not purchasing a Mac for high end gaming. The form factor is great. Discrete, quiet, and with no massive power cable needed. If you're doing something really intense, like gaming, it can heat up a fair amount before those fans kick in. Just be mindful that you may want to use Fan Control to change temperature thresholds for the fans. The USB ports make this really expandable if you want an eGPU or the like. For my own use I don't require one, but having the option for the future is great. Overall I love it. My only gripe really is that you're stuck with Apple's memory options for storage space and they're clearly overpriced. The only alternative is an external drive which won't satisfy everyone. Aside from that it does exactly what you'd expect from a device in this form factor.
 
90
T
06.06.19
It works great as a Mac development desktop.
 
90
luca_xyz
06.06.19
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
90
James
06.06.19
My review differs a bit in that my Mac Mini is nearly spec'd out, w/ the i7, 64GB ram, 10Gb eth, and 1TB SSD, which I purchased as "refurbished" for only ~$2500 (compared to the original price of ~$3500+ if I remember correctly when it debuted). I'm a software engineer. I wanted the extra cores and memory to run multiple virtual machines and/or containers without having to worry about resources. I also own a spec'd out 2018 MacBook Pro 13", but felt constrained at times with my development needs, trying to squeeze everything into memory at once. The fact the new MacMini uses a desktop class CPU (prior generations used mobile processors) which in turn allowed it to support 64GB of ram (you can thank Intel for that restriction on their current gen of mobile processors) made this model a massive upgrade over not only my MacBook Pro but also prior generations of Mini's. I won't go into details, but I will say it's both noticeably faster than my MacBook Pro, and it's faster while simultaneously doing more things at the same time. As for GPU, I'm not a gamer or working in AI/machine learning/etc, so it's not a bother at all. However, if I were any of those things, I can almost guarantee that I'd be unsatisfied with anything Apple offered in the Mini anyways. The combination of Apple rarely using the latest/best GPU options in any of their products combined with the Mini's limited thermal capacity (which is already being consumed by the upgraded desktop-class CPU) means I'd undoubtably want to upgrade anyways. External GPU's are becoming far more common, and this is a perfectly fine tradeoff that also allows you to upgrade over time. Anything else would require a dramatic resizing of the Mini and also likely dramatic increase its price. Instead, they give us 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports to take advantage of if we so desire. Perfect for my needs, and even though many people may not feel it's enough, it's probably the only feasible solution without major tradeoffs. I'd be disappointed if they downgraded the CPU to a mobile (e.g. cooler but slower) variant and then included a mediocre GPU. It'd be a lose-lose situation. You'd have a slower machine overall, and still probably wanting faster GPU performance which would still require an external GPU. In the end, I'm not a fan of my computer being embedded into my monitor (unless it's my laptop) so I much preferred the Mini over the iMac. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. When it debuted, it was the fastest computer in Apple's lineup (on GeekBench) except for the spec'd out Mac Pro. That's pretty impressive given its form factor, and when you consider that, the price wasn't unreasonable at all. If I had any complaint, it would be that the SSD is integrated and cannot be replaced/upgraded, so don't be frugal when ordering. In general (up to a point) SSD performance and lifespan is improved with increased size. So go big or go home, because you won't have another opportunity. I've owned a variety of Mac Mini's over the years. Some at home, some colocated at server farms, etc. In my opinion, this is perhaps the best Mac Mini that's ever been made. It's a close call w/ the late 2012 + 2013 + early 2014 Mini. That model supported quad-core, and had not only upgradeable RAM but also dual upgradable HDD/SSD drive bays, which made it incredibly flexible in terms of configurations.