"Never settle for less than your dreams.
Somewhere, sometime, someday, somehow, you'll find them

- Danielle Steel, Bittersweet.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Gadget of the Week - Apple Mac Mini

We haven't featured computers in a while, and this does not in any way mean there is a lack of innovative computing devices.Last week, we highlighted the unique Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.

Our gadget today is not exactly new, but its novelty and uniqueness endures. It has with every new iteration, become smaller albeit powerful.
Say hello to Apple Mac Mini.

Mac Mini is a small computing device that when it comes to PC, can be equated to this:

Mac Mini measures 7.7 inches (19.7 cm) square, and rises 1.4 inches (3.6 cm).
According to Apple, Mac Mini is mini in a massive way.

All that is needed to use the Mac Mini is a HDMI display, a keyboard and a mouse. The mouse and keyboard have to support either USB or Bluetooth functionality.

Where it stands out

Unlike other Apple products, Mac Mini is quite affordable (see pricing and availability below).
Another thing about Mac Mini is the way it has both Thunderbolt digital video output and HDMI video output. It also has 4 USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot and Gigabit Ethernet ports. Full specifications..

Mac Mini, unlike many other competing devices has the signature Apple 'unibody' design. This means the body of Mac mini is carved from a single block of Aluminum. This results in a sturdy, compact and light design.

Expert Reviews

Tech Radar wasn't all that impressed with the upgrade that Mac Mini received in 2014, saying
The Mac mini gets a new processor, upgraded Wi-Fi and Thunderbolt 2, but its lack of upgradability and a quad-core option may be a deal-breaker for some.

This is especially because the RAM on Mac Mini cannot be upgraded, the computer cannot run 4K video at 60Hz and still doesn't have quad core processors.

PC Mag looks at both ends of Mac Mini, saying:
The latest Apple Mac mini has more competition to contend with than its predecessor did, but it still manages to hold its own, and then some. It is better connected and more cost effective. Its only true drawback is the lack of internal memory expansion, and that's something that's becoming commonplace among Macs and Windows PCs every day.

Macworld UK has this to say about the notable low power consumption of Mac mini:
The last time we measured a Mac mini it was drawing just 10 W of power from the mains when at the idle desktop. Today’s most affordable Mac mini was found to have just 5 W requirements, rising to a maximum of 40 W when running flat out. That figure of 5 W is startlingly low, another important tick in the mini’s pros list. 

User Opinions

This photo comment is by someone who connected Mac Mini to a big-ass LG monitor.

Sparkk TV is a happy Mac Mini user, who finds it even faster and more powerful than advertised:
I have the new $499 base model with 4GB Ram & 1.4ghz processor. I find the model is very good and fast. I do alot of photoshopping and video editing and find that the low Ram and low processor is alot faster than the reviews are saying. I am able to do everything with this model no problem. I ran into the rainbow spinner one time and that was Finder not responding and just relaunched it, no other problems however. I was even able to get the model on sale for $50 cheaper as I had Best Buy match an online price. I feel this little Mac Mini can do alot more than what is advertised. It's very powerful with the specs it comes with, which is the same as the Macbook Air.

Daves is quite upset given the time and effort put into resolving the Mini's inability to play 4K video, despite Apple's claims that it does.
Doesn't support 4K monitors, even though specs say it does. After spending 6 weeks going back and forth with Apple support, and about 20 hours of my time, returned product to Apple, epic failure. The pixel clock is limited to 165 MHz which is not enough to drive 4K monitors.

Pricing and Availability

Mac Mini starts at $499 Ksh 45,679.
On Amazon, a 2.5 GHz, dual core Intel i5 Mac mini costs $599.

* * *

On the Mac mini web page, the computer is described as powerfully petite. In music circles, Avril Lavigne is a petite rock-star whose music is without a doubt powerful. And yes, she does love songs. Here is a track that echoes the undeniable fact that big things indeed come in small packages.