Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The 2018 Mac Mini

Apple wisely seeded Marco Arment with a Mac Mini review model:

It’s the same size as the old one, which is the right tradeoff. I know zero Mac Mini owners who really need it to get smaller, and many who don’t want it to get fewer ports or worse performance.

The point of the Mac Mini is to be as versatile as possible, addressing lots of diverse and edge-case needs that the other Macs can’t with their vastly different form factors and more opinionated designs. The Mac Mini needs to be a utility product, not a design statement. (Although, even as someone tired of space-gray everything, I have to admit that the Mini looks fantastic in its new color.)

This new Mini is one of the best updates Apple has shipped recently for the Mac. I know it’s more expensive than the previous model, but I really think that this is a clear instance of “we don’t ship junk”. I say that not necessarily because it’s more powerful in CPU benchmarks than any other Mac, save the iMac Pro and the highest-end Mac Pro configuration — though that’s very nice — but because it’s a product that is very capable in almost every aspect. The only exception to that is graphics performance; but, if that’s important to your workflow, you can pick up an external GPU for maximum power in that regard and have a truly excellent, albeit highly modular, system. I don’t mean this as a slight: I hope the next update is not also four years in the making.

The biggest downside to the new Mac Mini, to my eyes, is that there are simply no good Thunderbolt 5K displays out there. That market just doesn’t exist yet.