Apple Mac Mini (M2 Pro, 2023) Review: The Missing Piece

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it’s easy to overlook the Mac Mini: Apple’s small, square PC isn’t particularly exciting. It’s not ultra-powerful like the Mac Studio, modular like the Mac Pro, or colorful like the 24-inch iMac. You can’t quite lug it around and work anywhere like you can with a MacBook. But it’s Apple’s most utilitarian machine, and that becomes more apparent with the 2023 refresh.

The new Mac Mini is similar to its 2020 predecessor, except it now uses Apple’s next-generation M2 and M2 Pro processors. That alone breathes new life into this compact system, as it’s a cheap plug-and-play solution that’s still powerful enough for content creators. The base price is more affordable than ever, starting at $599, and the Mac Mini is the cheapest way to access the M2 Pro processor at $1,299. The only other M2 Pro-powered Macs are the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which start at $1,999 and $2,499 respectively. The closest desktop alternative is the basic Mac Studio with an M1 Max chip for $1,999. But most people don’t need that much power.

It doesn’t have to be flashy. Whichever processor you get, the Mini is a smart and hassle-free way to get all the power most people need without draining your wallet – and you actually have a say in what kind of peripherals you need.

Build your own adventure

Photo: Apple

The Mac Mini still follows the BYODKM rule. The initialism, originally used by Steve Jobs when he announced the first Mac Mini in 2005, stands for “bring your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse,” because you only get the machine and a power cord in the box. You’ll definitely want to add a pair of speakers for when you’re not using headphones, as the built-in speakers aren’t pleasant.

This BYO design is great news if you already have those peripherals. Plug everything in and you’re good to go. Even if you start from scratch and build your workspace, it doesn’t have to be too expensive. There are tons of cheap and excellent keyboards, mice, and monitors you can buy that won’t drive up the cost. The machine itself is small and unobtrusive, so it’s easy to plan accessories around its footprint. And at 2.6 pounds, it’s lightweight and portable, making it great for hybrid workers who divide their time between home and the office.

If you prefer tons of screens around your workspace, then you might be disappointed to learn that the base Mac Mini still only supports two external displays, just like the M1-powered model. That’s enough for most people, but if you upgrade to the M2 Pro you can connect up to three displays to enjoy all that blue light.

Photo: Apple

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