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

8 months ago
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it’s easy ignore the Mac Mini: Apple’s small, square computer isn’t particularly impressive. It’s not heavy-duty like the Mac Studio, modular like the Mac Pro, or colorful like the 24-inch iMac. You can’t carry it around and work anywhere like you can with a MacBook. But it’s Apple’s most utilitarian machine, and that’s more evident with the 2023 update.

The new Mac Mini is similar to its 2020 predecessor, except it now uses Apple’s next generation M2 and M2 Pro processors. This alone breathes new life into this compact system as it is a low cost plug-and-play solution that is 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 get access to the M2 Pro processor at $1,299. The only other Macs based on the M2 Pro are the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which start at $1999 and $2499, respectively. The closest desktop alternative is the $1999 base Mac Studio with the M1 Max chip. But most people don’t need that much power.

It shouldn’t be ostentatious. Whichever processor you get, the Mini is a smart and easy way to get all the power most people need without emptying your wallet – and you can really tell which peripherals to get.

Create your own adventure

Photo: Apple

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

This BYO design is great news if you already have these peripherals. Connect everything and you’re done. Even if you start from scratch and create your own workspace, it shouldn’t be too expensive. There are plenty of cheap and great keyboards, mice and monitors that you can get at no extra cost. The machine itself is tiny and unobtrusive, so accessories are easy to plan around. And at 2.6 pounds, it’s lightweight and portable, making it ideal for hybrid workers splitting time between home and office.

If you prefer lots of screens around your desk, you might be disappointed to learn that the base Mac Mini still only supports two external displays, just like the M1-based 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.

Mac Mini M2 and ports, rear view

Photo: Apple

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