If you wish to get an Apple Mac with out breaking the financial institution, the Mac mini and MacBook Air are your two finest bets. Though the 2 gadgets are fairly totally different, they’re each wonderful machines for creatives who make the most of the Apple ecosystem.
That stated, there are some areas the place they actually cannot be in contrast. For instance, the Mac Mini lacks a show, inner battery, and digital camera, so the MacBook Air is the apparent selection if you happen to want these options. But this comparability is hardly a foregone conclusion, and the Mac Mini gives lots that can attraction to inventive customers.
On this information, we’ll focus totally on the M1 variations of every gadget, see our MacBook Air M1 assessment, our Mac Mini M1 evaluations for extra particulars. Additionally be aware that you would be able to nonetheless purchase an Intel-based Mac Mini. Each machines are anticipated to be up to date this spring, so our steerage might change sooner or later. However by the top of this text, it’s best to have a good suggestion which one you can purchase.
When you determine which is best for you, try the very best offers on each our MacBook Air offers or Mac Mini offers pages, or try in the present day’s finest costs beneath.
Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air: Design
That is the most important distinction between Mac Mini and MacBook Air. We’ll begin with the latter. The MacBook Air is Apple’s lightest laptop computer, weighing 1.29 kg and measuring 30.41 cm by 21.24 cm. It’s 1.61cm at its thickest level. This small footprint makes it good if it’s important to work on the go and go to totally different purchasers. Like all Macs, it is fabricated from stable aluminum.
Then again, the Mac Mini is a desktop Mac that isn’t designed to be moveable, because it lacks an inner battery. It is nonetheless small – 19.7cm by 19.7cm and three.6cm tall – and is straightforward to cover behind a monitor. Just like the MacBook Air, the Mac Mini is made out of aluminum, which makes it very sturdy. Each merchandise are superbly designed, however the MacBook Air is extra moveable.
Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air: Connectivity
Whether or not you go for the M1 or the Intel Mac Mini, it is the clear winner over the MacBook Air with regards to connectivity. The MacBook Air is proscribed to only two Thunderbolt 3 ports (with switch speeds of as much as 40Gb/s) and a headphone jack.
The M1 Mac Mini, however, has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 slot and Ethernet connector, and a headphone jack. And if you happen to go for the Intel mannequin, you may get every thing from the M1 model, plus two extra Thunderbolt 3 ports. If it’s essential join quite a lot of exterior gadgets and do not need to end up in dongle hell, the Mac Mini has a definite benefit over the MacBook Air.
Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air: Options
The MacBook Air has some helpful options that you simply will not discover on the Mac Mini. Most clearly, it comes with a built-in show. It really works with the P3 coloration gamut, which is important in inventive work, and has a 720p webcam. There’s additionally the Magic Keyboard and the included Contact ID button – nice for logging into your accounts and confirming purchases. It might probably assist an exterior show of as much as 6K decision at 60Hz.
The Mac Mini is a barebones gadget, and as such it lacks the show, webcam, keyboard, and Contact ID of the MacBook Air (although, you should purchase all of those your self). Talking of the show, the Mac Mini can join to 2 exterior displays – one at as much as 6K decision at 60Hz and the opposite at as much as 4K decision at 60Hz.
Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air: Efficiency
Evaluating the efficiency of the Mac Mini and MacBook Air is an attention-grabbing sport as a result of they each use precisely the identical chip: the Apple M1. It is an extremely spectacular chip, one that may sustain with dearer rivals. Get any of those computer systems and you will be completely happy.
Impressively, the MacBook Air manages this whereas being fully fanless in addition to fully silent. However that does not imply the Mac mini is a loud machine—it is nonetheless barely audible. In different phrases, no gear goes to distract you throughout your work.
Observe that the Mac mini could possibly transfer a bit on extra demanding duties due to its fan, however the distinction will likely be minor. There’s additionally a high-end Intel Mac Mini, however it’s anticipated to be phased out quickly, changing the M1 Professional or M1 Max fashions.
Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air: Software program/Compatibility
Each the Mac Mini and MacBook Air use macOS as their working system, which suggests they each have entry to the identical apps. You may set up apps from the official App Retailer or third-party web sites, and each machines may also run iOS apps natively.
Although M1 Macs just like the Mac Mini and MacBook Air run on a unique software program structure to Intel-based Macs, there is not any want to fret about incompatibilities. Each Macs use a device known as Rosetta 2, which “interprets” Intel apps in order that they will run on the M1 laptop. You don’t have anything to do, as a result of it’s all automated. Plus, builders are updating their apps with native M1 assist – for instance, Adobe apps like Photoshop and Illustrator run flawlessly.
Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air: Worth
Given their spectacular efficiency, each the Mac Mini and MacBook Air are wonderful worth for cash. You will get the MacBook Air for $999 / £999, which is a superb deal contemplating the M1 chip and a very good show with assist for the P3 large coloration gamut is vital to creatives. You can even elevate the case
The Mac Mini is much more reasonably priced at $699/£699 and is the most affordable strategy to get the M1 chip. It would not include a monitor, mouse, or keyboard, however you in all probability will not fret if you have already got one. Our greatest displays for mac mini and finest mice would possibly turn out to be useful if not. If the M1’s efficiency is your precedence, the Mac mini is value contemplating for its low worth of entry.
Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air: Verdict
Deciding whether or not to decide on a Mac mini or a MacBook Air will depend on your wants. In case you journey lots for work, assembly purchasers and dealing on the go, the MacBook Air will likely be a significantly better match for you. Its light-weight type issue and wonderful efficiency imply it will not maintain you again while you’re away from residence.
Then again, the Mac Mini is ideal if you happen to do not want one thing moveable. It has much more ports, can hook up with extra exterior displays, and its built-in fan means you will get extra efficiency than a MacBook Air, even when they’re sharing the M1 chip.
Both manner, the MacBook Air and Mac Mini are each nice machines for inventive work. You will not remorse getting it.