Tech Dilemma #1 – iMac or Mac Mini?

As someone who loves the idea of being able to pack a tech powerhouse into a rucksack and operate on the move, I chose the Mac mini. Sure I won’t have the isight camera to do the Skype/Facetime/iChat thing but I hardly do it anyway, and I’ve already got a MacBook and an iPhone for such things. To me the Mac Mini is something that’s been around for quite awhile but it took me near enough four years to work out why it even existed. I’d love to have the iMac on my desk but what draws me towards the Mac mini is its portability factor and the power it packs. In comparison to the iMac, the Mac Mini has less power but it will go undetected in a working environment making it versatile, it moves when and wherever you move; in a rucksack, suitcase, overseas, external recording studio, from the home office to the boardroom meeting.

What’s this Mac mini that you speaketh?

The Mac mini is a machine that I can only describe as containing the core elements of a Mac, the fundamental mechanics packed neatly inside a Pandora’s box of possibility, main features being it’s ports; Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt I/O allowing you to connect up to six Thunderbolt devices including the new Apple Thunderbolt display. You can also connect third party displays by using the HDMI port and HDMI to DVI adapter that comes with the Mac mini to connect it. Apple generously included FOUR USB 2.0 ports to connect all manner of gadgetry from your keyboard, mouse, midi controller, iPad, iPhone, Audio Interface, external hard drive and the many etceteras one may own as well as an SDXC card slot, which makes grabbing photos and video from digital cameras MEGA simple. Audio in/Audio out ports, built in power supply. It’s gets even better to know that it has bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in, the latest 802.11n wireless technology in fact, so you can get straight to surfing the web, printing and streaming your music wirelessly. Bluetooth wireless technology also allows you to connect accessories such as a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The possibilities are endless with the Mac mini, it’s able to connect to the biggest TV available via the HDMI port, eliminating the need for a monitor, if like me you’ve got a Home (Bedroom Boardroom) Office/Studio, it packs a mahoooosive 500GB of storage or an optional 750GB hard drive at 7200rpm. There’s a 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 processor -Turbo Boost 2.0 increases the clock speed up to 3.4GHz, configurable memory up to 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3. It ships with OS X Lion and iLife -iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, GarageBand, FaceTime etc and for £66 you can even add a super drive for all your disk burning and installation requirements.

If the Mac Mini comes with a HDMI Port won’t it be better to pin my flatscreen to the wall via VESA wall bracket and use it as the monitor rather than to get the iMac?

As idealistic as it sounds, it’s pretty naive because when you add the extras such as wireless keyboard and mouse, Thunderbolt cable, Apple Care protection plan external superdrive as the Mac mini has no dvd/r drive of it’s own, configured to a 750GB 7200rpm hard drive, 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM memory and 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel i7 processor, the cost is a jaw dropping £1,409.00 inc. VAT.

The 21.5-inch iMac proves that the beauty is not only screen deep, it has the brains to match with LED backlit 1920×1080 resolution at 16:9 aspect ratio, a 1000:1 contrast ratio gives you much more vibrant colours and ‘blacker’ blacks. It’s basically the same as your HDTV. Invest in an iMac because although it may not be as portable as a Mac mini, the display has a 178 degree IPS (in-plane switch) premium display technology giving you a bright picture with excellent colour, even if you’re viewing from the side. You can even FaceTime in HD, yes you can have someone’s big ol facey in your screen and scrutinise every crater in their face, 720p resolution to be exact. Unlike the Mac mini the Magic Mouse or Trackpad and wireless keyboard come included, the magic mouse allows you to do everything you’re used to doing with a trackpad on the Macbook. The connections and expansions on the 21.5 are exactly that of the Mac mini, minus the HDMI port but if you already own a Mini DP to HDMI cable you’ll have no grievances.

£138.99 is an extremely fine line between the price of portability and versatility.

For £1,547.99 inc. VAT [optional extras were to boost memory to 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM (2x4GB) and Apple Care] you’ll get more than a desktop computer, you’ll get a versatile powerhouse. If portability is your main concern and you already have a powerhouse in the form of a Macbook Pro, I’d suggest to grab a Mac mini if you have the resources. I myself am all about making investments and as much as I love portability and my beloved 13″ Macbook, I really miss working on a desktop computer. The capabilities of the iMac are far greater, not to mention the extras; the storage, the power, the processing power, the iSight, the resolution of the screen. I almost feel like the iMac would make my creative life far more productive as I won’t have to squint and at times cram my ideas into a tiny screen.

Ghost. 

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3 thoughts on “Tech Dilemma #1 – iMac or Mac Mini?

  1. Since you do already have a MacBook Mac mini sounds like a good choice… I ran into this issue as well, but I went to IMac since it was first apple computer and I was didn’t want a laptop at the time, plus I wanted a good workstation since I didn’t have a decent flat screen in the house.

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    • It’s quite crazy because as space saving as the Mac mini is, the iMac can lighten the load off of my Macbook to become the hub of my office/studio setup. Another reason why I opted for an iMac is because for a difference of £138.99 I can have a better spec as opposed to a lower spec with the mini although I forfeit absolute portability but i still have my Macbook to play that position. I feel that the Mac mini is more hassle and less of a worthwhile investment whilst the iMac will be the Mothership to my Macbook which is the Fighter Jet and my iPhone which is the Jet Pack, and when I acquire an iPad that could be the Magic Carpet[?].

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