Apple finally has a Mac mini that competes well against mainstream Windows PCs in the same price range, regardless of the new Fusion hybrid drive.
The good: Competitive specifications; speedy Fusion hybrid drive.
The bad: Fusion Drive is an expensive upgrade.
The new Apple Mac mini, updated with Intel's third-generation Core CPUs and a new Fusion hybrid hard drive option, brings improved value and welcome speediness to the most affordable Mac. The Core i7 chip and 1TB standard hard drive in our review model are both useful upgrades over the previous-generation Mac mini, and the US$250 Fusion drive, while turning our US$799 review unit into a US$1,049 purchase, offers a mostly noticeable performance improvement.
The Fusion option puts the Mac mini outside its familiar sub-US$1,000 territory, making it either an indulgence, or an appropriate upgrade for those with serious storage needs. Without the drive, the stock US$799 model offers a newly invigorated Mac mini that finally gives Apple a serious competitor to Windows PCs in the same sub-US$1,000 price range.
This review is based on tests done by our sister site CNET.com. As such, please note that there may be slight differences in the testing procedure and ratings system. For more information on the actual tests conducted on the product, please inquire directly at the site where the article was originally published. References made to some of the other products in this review may not be available or applicable in Asia.
No visual element of the new Mac mini has changed from the 2011 model, which itself was almost identical to the 2010 version. The only real difference on the outside of the new Mac mini is that it now has four USB 3.0 ports where the previous version used USB 2.0.