Should I buy the Apple Mac mini (2018) or Apple MacBook Air (2018)?
As the student life involves a far amount of mobility - travelling to lectures, libraries, the occasional coffee shop, and then possibly home for weekends and term breaks - it makes a good deal of sense to consider a laptop rather than a desktop Mac. While the screen sizes in MacBooks are smaller than iMacs, you can always find an inexpensive screen, or even your TV, and connect that to your MacBook when you need a larger display.
Then once you're done with the big screen, you still have your mobile powerhouse machine and all your files. However, there are some benefits to buying a Mac desktop.
The Mac mini, for example, is Apple's cheapest Mac despite having some pretty impressive specs. And if you are looking for the most power for the lowest price then the iMac will generally beat the MacBook Pro. One Mac that's easy to take off your shopping list is the iMac Pro.
It is a more powerful and more expensive machine than the average student will need. Unless you really are involved in some heavy number crunching or professional-level video editing, you won't need the sort of power it can provide. In a field like 3D animation you maybe enticed by a high-end 15in MacBook Pro or 27in iMac if portability isn't important to you.
But in the vast majority of cases you can confidently opt for a cheaper model. The new Mac Pro is absolutely overkill any student tasks - although it's possible a few specialist universities might invest in a few. We compare the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in detail here , but from the perspective of a student, here's what you'll want to keep in mind:. The 1. There are two versions of the 1.
Is the extra GB of storage worth the extra money? We don't think so. We'd recommend buying a separate hard drive for storing files on if you need the extra space, or paying for iCloud storage here's how much iCloud storage costs. This is the only port you will find on any new Mac laptop. If you want the older USB-A ports you would have to consider a second-hand Mac laptop, or a desktop Mac, get an adaptor , or just get rid of your old mouse and keyboard and invest in wireless.
There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the two 13in 2. Of course there are many more differences between those machines, and you could simply buy a multi-port dock if you really needed the extra ports here's our round up of the best USB C docks. If you need a higher speced machine then you may want to consider the 2.
The MacBook Air might look somewhat low-powered in comparison to the MacBook Pro, but if you're looking for a MacBook that doesn't break the bank and offers the ultimate in portability and great battery life, then the MacBook Air might be the perfect fit. This MacBook Air is a far better laptop than the outdated model that was on sale previously. The old MacBook Air model, which you may still find on sale, is much older than you might realise - the processor dates back to It might be powerful enough for you but it won't stand the test of time so we wouldn't recommend buying one unless you find a really amazing deal.
Purchasing used Mac Pro 2009 or Mac Mini 2012?
The new MacBook Air has a 13in screen and a 1. More than adequate for the needs of a student, especially those who are predominantly writing essays and conducting research. Here's the spec:. If you have a big iTunes library, for example, pay for iTunes Match so you can keep your music in the cloud.
If you have a big photo library turn on iCloud Photos and subscribe for additional iCloud Storage. One key difference between the pre and post MacBook Air is that the newer model gained a high-res Retina display. The MacBook Pro has had a Retina display for many years. Battery life of the MacBook Air is the best offered by any Mac at 12 to 13 hours, depending on what you are doing. The MacBook Pro only claims 10 hours so this is a definite benefit of the Air if you are likely to be spending long days on campus without your power adaptor.
The gap is a lot closer than it was in the past, but the Air's wedge-shaped design allows Apple to shave a decent amount of weight off the MacBook Air, so, while both the Pro and Air measure Read our MacBook Air review. You may have heard about issues with the butterfly keyboard. This keyboard is present on all MacBooks currently, although Apple has made a few tweaks to it to try and avoid the issues that have been reported. Essentially the problems are related to dust and debris getting trapped under a key.
This is unlikely to happen to you unless you happen to be using your laptop in particularly dirty and dusty conditions, or maybe on the beach. Should this happen Apple will replace the whole keyboard for you free of charge. The MacBook Air isn't quite as powerful as the MacBook Pro but it has plenty of benefits: better battery life and the fact that it is lighter if you are going to be carrying it around a lot.
We'll mention this briefly because, although Apple no longer sells it, you may still be able to buy a MacBook.
There wasn't much else going for it though. However, if you find a good deal you may be wondering whether to invest.
Here are the Macs that will work with MacOS Mojave - CNET
The base model Apple was selling before July offered a dual-core 1. That spec is far below that of the post MacBook Air, let alone the MacBook Pro, and given the fact that the price was high it really didn't make a lot of sense to buy one. Read our MacBook review. While we appreciate that there are plenty of benefits associated with choosing a laptop for university, you may be better off with a desktop. As we have already ruled out the Mac Pro and iMac Pro as over powered, you have the choice of the Mac mini or the iMac. The iMac might be one for consideration for a student - but it's a non-portable Mac, which might deter many students from purchasing one.
You won't be able to take it with you to lectures - or cart it home on a train for the holidays - but you will be able to work more efficiently through its bigger You'll also get faster memory and a gorgeous 4K display. Geekbench scores have shown that the 2. While the Mac mini G4 contained a separate graphics processor, all revisions of the Intel-based Mac mini contain integrated GPUs, except in the version where the 2.
Unlike the Mac mini G4, the Intel-based Mac mini uses a dual-channel architecture for memory. All models continue to use 2.
A Combo drive was initially offered as standard, with the SuperDrive being an option, but through the models, all models that have an optical drive contain the SuperDrive as standard. Bluetooth 2. External displays are supported through a DVI port. Upgradable up to an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.
On June 15, , Apple introduced the third generation Mac mini with a thinner unibody aluminum case. It also included an internal power supply and an SD card slot. The server model was upgraded to a quad-core Core i7 processor. The Firewire port was replaced with a second Thunderbolt port. The only change to the body was the removal of the two holes used to open the case, as the memory was no longer upgradable because it was soldered to the logic board. Since the integrated graphics processor does not have its own dedicated memory, the system shares some of the main system memory with it. There is a removable panel on the bottom of the chassis enabling the user to upgrade the RAM.
While opening the case does not actually void the warranty, anything broken while the case is open is not covered. The revision removes the Kensington Security Slot ,  as well as the optical drive, leaving internal space for a second internal hard drive or SSD, which can be ordered from Apple, or as an upgrade kit from third party suppliers.
Mac mini models released in late used dual-core processors, which perform worse in multi-threaded workloads compared to the quad-core processors from the model. Meanwhile, single-threaded workload performance increased. In general, the Mac mini has been praised as a relatively affordable computer with a solid range of features. Reviews noted it is possible to purchase small computers at the same price with faster processors, better graphics card, more memory, and more storage. In addition, its size and reliability has helped keep resale values high.
PCIe-based flash storage is standard with no option of a hard disk drive. The storage was changed to a baseline GB, with a maximum of 2 TB. The chassis is mostly a carryover from the previous generation, measuring the same dimensions, though is only available in a darker "space gray" finish. Memory can again be replaced, unlike the models that soldered it to the logic board. The Mac mini can be classified as a home theater PC with some limits. Sound is provided by a combination jack that uses both mini- headphone analog and optical fiber cables digital.
As of the July revision it includes Intel HD graphics processor with an optional Radeon graphics processing unit available and Thunderbolt which makes decoding high-resolution video much faster. Apple has offered a Server configuration of the Mac mini. Later on, Apple released the OS X Server packaged app as a single purchase from the Mac App Store , containing all the separate components apps, so that any model of Mac computer could download and use them.
The Mid Server model was initially the only Mac mini to entirely remove the optical drive, replacing it with a second hard drive in its place. However, from the Mid models onwards, all models of Mac mini had the optical drive removed.