This is my first Mac, I've been using for around six months now and I don't think I could honestly go back to using a windows computer as my main machine.
I love how compact the design is, it sits so nicely on my desk and hardly takes up any room what so ever the aluminium finish looks lovely and if you have a magic trackpad/mouse & apple keyboard the aluminium compliments them both so well. As I mentioned in the title, this is a powerful little machine and has no trouble running programs such as photoshop, they load quickly with no freezes or crashes.
I mainly browse the web, read emails and use my mini for work. If you're looking for a gaming machine, intel graphics aren't going to cut it I'm afraid, you're probably best off looking at the Mac Pro desktop computer. Anyhow, if you're looking for a casual computer then I'd definitely recommend the mini to anyone, the price is reasonable compared to other macs and you know when you buy from Apple you're going to get continued support!
The only downside which is VERY annoying for me would be the usb ports and headphone jack ports are on the back, this makes removing headphones extremely difficult. I've had times I've actually had to pick up the mac just to remove the headphones, extremely annoying and flawed in my opinion and for that reason I am giving the product 4 stars.
If like me, you fancied trying a Mac out but could never quite justify the expense of getting an iMac, this makes an ideal starter Mac for people.
Purchased due to it's small, compact but powerful nature (similar size Windows PC's seem to be crippled with Atom CPU's which make for slow running machines), this machine has shone. OS X was a complete change of pace from Windows and was a breath of fresh air. It's different enough to need to learn, but similar enough to Windows that anyone with computer experience can get used to.
The Mac itself is pretty small - it happily sits on my desk and is only slightly larger than my external hard drive. The aluminium case and Apple logo add a touch of class. The machine is dead quiet - with it on, I can't hear it - only when I start doing some intensive CPU work (like some casual gaming) does the fan kick in and make itself heard.
Performance wise, it's plenty enough to play Team Fortress 2 and Fallout New Vegas (not at full settings but at a very playable graphics level) - New Vegas is only playable if boot-camped mind.
Overall, it's a risk free purcahse - Apple have a 14 day trial period where you're welcome to try out the Mac and return if you're unhappy with it. I think that's a pretty good deal.
It happens a lot in peoples lives, when you want to rise above the mundane world that is PC's and Windows, and step up to the world of attractive, practically virus free, creative Macintosh's. On the surface the Mac mini, appears to be the easiest and most affordable way to enter this terrific family of computers. After extensive research I invested in one of these little critters and have never looked back since.
Having owned a mac before, I was aware of both the pitfalls, and the pleasures of owning one. First thing to note with the Mac Mini is the sheer size of it. When I showed this to my wife, she couldn't quite believe it. It is TINY. Registering at 3.6 cm high, just short of 20 cm wide and deep. It is more like a coaster than a computer. This also means you can take it around with you should you need every now and again. And do not let this deceive you into believing it's size makes it a lack lustre slow machine.
APPEARANCE AND CONNECTIONS:
Its a very gorgeous, silver box. That's all i can describe it as. The front has a tiny LED to show that it is on, and a slot for your DVD or CD. Thats it. The sides are clean, and then comes the back. Oh the back my friends, it sports everything you could need, all neatly provided ethernet, Firewire 800, 4 USB Sockets. And then this is when it gets REALLY fun - there is an SD Card Reader built into the back, great if your mates bring round photos - saves bringing a whole camera. There is an HDMI Port - Which means you can plug this little beauty into your - 40inch LCD TV and use it like a standard computer but just have that as your monitor. There is also a 3.5mm jack input that works both as your digital input and analog input. One of the coolest features that you may want to take advantage of here, is the dual monitor output. Basically utilising the HDMI and the Mini Displayport output connections, you can run 2 screens on this Mac. Terrific if you're like me and have multiple windows open at the same time! Or work in the media and need more desktop space.
It comes loaded to the teeth with the usual Mac fun bits and bobs, best of all is the iLife pack that basically includes the fantastic itunes, iphoto, imovie, and the awesome garageband. There isn't however, the word processing packages that you would expect with a PC. Office is not pre installed on it. So you either have to invest in that. Or find a free word processor online, I can recommend Open Office.
If you buy new, you can chose all sorts of added options of RAM and what type of drive you have. But essentially it ships with 2GB of Ram, and is currently a 2.4 Dual Core intel based Mac. But I have mine at 4GB of RAM to help it on its way. And it is a very fast processor. I can happily run, my audio software (Pro Tools), the internet, word processors and Itunes, without any noticeable lagging. Whilst I haven't edited on it with video I have heard rave reviews.
Ok, here is the rather massive downfall of the Mac Mini. It comes with, wait for it, nothing. You buy the mac mini, and there is no monitor, no mouse, no keyboard, speakers, nothing. Buying all these bits from new can be pretty pricey. But there is a loophole, oh yes. Fortunately, a lot of the connections on the standard equipment from PCs are compatible with the Mac Mini. So presently I am sat behind a cheaper 19 inch LCD screen, but I have a dual monitor set up, and the other screen is my old PC flat screen. I am using my old PC speakers, and optical mouse. However I would recommend investing in the Mac keyboard. As it feels so fantastic to use compared to the massive big keyed PC Ones. Another let down is that, other than the RAM, you can't upgrade any of the cards. That's it, no adding sound cards, or graphics cards, you get what you're given.
PROS: It is the cheapest way to get into the Mac family, and for the money gets you a sturdy, capable, fast, attractive machine.
CONS: Not shipped with any external hardware, inability to really upgrade the cards.
I've had my mac mini for 6 months now. Everytime we have friends round they can't get over the look and size of it. And that's half the fun of it. It's not boring, it's fun, exciting, and a joy to use. Being a mac, it doesn't suffer any virus issues like the PC's of this world. If you want to enter into the world of Mac's, come along and get a mini. It won't bite, promise.