Apple Mac Mini

Last updated date: July 1, 2019

DWYM Score
8.2

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DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top 1 Desktop Computers and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, CNET, The Verge, Engadget, Tech Radar, Consumer Reports, Tom's Guide, Wired, Digital Trends, Pocket-lint and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Desktop Computer you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 90 expert reviews, the Apple Apple Mac Mini placed 7th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 21, 2019:
Checkout The Best Desktop Computer for a detailed review of all the top desktop computers.

Expert Summarized Score
7.7
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.1
2,381 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The most notable change is that instead of using older Intel i5 and i7 laptop processors, the new Mac mini uses newer four- and six-core Intel i3, i5, and i7 desktop processors, which should offer much better performance.
- New York Times Wirecutter
One of the benefits of having a flexible system like the Mac Mini is that you can hook it up to any display you have sitting around, and you're not locked into the included screens built into the iMac desktops.
- CNET
February 11, 2015 | Full review
It’s the same old Mac mini, in the familiar frame, but with a new and attractive space gray finish.
- The Verge
November 16, 2018 | Full review
The most impressive thing about the new Mini is its selection of ports.
- Engadget
As we mentioned before, the Mac Mini is the cheapest way to dive head-first into Apple’s Mac operating system, otherwise known as macOS.
- Tech Radar
November 27, 2017 | Full review
You can connect common external devices such as hard drives and Blu-ray burners using Thunderbolt for maximum performance.
- Consumer Reports
The Mac mini is the cheapest of Apple's desktops, but each of Apple's home computers has its own advantages.
- Tom's Guide
October 30, 2018 | Full review
Apple touted the Mac Mini's performance on Tuesday, noting that it was up to five times faster than the previous generation.
- Wired
October 30, 2018 | Full review
As is often true of Macs, the hard drive is a stunner, hitting a read speed of 2,753MB/s and a write speed of 1,238MB/s
- Digital Trends
Otherwise, this design has stood the test of time. It still looks great with its slick and simple design, which should appeal to those looking for something elegant to side beside their monitor.
- Pocket-lint
November 19, 2014 | Full review
What experts didn't like
but you should get as much storage as you need when you buy it, since Apple uses proprietary solid-state storage that you can’t easily upgrade after the fact.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Upgrades are expensive, and aftermarket upgrades are nearly impossible.
- CNET
February 11, 2015 | Full review
but limited graphics performance holds it back in certain cases.
- Engadget
RAM isn't user-upgradable, No quad-core options, Can't run 4K at 60Hz.
- Tech Radar
November 27, 2017 | Full review
There's no VGA video connector, or a separate adapter is required.
- Consumer Reports
Bigger and heavier than other mini PCs.
- Tom's Guide
October 30, 2018 | Full review
No discrete graphics option is available. That means you’re out of luck if you want to play even the least demanding 3D games.
- Digital Trends
Sadly in 2014 those options are gone. There's no option to upgrade the RAM even if you do get into the casing, as it's soldered to the board, as revealed in an iFixit teardown.
- Pocket-lint
November 19, 2014 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Overall Product Rankings

1. Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 9
2. HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 4
3. Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 18
4. ASUS ZenAiO Desktop, 27″
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 6
5. Lenovo Legion Gaming Tower Desktop Computer
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 1
6. HP Envy Desktop Computer
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 10
7. Apple Mac Mini
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 10
8. HP ENVY All-in-One – 27-b245se
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 3
9. ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Computer
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 10
10. Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop 23.8″
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 5
11. ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer
Overall Score: 7.4
Expert Reviews: 3

An Overview On Desktop Computers

Desktops have come a long way over the years. You no longer need a large tower connected to a monitor. Instead, today you can get peak performance from a small box tucked away in the corner of your desk. You also have the option of an all-in-one desktop, with the processing power packed into the display itself. These options free up your workspace, leaving plenty of room on your desk for stacks of forgotten reports and junk mail.

Don’t be fooled by the space savings, though. Technology companies have simply found a way to do far more in a smaller space. There’s a reason for that. Today’s applications require peak performance. You’ll need to search for a computer with the processing power to handle what you’ll be doing. This is even more the case if you’ll be using the computer for gaming.

Video streaming quality is also a consideration. If you plan to stream video from your computer to a TV or large monitor, you’ll want to make sure you choose a computer with the power to handle it. Some desktops have the graphics power to support high-definition displays. It’s important to look for this functionality upfront in case you’ll want it down the road.

No matter what your level of tech proficiency, setup can be a big consideration. Many all-in-one computers are designed to be put together quickly, so that may be a bonus. A kit is for those who want to put serious time into building a computer to be exactly how they want it. But a device like the Chromebox is also very simple to set up, as long as you have the monitor and peripherals ready to go once you get it home.

Peripherals are also worth considering. Your all-in-one computers will probably come with a keyboard and mouse in the box, giving you everything you need to get started. However, these accessories aren’t typically of the highest quality, so if you’re picky about peripherals, you may end up replacing them anyway. With a device like the Chromebox, you’ll have to purchase a keyboard and mouse to go with it.

Lastly, there’s price. All-in-one pricing runs the gamut, but if you’re a gamer, you may find yourself paying more. For a bargain, you can’t go wrong with the Chromebox. Just make sure you factor in the cost of a monitor, mouse and keyboard. A kit setup requires so many add-ons, you’ll want to price everything before you make the decision to go that route.

DYWM Fun Fact

The first computer was the ENIAC, which stood for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, which was introduced in 1942 by physicist John Mauchly. The U.S. Army, looking for a way to compute wartime ballistics tables, saw ENIAC as the perfect solution. Unlike the computers of today, this computer was enormous, taking up the entire 50 X 30-foot basement of the school where it was housed. It was by far the most complex set of electronics ever built at the time. The government shelled out $400,000 to purchase ENIAC in 1946, and it ran calculations until 1955, when a lightning strike interrupted its winning streak. Today, you can see parts of ENIAC at the Smithsonian.

The Desktop Computer Buying Guide

  • Before you start shopping, consider the type of desktop you want. Both the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ and HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop are all-in-one units. This means everything you need is in the monitor. Simply connect the keyboard and mouse to the monitor and you’re ready to go.
  • The ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer connects to a monitor in the traditional sense, but it’s only 4.9 x 1.6 x 4.9 inches. You’ll have to attach it to a monitor or TV, so keep that in mind. You’ll also have to buy a keyboard and mouse that’s compatible with Chromebox.
  • The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is designed to be part of a do-it-yourself desktop setup. You’ll need to purchase RAM, a hard drive and an operating system, but it works with Linux if you want to avoid the hefty price for Windows 10.
  • If you’re a gamer, the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ and HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop are the best options. They both offer solid gaming performance. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ has an 8-core, 3GHz processor that will easily handle the upcoming increase in virtual reality games. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has AMD Radeon R5 graphics designed to tackle even the most intense games.
  • Although the ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer isn’t the best for intense applications like gaming, it holds its own, especially considering its price. For your everyday tasks, you’ll find it more than capably handles the job. However, if you plan to push it to its limits, you may consider upgrading to the Core i3 version.
  • The performance of the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is best for non-gaming applications. It has a 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, as well as an Intel Iris Pro Graphics. If you’re a casual gamer or just use it for work, though, you’ll find it suffices.
  • One of the best uses of the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is streaming TV shows and movies. Intel Iris Pro Graphics powers higher resolutions, making it perfect for watching video on 4K displays. This feature is also great for video and photo editors.
  • Your computer naturally becomes part of the aesthetics of the area where you set it up, so design can be an important consideration. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ is the first Inspiron all-in-one to feature the InfinityEdge display, which minimizes the bezel around the edge of the screen. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has a thicker, more standard bezel, but it’s still very attractive.
  • The display on the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ is impressive, as well, offering a vibrant 4K matte display that makes images pop. You’ll get more color contrast, thanks to the HDR 10 screen.
  • You’ll also get impressive video with the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit, which provides Iris Pro 580 high resolution, giving you crisp images and offering 4K resolution even when spread across multiple monitors.
  • Another big decision you’ll need to make is whether you want a touchscreen monitor. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has a touchscreen, while the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ doesn’t.
  • Neither the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit nor the ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer comes with a display, mouse or keyboard, so you’ll need to have to be prepared to purchase those separately. With the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ and HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop, a mouse and keyboard are included. However, these aren’t top-of-the-line peripherals, so you may end up replacing them anyway.
  • The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit looks portable, but its power brick is surprisingly heavy. If you’re looking for portability, you may be disappointed.
  • When purchasing any computer today, ports are a big part of the decision. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ has an HDMI in, HDMI out, seven USB ports and a universal headset jack. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop has only three USB ports. The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit has a full-sized HDMI port, Thunderbolt 3, a Mini DisplayPort and two USB ports. The ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer has an HDMI and DisplayPort, as well as two USB ports.
  • As far as setup’s concerned, the easiest is likely the Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″, which only requires you to screw on the base to get started. A single screw does the job. You don’t even need a screwdriver. The Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit is not geared toward the novice or even intermediate computer user. You’ll need to purchase peripherals and parts and ensure they’re compatible, then hook everything up and track down an operating system to install.
  • As complex as the Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit can be to set up, it does offer more compatibility than other desktop options. With the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop, though, you can upgrade the processor, graphics, RAM and storage.
  • The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ uses Windows Hello login, which utilizes the computer’s infrared camera to log you in using facial recognition.
  • It may not be a top priority, but if you plan to sometimes use the webcam, you’ll want to check to make sure your desktop has that feature. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ tends to provide odd angles. With the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop, Intel NUC 6 Mini MC Kit or ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer, you’ll have to purchase a camera separately.
  • If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you can’t go wrong with the ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer, although you’ll also need to budget for a monitor and peripherals if you don’t already have them. The HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop is the more budget-friendly all-in-one option. The Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop, 27″ comes with a hefty price tag.
  • One benefit of the HP Pavilion All-In-One Desktop is that it runs quietly.
  • ASUS CHROMEBOX 2 Mini Computer and other Chromebox devices come with Chrome OS installed. This means you won’t have Windows preinstalled. Still, you can fully operate using the Chrome operating system once you get used to it.