M2 Mac Mini Review: The Best Mac for $499!

It’s not every day that a new Mac is released, stirring excitement among those interested in Macs. Amidst the MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and Mac Studio, the M2 Mac Mini stands out. It appeals to everyday users, musicians, and creators like myself, offering remarkable performance for its value.

I’m not claiming to be a professional; I’m a beginner creator who edits videos on Macs and uses them for various tasks, including a bit of gaming. I have the base model of the M2 Mac Mini, and I’m here to share my review, highlighting what I love about it and addressing potential deal-breakers.

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So, getting this thing unboxed, there’s honestly nothing to it. Standard, minimal Apple packaging, but no less special. Inside, you’ve got the Mac Mini itself, which is actually a lot lighter than I thought it would be.

You’ve also got the power lead for power, of course, as well as the booklets and the sticker that everyone seems to mention but never use. And that’s it. You will need to supply your own mouse and keyboard, just something to be aware of when getting it.

Build and Design

M2 Mac Mini Review: Design

With the M2 Mac Mini in hand, I find it honestly beautiful. While some may wish for an updated design, as a first-time Mac Mini user, I really like it. The design holds up well, being compact, lightweight, and portable. Weighing just about 545 grams, it easily fits into any bag, ready to be taken anywhere with a monitor to connect to. It fits neatly on top of my Grovemade stand, inside it, or vertically in a Mac Mini dock. This versatility makes it a great fit for various setups, enhancing the overall look. While I miss the space gray option, the silver enclosure remains elegant and minimal.

On the front end, you literally only have a tiny white LED showing its power is on or off, and that’s it. On the back end, you have the power button and Ethernet port, two Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port, as well as two USB-A ports and a headphone jack. One thing that’s awesome about the Mac Mini is that it still has a fan, although in all of my testing, I haven’t been able to hear this thing turn on once, which is definitely a good sign.


Now getting back to how I use this, I don’t really care about synthetic benchmarks at all, like Cinebench and all of that, but I do want to dive into my actual use case performance. There are a lot of dope channels that go into benchmarks, but for myself as a creator, professional, and a gamer, how does the base model M2 Mac Mini hold up?

Well, to cut to the chase, it does an incredible job, and I kind of want to start by talking about my creative work. As a smaller YouTube channel, none of my projects are overly complex, and to be completely truthful, even my M1 iMac grants circles around my 4K timelines.

M2 Mac Mini Review: 4k Editing

The native Apple chips are legit just super powerful and efficient. That said, the M2 chip proves to be spectacular with my timelines, and I see completely zero skipped frames or jitteriness when scrubbing through and cutting through my 4K footage.

Again, I don’t have a bunch of layers or anything like that, but seriously, for anybody who’s thinking about starting a creator’s path, this is definitely an easy pick. All less demanding creator stuff, like voiceovers, audio recording, and photo editing, are all also a breeze. For my voiceovers, I like to use a free program called Audacity, and I edit all my photos in Adobe Lightroom.


M2 Mac Mini Review: Gaming

Since I am a gamer, I do want to bring it up. Trust me, I know Macs aren’t meant for gaming, but I’m trash at games. And if I’m talking about all the things I do on here, that includes some casual gaming. Some of the games I do play occasionally are either Diablo 3 or Sims 4, both of which are natively available on Mac.

The pickings are rather slim either way, but these run exceptionally well. I’m playing Diablo 3 here on my studio display, which is at a 5k resolution, so it’s even more wild that it pumps out a solid 5K at 60fps no problem. Sims 4, as well, is a more processor-intensive game, and it has zero issues and runs remarkably well. My sim is absolutely beautiful too. Clearly, I’ve peaked in video games. I dig Mac overall as a platform. I do simply wish gaming was more of a focus for them. I could only dream.

And it goes without saying, everything else on here is simply a breeze. I know macOS is a very mature operating system and a lot of people haven’t really tried it out yet, but for me, the continuity between iPhone, iPad, and Mac is just so seamlessly integrated, it’ll always be my preferred platform. I’m still working on my accounting designation in the evenings as well.

Final Thought

It goes without saying that all the web browsing, spreadsheets, and word processing are handled with ease. In terms of overall performance, this Mac Mini is definitely an incredible choice. It’s versatile, powerful, tiny, and minimal.

However, the primary bottleneck here at the base model is just how little storage you get – 256 gigs at the base model simply isn’t enough, even for the most basic of workflows.

For myself, I’ll be installing an SSD into my dock to expand this, since not having enough storage would be my only regret. In terms of overall value, though, for just about any starter creative, or frankly anyone who wants to dive into Mac OS for the first time or returning, this is definitely a great budget option, especially since you can pair any monitor with it.

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