It would be an understatement to say that we all love Apple Macs. They are some for the most well-designed, reliable, efficient and fast machines that people can ever hope to own in their homes. However, with that level of quality, often comes a steep price to pay, as MacBooks generally tend to be the most expensive commuters in the market, at least as compared to Windows PCs, for example.
As a result, many users are now having to think very hard on the difficult choice between purchasing a new Apple Mac or opting for a cheaper PC instead. However, the good news is that there is a middle ground that you can take. This is for those budget-centric users who are also looking for a quality piece of machinery, as despite Apple’s rather high retail price points, there are still Macs on offer that you can purchase without having to spend more than your budget allows. As such, we decided to compare Apple’s cheapest Macs, which are;
- Mac mini,
- MacBook Air
The Price Point
Those users who are attempting to assess which model between these three is the cheapest must first consider several things. For one; what Apple deals are currently on offer? You also need to consider; what refurbished Macs are also on offer? Another thing is; what accessories do they have that can boost the performance and value of your budget purchase? In other words, being able to buy an Apple Mac at a budget price requires some smart thinking and planning, as it all depends on what your current budget is and for what purpose you need that new Mac.
If we were to take a quick look at the 2020 Mac lineup, it’s safe to say that the most affordable Mac on offer is the Mac Mini. It currently retails for just $800. However, that price point can be misleading because in the case of the Mac mini, despite spending $800 to purchase it, you will still need to fork more money to buy extra accessories and devices to make it work. So, if you factor these in, the final price point is likely to be higher than the cheapest MacBook Air, which currently retails at $999. That price is very similar to the cost of an iMac, which is set at $1,100. As a result, based on price alone, it can be difficult for someone to make a well-informed decision between these three budget items.
The Functionality And Use
When trying to pick between these three, you first have to realise that besides their relatively close price points, their retail value isn’t the most important thing. As, you can’t just pick one based on whichever is cheapest between the three. You will have to think about the reason behind your purchase and pick the best option that will suit you and your personal preferences best.
For example, while the Mac mini is the most affordable option, it is still only just a core system that comes boxed with a power cord. This means you all still have to purchase extra accessories such as; an external mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc. Moreover, most users end up discovering that they will also need to purchase a USB A Hub for extra functionality. For those of you who may not know what this is, it is an accessory that basically extends the limits of your setup, giving you the opportunity to add to the number of functioning ports for connecting or charging more external devices, such as; monitors, storage drives, mouse, keyboard etc. In other words, it is an important accessory that any Mac buyer needs to help improve their user experience.
If you already own all these accessories, then great. However, those who do not will probably end up spending just as much, if not more money, as you would on a MacBook Air or even iMac. If you choose the iMac, it will already come inclusive of everything you need. This is because they offer more functionality and are ideally suited for people who work from a fixed workstation, be it in their homes or offices.
Meanwhile, those looking for a portable option can opt for the MacBook Air. It is the most cheapest and lightweight MacBook and also offers a wide array of features eg. Magic Keyboard, 13” Retina Screen and a simple compact design for convenient carry. This makes it the perfect alternative for those Mac users who are constantly on the move, eg. students.
The Performance & Technical Capabilities
Another thing to consider is how, despite their similar price points, they not only differ in terms of design and use, but also in processing power. This is important, because if you are going to invest in a Mac, especially while on a budget, you will always want to get more value for your money.
For example, when it comes to performance, the Mac mini has the advantage in this department. This is because it’s comes at the lowest price but with the highest level of performance, as well. It’s processing capacity is enough to handle any tasks you may need to do on a day to day basis, as well as, handle heavy projects like video editing, music production etc. However keep in mind again that when it coms to the Mac Mini you will still have to fork extra money on accessories such as; an SD Card Reader. If you didn’t know, this is an accessory that is highly necessary, especially for those in the creative industry and require a universal device that can work with memory cards. It is an easy to use device that ideally negates the need for extra cables when plugging in video recording equipment or phones who transferring video or audio data.
In short, if you are trying to figure out the best budget option, there are several considerations to keep in mind. In this case, the cheapest choice doesn’t necessarily mean the right choice. The Mac Mini is best suited for those looking to replace an older computer and already have the necessary accessories available. Meanwhile, the MacBook Air is generally the top pick for most users due to its powerful yet lightweight nature. Additionally, the iMac is a good pick for those thinking about maximising their budget for a higher-end model. However, it does come with its restrictions eg. it’s not portable, so you have to think long and hard before making a final decision.