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Apple Mac Mini with OS X Lion review

Apple Mac mini mid-2011

A stylish and highly portable desktop replacement powerful enough to rival larger machines. Small businesses thinking about desktop upgrades will definitely want to give this a look, as it can work out cheaper than licensing Windows in the long run.


Sleek design, Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, upgradeable RAM, ample ports


No e-SATA, no keyboard or mouse

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: From £529

Manufacturer: Apple

The Mac Mini is the latest Apple product to have its yearly makeover and, as always, the revamped range boasts a number of enhancements.

V3 got its hands on the 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 model with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and Mac OS X Lion pre-loaded. Apple claims that this model has twice the processor and graphics performance of its predecessor.

Having used the high-end MacBook 11in with an i7 processor, we can state that the performance of the Mac mini is able to match this.

The mini retains its dimensions of 36x197x197mm, and at just 1.22kg can easily be carried around. Apple has also used the now familiar aluminium casing so the device matches the latest MacBook Air and accessory range.  

Apple Mac mini mid-2011
Despite the tiny form factor, the mini has a 500GB hard drive, AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics cards and the usual array of ports. The optical drive remains absent and it's pretty much a given that it will never be integrated into this range again. Buyers will need an external accessory such as Apple's SuperDrive to play and burn DVDs.

Connectivity comes in the form of four USB 2.0 connections, HDMI and FireWire 800 ports, and two audio jacks. The SD card reader supports regular and SDXC cards, so it will be compatible with 2TB cards when they arrive.

Apple Mac mini mid-2011 connectivity
Meanwhile, the mini-DisplayPort has been replaced with a Thunderbolt output to synchronise high-speed data transfer between Macs and enable the device to connect to Apple's forthcoming 27in Thunderbolt display.

Network connectivity comes in the form of built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port. There is also a built-in IR receiver so the Mac mini is compatible with Apple's IR remote.

As reviewed: 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 500GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 6630M processor, HDMI and Thunderbolt output, HDMI to DVI adaptor, SDXC card slot, FireWire 800 port, 4xUSB 2.0 ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mac OS X Lion

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Khidr Suleman

Khidr Suleman is a reporter at, a role he has fulfilled since June 2010. He covers business hardware news and reviews, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, projectors and printers, as well as online applications.

Prior to joining, Khidr worked as a freelance technology journalist. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.


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