CNET First Look
Apple Mac Mini (Spring 2010)Apple's new Mac Mini makes a strong play for the living room with a sleek new design and the addition of HDMI port to output video. HTPC enthusiasts will be skeptical about its value, but the new Mac Mini will likely charm average consumers looking to...
^M00:00:01 [ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi. I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today we're going to take a look at Apple's brand new Mac mini. This thing just came out today, and it's the only sku Apple has available now. It goes for 699. There's a few configurable options. But we have the baseline model here. So that gets you a 320-gigabyte hard drive, 2 gigs of RAM, a 2.4 gigahertz Core 2 Duo CPU. Those were really all the options you could tweak. There is a new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics chip. Apple says that gives you about two times the gaming performance. It's probably maybe a little bit less than that. And this is definitely not a gaming computer, so make no mistake. All the specs aside, though, what's probably the most exciting about this new Mac mini is it is an HDMI port on the back. Apple previously had a mini display port which made it a little bit complicated to output the Mac mini to a TV. You needed to get an adapter. In this case, though, there's an HDMI port built right in, makes connecting it to a TV very simple. There's some software that Apple includes that lets you accommodate for what's called underscan, which is sort of a disconnect between PC output and the way TVs receive that signal. So you can manually fix the scene. Makes it nice and easy. Otherwise, though, there's not really that much different about this new Mac mini compared with the old model, at least in terms of the functionality. From a design standpoint, there is actually quite a lot to talk about. This is actually a thinner Mac mini design than the old one. It's also a little bit wider and deeper by about an inch and a half. Underneath, you can see that there's this new disk on the bottom. That pops right off and it lets you get to the memory, as well as the hard drive if you're feeling ambitious. Apple doesn't recommend going into the hard drive, but you can get there. And that accessibility is unique to this Mac mini. You weren't previously able to really get inside that easily. Now, on the back of the system, there is an SD card slot. And that's an SDXC slot which gives you a little bit higher capacity than standard SD card slots. That's in keeping with Apple's move to the SD on the iMac. One last feature you'll probably appreciate is that the power cable no longer has an inline power brick. It's simply a standard cable. It goes right into the back of the Mac mini into the wall. No brick or mess really involved. So as before, there's no keyboard or mouse included, nor is there a remote control. You also have to bring your own display. And it will, of course, run with a standard PC-style display, Apple Cinema Display, what have you. So, from a value standpoint, this definitely carries that tradition of paying a premium for Apple products. 320-gigabyte hard drive is minuscule for this price range. You can get PCs that are also small form factor that plug into TVs that have drives of one terabyte or more. So that's certainly a knock against this system. That said, its design is very -- obviously living room friendly. And the HDMI output makes things a lot easier in terms of using that Mac mini as a media center. And also, with the new graphics chip, we had a pretty good experience playing HD movies from around the Web, including QuickTime. We tried Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, Netflix. Pretty much every site we went to had no problem playing HD video. So enthusiasts will probably still want to go for a small Windows-based media center that's less expensive with more storage. That said, for the Apple faithful, as well as the design nerds among us, the Mac mini will make a great little living room box. Just be prepared to pay a little bit extra for it. So I'm Rich Brown, and this is Apple's brand new Mac mini. ^M00:03:23 [ Music ]