Apple updated its Mac Mini small-form-factor desktop yesterday, and after spending a day with it, we found that Apple was effective in suiting the tiniest Mac to the living room. As with older models, this newest Mac Mini still has a value challenge compared with its Windows-based competition. It's also begging for a Blu-ray drive, which remains absent from the Apple portfolio.
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 bring online media to the TV.
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You can read the full CNET review of the new Mac Mini. In brief, we love the design, the HDMI port is a welcome, if also overdue, addition, and we were happy with the HD video playback from various video sites around the Web. Apple's willingness to sacrifice functionality for design and ease-of-use stings given the puny 320GB hard drive. You can also find a number of Windows-based competitors like the Gateway SX2840-01 that, though certainly less attractive, will raise doubts about the Mac Mini among value-conscious shoppers.
Overall, we like the Mac Mini. It's worth your consideration as an option for getting Web and other PC-bound media into your living room. The user-accessible memory is a nice touch as well. Just be sure to consider your storage needs carefully before giving in to the Mac Mini's charms.