M2 Mac mini review roundup: Tiny, but mighty

The updated Mac mini has an M2 or M2 Pro processor

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Initial reviews of the new Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro are in, and it offers great power on a budget.

Apple announced the Mac mini with minimal changes beyond new chipsets on January 17. M2 Pro models also get access to more Thunderbolt ports and improved HDMI.

Initial orders and in-store availability of the M2 Mac mini begin on January 24. Reviewers have had some time with the newly-announced desktop, and these are their initial thoughts and reviews of the product.

The Verge: Mac Studio Junior

The Verge says Apple's Mac mini has never been more appealing. It has two processor choices — the M2 for everyday computing and the M2 Pro for creative work.

If customers choose the M2 Pro option, they will get terrific performance in a small package, plenty of ports, and a variety of connection options like Wi-Fi 6E. The lack of front-facing ports or SD card slot isn't great though.

Setting up the Mac mini isn't ideal either, as users will need either a wired keyboard connection or Apple-made Magic Keyboard. It won't let third-party Bluetooth keyboards connect at setup.

The Mac mini offers an excellent entry-level price at $599
The Mac mini offers an excellent entry-level price at $599

Despite some small issues, The Verge calls this Mac mini the best version of the product that Apple has pulled off yet.

PCMag: elevated to new performance heights

PCMag celebrates the new processor options shoved into the classic Mac mini design. The additional Thunderbolt ports and 8K HDMI output in M2 Pro models are an added bonus.

The lack of user-upgradable memory and high-priced upgrades at purchase make this budget-friendly Mac a more difficult purchase. Especially since there are no peripherals included.

The decade-old design shouldn't stop people from upgrading, as the M2 or M2 Pro gives this product plenty of performance for the price. It may not match up spec for spec against dedicated, high-end desktop workstations, but it can fill the needs of many amateur and professional creators.

iJustine: impressive

YouTube personality iJustine does her usual unboxing treatment, setup, and testing in a video. She covers how the M2 and M2 Pro differ and does live performance tests on games and apps.

The base M2 model handled Apple Arcade games like "Sneaky Sasquatch" without issue. She also dropped 8K video into Final Cut on the M2 processor with only a little stutter.

iJustine calls the new Mac mini impressive, citing the low price and high performance.

CNET: top pick for podcasters and content creators

CNET says that the Mac mini continues the tradition of being the podcaster's favorite computer while also being the cheapest way to access macOS on the market. The fact it can be configured with the M2 Pro and match the performance of the updated MacBook Pros is also impressive.

Apple saves the better port arrangement for the $1,299 M2 Pro model, and even then, RAM maxes out at 32GB. This budget-friendly Mac can quickly get expensive with pricey SSD and RAM upgrades.

The M2 and M2 Pro handled most tasks thrown at it, with the M2 Pro obviously taking on bigger tasks better. And despite Apple advertising gaming as an aspect of the Mac mini, it isn't quite there yet.

M2 and M2 Pro make the Mac mini an obvious pick
M2 and M2 Pro make the Mac mini an obvious pick

The baseline M2 Mac mini feels like it needs at least a storage bump, but it is going to be a clear choice for a lot of people. The flexibility to configure the machine from $599 to $4,499 means it can be set up to meet your needs.

TechCrunch: a serious contender

Even though the M1 Mac mini is still strong enough to tackle many tasks, TechCrunch says the M2 processor breathes new life into the machine. The M2 Pro, however, feels like new tires and a full tank of gas for an F1 driver.

That being said, most users would struggle to see the difference between the M2 and M2 Pro for day-to-day tasks. The M1 was already enough to handle it, and the M2 is improving on that, so the M2 Pro feels like a more difficult choice.

Apple pointed to gaming as a reason to get the new Mac mini, though that is a bit of an exaggeration. The only games worth playing on the platform are the ones optimized for Metal, like "Resident Evil Village."

The Mac mini continues to be an excellent value proposition, and has never looked better than it does now with the M2 and M2 Pro.