Mac Mini M1: After 1 Week of Use

The Mac Mini has been the most significant upgrade to my work from home setup

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Photo by Joey Banks on Unsplash

I have been looking to replace my MacBook Pro for the past two years. The MacBook wasn’t a bad computer, but it was too slow for my use, and I didn’t need a laptop that much anymore. So I decided to switch to the new M1 chip series.

While I was tempted to get a MacBook again, I went for the Mac Mini. It’s cheaper, and I use an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse anyway. If I need to be mobile, I can switch to either my iPhone 11 Pro Max or the 2018 iPad Pro.

The price point of the M1 Mac Mini seemed attractive. Renewing my desktop computer frequently wouldn’t be as pricey as it used to be now.

How the Old MacBook Pro Was Performing

I had a fully specced out 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2016.

My daily use includes browsing the internet, retouching pictures in Lightroom and Photoshop, sometimes some basic video editing (but in 4k usually.)

While the internet browsing experience was good enough, even if it could have been a little faster for some tasks, the rest wasn’t holding up anymore. Applying a preset in Lightroom was taking between 5 and 10 seconds depending on the file’s size. Editing 4k videos was an absolute nightmare. It was skipping lots of frames, and the overall experience was very slow and annoying. I can’t count how many times I had to export the video to preview it.

Of course, the butterfly keyboard had to be replaced three times, the screen had to be replaced once, and the battery wasn’t performing as well as it used to anymore.

While the computer was still performing okay, I still felt like I had to switch to a new computer. I wasn’t confident the MacBook would keep up with anything more demanding than what I was making it go through. Moreover, I wasn’t confident about the keyboard at all anymore.

The Mac Mini M1

I am aware that I don’t have the most intense workflow out there. And I don’t use any crazy software. In fact, over the years, I have mostly been using Apple software as it tends to perform better on computers with lower performances.

But the difference in performance was massive. Safari is very snappy and smooth, even when dealing with long and complex Google Sheets.

Lightroom and Photoshop don’t have their M1 version available yet. But you can still use the programs using Rosetta 2, an invisible piece of software that allows you to run Intel apps on the M1 Macs.

Both Photoshop and Lightroom perform better, far better. The apps are sometimes still a little slow for some tasks such as importing, exporting, and switching tabs in Lightroom. But I’m sure these lags will be corrected when the proper M1 version of these apps will be out in early 2021.

Now, the most significant change was in video editing. I can finally edit 4k footage without any drop in frames. No lag, nothing. Everything runs smoothly.

And the best part of all of that: I have never heard the fan of this device!

It gives me the confidence that the computer can deal with a more intense workload without an issue.

Before the M1 Macs were announced, I was considering purchasing a 16-inch MacBook Pro, fully specced out. But at around $4k, the price was making me nervous. This Mac Mini, for a fifth of the price, does the job correctly.

I’m not a big fan of benchmarks and performance reports, but it seems like the M1 Mac Mini is not that far behind the 16-inch MacBook Pro in terms of graphic performances, while the Mac Mini is better in terms of CPU. For a sub-thousand dollar purchase, that’s pretty impressive!

I am very excited about Apple Silicon. Being able to purchase such a powerful computer at this price is incredible. For the price of an iPhone 12, you can buy a computer that you can compare to a $4k laptop.

I know it has only been a week, but so far, I am very impressed and I can’t recommend these computers enough.

Get your Mac Mini M1 here.

Mac O’Clock

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