You are in a situation where your heart says one thing and your mind wants another. I’ve also been in this situation, and in this post, I am going to compare the 24-inch M1 iMac 2021 with the M1 Mac Mini and let you get a clear idea of which one you should buy.
I’ve already made a complete review on the M1 iMac 2021; read the post to get a clear idea of the new iMac. I am going to only compare the M1 iMac and the M1 Mac Mini in this post. Saying that, let’s see which Mac is the best one for you. For those who are about to buy a Mac Mini soon, there is a head’s up for you at the end of the post, so make sure you read it.
The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the iMac is the screen. In the new 24″ iMac 2021, you get a 4.5K retina display. Boy, oh boy, the content looks awesome on this screen. The colors are natural, and the images look crisp, which makes it a better option for creative professionals.
In the case of the Mac Mini, you have to buy an external monitor. There are many high-definition external monitors out there in the market, but nothing comes closer to the iMac’s 4.5K retina display. You also get True Tone technology and Ambient mode right out of the box to protect your eyes, which is something you don’t get in an external monitor.
Takeaway: As I said before, if you are a creative professional like a graphic designer or illustration artist, iMac is the best option for you. On the other hand, if you are a developer or a blogger and someone who doesn’t care much about the details and the quality, you can go for Mac Mini, buy a monitor that fits you and save some extra bucks.
iMac is the clear winner in the audio department as well. The high-powered speakers with amplifiers make the sound output crisp and sharp in the iMac. Plus, you get the latest spatial audio support in the new M1 iMac, which will help you have an immersive experience when you watch a movie or music.
M1 Mac Mini has a basic set of speakers; they are decent. You can use them for meetings and watch some Youtube videos. If you want, you can add good quality external speakers and make your listening experience great, but you can’t enjoy the spatial audio.
Takeaway: If you are someone who uses the Mac for purely professional purposes and audio isn’t that important to you, you can go for the M1 Mac Mini. On the other hand, you consume a lot of content on your computer, and sound quality is very important to you; go for the iMac.
Microphone and Webcam
Apple has used a three-mic system in the new M1 iMac to produce a studio-quality mic experience, and it is true. The beamforming microphone arrangement reduces the noise significantly so that your voice can be heard clearly during the video call. Noise cancelations are done very smartly to keep your voice and environment sound as natural as possible. If you are someone who works from home most of the time or a freelancer or a remote employee and need to make video calls too often, the M1 iMac is the best.
Apple has finally given a 1080P webcam this time, which is a great improvement when compared to the old 720P webcam. If Apple has added the Center Stage option that you see in the M1 iPad Pro 2021 in the iMacs, the overall experience will be even more engaging.
Coming to the M1 MacMini, you have to add a WebCam and Microphone separately by using an external device. Web camera quality-wise, there are a lot of better webcams out there, but you can’t find a microphone that is as good as the one on the M1 iMacs.
Takeaway: If you rarely take video calls and don’t care about the microphone quality, you can go with the M1 Mac Mini and buy a webcam separately based on your needs. Professionals who take video calls too often and don’t like to wear a headset can go for the M1 iMacs to have a comfortable video call.
Inputs & Outputs
This is the place where M1 Mac Mini outshines the M1 iMacs. On the Mac Mini, you get two USB4/Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB A ports, one ethernet port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a dedicated HDMI 2.0 port.
On the iMac, you get two variants. The top variants have two USB3 ports, two thunderbolt ports, and you get an ethernet port in the power brick. While on the lower variant, you get only two thunderbolt ports. 3.5mm headphone jacks are available on both higher and lower-end models.
In iMac, you can connect only one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. At the same time, Mac Mini can simultaneously support two displays — you can connect one display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0
Takeaway: For those who have to connect lots of external devices, iMacs’ limited ports may be an issue. Especially in the lower-end model, you don’t even get an ethernet port; you have to rely on the two Thunderbolt for everything, or you have to buy a hub. Mac Mini gives you more than enough ports, or at least you get basic ports right.
Performance & Storage
Performance-wise, both Mac Mini and iMac use the same 16-core M1 chipset. The only difference is you get an 8 core GPU on all variants of Mac Mini. In the case of iMac, you get a 7-core GPU in the lower-end version and an 8-core GPU in the top-end version.
Benchmark and regular usage will be identical on both iMac and the Mac Mini, so you are not making any compromise here.
In the storage option also you get the same options on both iMac and Mac Mini. The minimum storage is 256GB, and you can configure up to 2TB.
Regular Magic keyboards and magic mouse will work with the Mac Mini.
What makes the magic accessories special in the new iMacs is now they are color matched. Beyond the colors, the new magic keyboard in top-end iMacs supports a fingerprint reader. Those who love the convenience of online payment and password entry with a touch of a finger in MacBooks and iPads will love the new Magic Keyboards with fingerprint sensors.
The new iMac is very light; it is about 10 pounds, that’s it. You can easily move your iMacs from one desk to another and one room to another without any worries.
But, if you need more portability, like carrying your computer from one place to another, then you have to go with the MacMini.
New Mac Mini with M1X Rumors
If you are about to buy a Mac Mini, just hold on for a few more weeks. Lately, there are several rumors that the new MacBook Pro and Mac Mini are going to be announced in next month’s WWDC event, just like in 2018 how they showed the MacBook Pro with an improved butterfly keyboard.
The rumors are that the new Mac Mini will support up to 64GB RAM, 10-core CPU, and 16 or 32 core graphics, which is insane. People who are looking for performance in the Mac Mini should wait a little bit; that is what I suggest.
There is a rendering from Jon Prosser for the new Mac Mini; you can see it below.
The above image is just a rendering based on the facts. If the above-rumored specs are true, then the Mac Mini won’t be thinner like in the rendering.
As all tech reviewers suggest, if you can wait, patiently wait if there is an update supposed to happen.
Hope this article was helpful. See you people in my next post. Be safe!