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Old Apr 1, 2010, 09:47 PM   #1
qwerty808
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Mac Mini as a portable laptop replacement

Hi,

I'm new to apple products, but i need a mac... one in which i can move around with me like a laptop. but i don't like laptops. never use the keyboard or trackpad, and the way i use it, the keyboard gap between myself and the screen could be eliminated.

so i see the mac mini and it looks powerful enough for me and very portable. my only issue is getting a screen for it that is portable enough too. the screen size could be anything from 13-19 inches, just so long as it's quite light and thin.

i understand this question is not specifically about the mini itself, bit i though there may be owners out there who have addressed this problem and found some suitable monitors.

also, do you think the mini is suitable as a portable laptop replacement as it seems to be.... like will it take a few knocks on the road etc?

thanks
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 09:15 AM   #2
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If you want portability, get a notebook

The mac mini has an external power supply which is about 1/3 the size of the mini itself, and requires a display. I only see this working if you can have a stationary setup that the mini fits into, such as a desk in your dorm, and another at home, both with stationary display/peripherals, perhaps hooked up to a friends HDTV. Even if you get a self-powered display, the mini requires a power source. Do you want to have it surge-protected? That's another item to carry: mini, power-supply, keyboard, mouse, display, and surge-protector. An iMac has internal power supply, you could use it with a BT keyboard/mouse; a better solution than the mini in my opinion. Still requires a power source(surge protector) again best for stationary use. A macbook is equal in power to a mini, and can be operated alone, with nothing connected to it. Get a BT keyboard/mouse if you prefer and maybe any required adapters to use an external display when available.
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 10:54 AM   #3
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It seems to me a much better solution would be to purchase a refurbished MacBook - they are only $849 right now.

By the time you purchase a mac mini, and a monitor, and a keyboard, and a mouse -- you're getting pretty close to the price of a MacBook.

And, lets be honest, a mac mini is not at all portable. It can certainly be lifted, and moved. But in addition to moving the mini you have to make sure you are someplace where you can plug it in (and plug in the monitor too) and you have to be someplace you can set a keyboard, and someplace you can use a mouse, etc.
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 11:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwerty808 View Post
do you think the mini is suitable as a portable laptop replacement
absolutely not
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 11:47 AM   #5
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I just don't see how this could possibly be practical at all.
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 12:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwerty808 View Post
Hi,

never use the keyboard or trackpad, and the way i use it, the keyboard gap between myself and the screen could be eliminated.

also, do you think the mini is suitable as a portable laptop replacement as it seems to be.... like will it take a few knocks on the road etc?

thanks
Without a keyboard or trackpad how can you do anything?

A few people have mounted minis in cars, so they must be able to stand up to some abuse, but I wouldn't take a chance.
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 01:33 PM   #7
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I gotta agree with the others, not really a viable option.

Unless you can explain to us better how you plan on using it...

Already mentioned was the power brick, and many monitors have a power brick as well. Cable mess would be right there, 2 power and 1 for the monitor connection (assuming you are doing a wireless mouse and ksyboard)

Macbooks are great, and if you are near a microcenter, they are $800 new, not refurbished.

I would think an older 20" AL iMac might be a better choice, only 1 power cable, not that heavy and pretty durable.
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 10:25 AM   #8
qwerty808
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I gotta agree with the others, not really a viable option.

Unless you can explain to us better how you plan on using it...

Already mentioned was the power brick, and many monitors have a power brick as well. Cable mess would be right there, 2 power and 1 for the monitor connection (assuming you are doing a wireless mouse and ksyboard)

Macbooks are great, and if you are near a microcenter, they are $800 new, not refurbished.

I would think an older 20" AL iMac might be a better choice, only 1 power cable, not that heavy and pretty durable.
it will be packed in a suitcase and moved once every few months. it will only be used in apartments. So i guess my usage is like a desktop computer that needs to be moved from country to country every few months (about 3 months).

Sorry, I guess I was unclear on the usage, and the title is misleading.

my thinking was that i could pack the power brick, mini, tiny kb i have, mouse, various cables into my suitcase quite easily. my only problem was the monitor... 2 options are:

1. buy a small, thin, light monitor than could be packed in the suitcase.
2. at each location buy a 2nd hand cheap monitor that could either be re-sold upon leaving or diced.

so, are there any recommendations on a monitor that could be packed or they don't exist?

Please, i don't like laptops... so i'm either going for option 1 or 2 above.

thanks
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 10:29 AM   #9
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it will be packed in a suitcase and moved once every few months. it will only be used in apartments. So i guess my usage is like a desktop computer that needs to be moved from country to country every few months (about 3 months).
You are focusing on the Mini which is fine.

I guess in part, it depends on how big of a display you want as to which option is better.

Thinking outside of the box, what about an iMac?

A new 21.5 inch would be nice. You could also opt for an older 17 inch C2D one on eBay for a reasonable price. There are special suitcases that you can use to carry an iMac.
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 11:42 AM   #10
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I say get an iLugger and a mac that will fit in it. A 20" C2D iMac can be bought for $500-$700 on ebay.
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 12:33 PM   #11
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I say get an iLugger and a mac that will fit in it. A 20" C2D iMac can be bought for $500-$700 on ebay.
Agree.

The iLugger cases work well.
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 03:46 PM   #12
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my opinion...

I'd suggest you buy a refurbished macbook/macbook pro, it will be much easier and less of a pain to haul and use, even if you don't like that its a laptop, you can open it up for a few minutes and get what you need and get off of it with out needing to be plugged in.

The rest of the time have a desktop like setup at home with a monitor keyboard mouse etc, but use the laptop to power it. With the macbooks you can close the lid of the laptop, plug everything into it, and it acts like a regular desktop, just being powered by your macbook.

my setup at home works perfectly, i have a full desktop setup that is powered by my macbook (hd monitor, keyboard, mouse, ext hdd, sound system etc) but then all i have to do is pop the cables off the laptop and I can bring it to my buddies place, or class, or wherever else...

my two cents, worked out great for me...

edit: also its also great if you want to use it somewhere in the dorm OTHER than at the desk, like in bed or class or whatev...
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 06:31 PM   #13
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I'd recommend the iMac route as well.

The Mac Mini is basicly a "laptop" in disguise. It's just missing the keyboard, mouse, monitor and battery. It's a Macbook inside a small box.
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 06:39 PM   #14
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This thread reminds me of that picture of the guy using his imac in a coffee shop. Don't be that guy. If you need portability, get a macbook. If you don't get an imac.
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 06:48 PM   #15
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This thread reminds me of that picture of the guy using his imac in a coffee shop. Don't be that guy. If you need portability, get a macbook. If you don't get an imac.
LOL! I'd love to see that! I could picture him carrying around his 27" iMac.
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 07:04 PM   #16
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http://www.tian.cc/2005/10/pretentio...pple-imac.html
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Old Apr 3, 2010, 07:36 PM   #17
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Old Apr 4, 2010, 01:33 AM   #18
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Walmart is selling 15.9" widescreen monitors for $90 ( Acer X163WB ). Small, cheap LCDs are hard to come by these days.

How about a HD projector? Some of these are pretty small. A pico projector would work too, but they have quite a few drawbacks.

How many of these locations with have an HD TV?

I love my 24" LCD. You could just buy one and put it back in its original box and FedEx it to the next location. Heck 23" LCDs are under $200 these days, so no biggie if it got broke during shipping. (I would feel better about shipping the LCD and keeping my grubby hands on the mini and its contents, rather than shipping an expensive iMac).
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Old Apr 4, 2010, 10:30 AM   #19
qwerty808
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Thinking outside of the box, what about an iMac?
an imac would be overkill for what i need, and at 10kg it cuts into my checked in baggage weight too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tucker3434 View Post
This thread reminds me of that picture of the guy using his imac in a coffee shop. Don't be that guy. If you need portability, get a macbook. If you don't get an imac.
won't be taking it to coffee shops, just use in apartments as a desktop. i find laptops uncomfortable to use as i find i need to be sitting at a desk like in an office situation. anyways, laptops are just not for me... it's just the personal way i like to use computers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADent View Post
Walmart is selling 15.9" widescreen monitors for $90 ( Acer X163WB ). Small, cheap LCDs are hard to come by these days.

I love my 24" LCD. You could just buy one and put it back in its original box and FedEx it to the next location. Heck 23" LCDs are under $200 these days, so no biggie if it got broke during shipping. (I would feel better about shipping the LCD and keeping my grubby hands on the mini and its contents, rather than shipping an expensive iMac).
yeah, that acer looks about right at 3.5kg(18 inch model) cant find the 16 inch in my location outside the States. that's the smallest cheapest one i've seen so far.

sending monitors via fedex overseas also gets relatively expensive when you're talking cheap monitors.

thanks for all the responses.
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Old Apr 4, 2010, 03:24 PM   #20
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an imac would be overkill for what i need, and at 10kg it cuts into my checked in baggage weight too much.



won't be taking it to coffee shops, just use in apartments as a desktop. i find laptops uncomfortable to use as i find i need to be sitting at a desk like in an office situation. anyways, laptops are just not for me... it's just the personal way i like to use computers.



yeah, that acer looks about right at 3.5kg(18 inch model) cant find the 16 inch in my location outside the States. that's the smallest cheapest one i've seen so far.

sending monitors via fedex overseas also gets relatively expensive when you're talking cheap monitors.

thanks for all the responses.
Another vote for a used/refurb Macbook - in addition to the essential monitor keyboard and trackpad - you've also got the iSight, mic and speakers included. When you add up all of these peripherals + the Mini you'd easily outspend the price of the Macbook. Bear in mind also that the Macbook is going to be hand luggage vs checked if you're that concerned about your baggage allowance.
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Old Apr 4, 2010, 06:06 PM   #21
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won't be taking it to coffee shops, just use in apartments as a desktop. i find laptops uncomfortable to use as i find i need to be sitting at a desk like in an office situation. anyways, laptops are just not for me... it's just the personal way i like to use computers.
I'm like you I like desktops. I've actually taken my Mini to another location twice but the big difference is that there has been a monitor and keyboard there I could use. I think the best advice is really to get a Macbook Pro - say the 13 inch base model - and just get a cheap monitor and keyboard when you get somewhere. At least then you'll aways have a fallback - I go crazy if I can't do something immediately...
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 01:03 AM   #22
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How many times does he have to say "I don't want a laptop" before people will stop replying with "You should really get a laptop, and here are all the reasons"?

He doesn't want a laptop, period. For what he wants to do, the mini will work fine. The only issue is the monitor, so I'd say pick up the cheapest screen that meets your needs; pack it up if you can, or buy another cheap monitor at your next stop.

I know you have a keyboard, but you might want to take a look at the Apple Wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard. I got one with my new iMac, and it's very nice - unbelievably small and light without being at all fragile.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 01:48 AM   #23
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I just don't see how this could possibly be practical at all.
I can clearly see this is a troll bait thread.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 12:05 PM   #24
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How many times does he have to say "I don't want a laptop" before people will stop replying with "You should really get a laptop, and here are all the reasons"?

He doesn't want a laptop, period. For what he wants to do, the mini will work fine. The only issue is the monitor, so I'd say pick up the cheapest screen that meets your needs; pack it up if you can, or buy another cheap monitor at your next stop.

I know you have a keyboard, but you might want to take a look at the Apple Wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard. I got one with my new iMac, and it's very nice - unbelievably small and light without being at all fragile.
I guess because he came in here asking for a "laptop replacement"??

Anyway - in order of practicality:

1. Macbook/(Pro) + wireless kb and (magic) mouse - packs into a laptop bag as hand luggage. Includes all peripherals we mostly need. I actually use this setup at home in conjunction with a 20" ACD and Griffin Elevator - it's fantastic - it's my "Desktop Replacement"!
2. 20" or 21.5" iMac + kb and mouse - packs into neat Apple box complete with carrying handle and includes all peripherals we mostly need. Both versions weigh 20lbs but can be checked separately or even better - **carried on as hand luggage**.
3. Mac Mini + kb + mouse + monitor + webcam + speakers + mic - packs into a suitcase or a myriad of boxes.
4. Troll bait - sorry I wasted my time.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 12:12 PM   #25
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Is this an April fools joke?

Anyway I can't see how this is possible, seeing as you will have to carry a screen around as well

Anyway, hear me out.

Why don't you get a Macbook (Air, Pro or even the normal one) and buy an adaptor as well as a bluetooth keyboard & mouse and connect the laptop to the monitor? seeing that you have a monitor where ever you are going too.. therefore you don't have to actually have physical contact with laptop..

Just an idea...

-Chu.
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