From Mac mini to MacBook

SmackBookPro

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 11, 2018
502
355
I've had everything from Apple over the past year, but now I'm considering selling my 6-core Mac mini and going back to a laptop as I miss the portability of macOS on the move. I had a £2,000+ MBP with TouchBar and 512SSD but had many issues with it and refunded it. It was also hella expensive to have with me most of the time! I needed these machines for work, but now with a career change I'll no longer need to use my own devices, and outside of work my needs more simplified.

A retailer here in the UK is selling the MacBook for £800. Seems too good to be true?

I don't expect it to do heavy lifting, but trust it'll be quick enough to do computing tasks like email, web, photos etc. Maybe a bit of web development, all browser based.

I've had high end MacBooks, desktops, an X280 laptop with Windows and Ubuntu and 16GB RAM and I'm coming to the MacBook now for portability, simplicity and value.

Any words against it from you guys who know it best?
 

Erehy Dobon

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2018
179
128
Any Apple notebook manufactured in the past ten years can handle the tasks you listed.

Buy whatever suits your fancy.

I actually have both a MacBook 2017 and a Mac mini 2018. Portability is nice to have but not a requirement for my personal usage case.

I highly recommend that you find demo machines of all the Apple notebooks you are considering and try typing on the keyboards BEFORE you buy. Each keyboard has a slightly different feel.

That said, I prefer my Mac mini, mostly because it has a decent keyboard (an old discontinued wired model with the Chiclet keys) and a new 27” 4K monitor (easier on my old eyes and neck than the 12” screen on my MacBook).

Hell, the 11” MacBook Air 2013 that I sent back to Apple for some store credit could do everything you listed. Its keyboard was way better than my current MacBook’s. Alas, the screen was non-Retina.

Your mileage may vary.
 
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Smeaton1724

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2011
804
780
Leeds, UK
I've had everything from Apple over the past year, but now I'm considering selling my 6-core Mac mini and going back to a laptop as I miss the portability of macOS on the move. I had a £2,000+ MBP with TouchBar and 512SSD but had many issues with it and refunded it. It was also hella expensive to have with me most of the time! I needed these machines for work, but now with a career change I'll no longer need to use my own devices, and outside of work my needs more simplified.

A retailer here in the UK is selling the MacBook for £800. Seems too good to be true?

I don't expect it to do heavy lifting, but trust it'll be quick enough to do computing tasks like email, web, photos etc. Maybe a bit of web development, all browser based.

I've had high end MacBooks, desktops, an X280 laptop with Windows and Ubuntu and 16GB RAM and I'm coming to the MacBook now for portability, simplicity and value.

Any words against it from you guys who know it best?
Did the exact same thing. Mac Mini 2018 to MacBook from John Lewis, the Leeds store. Reason - Portability.

As a Mac I find it great for my uses. Some Affinity software, iBooks Author, little bit of XCode (Nothing huge).

I need access to Windows but Parallels I feel would be splitting resources the machine doesn't have - I used Parallels with the Mac Mini, split the RAM and CPU cores and ran both OS's at the same time. My heavy lifting is done by a PC workstation at my place of work. I have set up an external Samsung T5 SSD running Windows 10 via bootcamp and connected through a USB-C hub that allows for pass through charging and output via HDMI to external monitor. It performs ''ok'', I wouldn't use the setup 40 hours a week but any home edits I need to make it's worked without hiccup (I use Revit to model buildings, Excel and some structural building design software). This way the full spec of the machine is either Windows (in bursts) or Mac OS.

For the price I'll use this for however long it lasts my use case and resell it. If I wasn't going to compromise with a portable Mac then I'd go MacBook Pro 13'' 16GB RAM 512GB SSD or 15'' 16GB 512GB SSD - but the price would be minimum £1100 more, so for that I could buy a Mac Mini Refurb and have 2 machines for the cost of a single MacBook Pro - which is why I bought it new for £800, it seemed a ''low risk'' new Apple laptop.
 
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SmackBookPro

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 11, 2018
502
355
Did the exact same thing. Mac Mini 2018 to MacBook from John Lewis, the Leeds store. Reason - Portability.

As a Mac I find it great for my uses. Some Affinity software, iBooks Author, little bit of XCode (Nothing huge).

I need access to Windows but Parallels I feel would be splitting resources the machine doesn't have - I used Parallels with the Mac Mini, split the RAM and CPU cores and ran both OS's at the same time. My heavy lifting is done by a PC workstation at my place of work. I have set up an external Samsung T5 SSD running Windows 10 via bootcamp and connected through a USB-C hub that allows for pass through charging and output via HDMI to external monitor. It performs ''ok'', I wouldn't use the setup 40 hours a week but any home edits I need to make it's worked without hiccup (I use Revit to model buildings, Excel and some structural building design software). This way the full spec of the machine is either Windows (in bursts) or Mac OS.

For the price I'll use this for however long it lasts my use case and resell it. If I wasn't going to compromise with a portable Mac then I'd go MacBook Pro 13'' 16GB RAM 512GB SSD or 15'' 16GB 512GB SSD - but the price would be minimum £1100 more, so for that I could buy a Mac Mini Refurb and have 2 machines for the cost of a single MacBook Pro - which is why I bought it new for £800, it seemed a ''low risk'' new Apple laptop.
I'm debating Currys (where I can go in and buy it the moment my Mac Mini sells on eBay) or John Lewis for the 2 year guarantee. But that means waiting for postage to Northern Ireland (two days or so). I can't work out why they're selling so cheap, perhaps not as many people are buying them and with a new model completely annihilating anybody's wish to buy it, the 12" model anyway, they're just keeping the stock flowing?

I have Affinity Photo & Designer too, which I've used professionally up until now but truth be told very rarely personally. I'll have them installed but not need them to do any heavy work, but glad this is able to be done with your use case.

I had Parallels on my MBP, Mac mini last year, I got a good price on the license from student discount and then a month or so later the current version was released, ever since it's felt like a free trial with how often they push you to upgrade... and I can't see any new features in the new version?! I don't think I'll bother installing it on the MacBook. Office apps for macOS are good enough for me, it's a bit silly really to run Windows for just those apps when official local versions exist and are maintained so well.

At least, if I need to, I can use my existing HP USB-C to HDMI/USB/Power adapter to plug into my 1080p monitor / desk setup. But the main reason for going back to the mobile setup for myself is I miss last summer, sitting out in the sun working on my blog and going to Starbucks etc with the Mac and reading or researching. It was truly a pleasure. Being stuck in the room is fine for hardcore projects, but again outside of work I rarely need that focus.

I was hung up about the whole 'its not a Thunderbolt C' port for a while, but then I realised all the accessories I bought for my MBP were USB-C dongles and interfaces using the physical Type C connection - they didn't take advantage of the ports speed either. And they did fine, and the cost of the proper, Ferrari like peripherals are overkill for me and I have a long list of other things I need before I'd ever get around to buying them anyway!

As for Windows, I recently did go all in on the Windows 10 ecosystem in May with the ThinkPad X280. It was okay, but I missed Apple and came back. The ThinkPad is still here, and also for sale, I got it for £600. It has good specs, quad core vPro i5, 16GB RAM, FHD screen but it's running Ubuntu now. Again, a great experience but I miss the Apple purist experience. It's been nice dabbling with Windows / Android / Ubuntu and other hardware and the desktop form factor, but the Mac wins for me.
 

Smeaton1724

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2011
804
780
Leeds, UK
I'm debating Currys (where I can go in and buy it the moment my Mac Mini sells on eBay) or John Lewis for the 2 year guarantee. But that means waiting for postage to Northern Ireland (two days or so). I can't work out why they're selling so cheap, perhaps not as many people are buying them and with a new model completely annihilating anybody's wish to buy it, the 12" model anyway, they're just keeping the stock flowing?

I have Affinity Photo & Designer too, which I've used professionally up until now but truth be told very rarely personally. I'll have them installed but not need them to do any heavy work, but glad this is able to be done with your use case.

I had Parallels on my MBP, Mac mini last year, I got a good price on the license from student discount and then a month or so later the current version was released, ever since it's felt like a free trial with how often they push you to upgrade... and I can't see any new features in the new version?! I don't think I'll bother installing it on the MacBook. Office apps for macOS are good enough for me, it's a bit silly really to run Windows for just those apps when official local versions exist and are maintained so well.

At least, if I need to, I can use my existing HP USB-C to HDMI/USB/Power adapter to plug into my 1080p monitor / desk setup. But the main reason for going back to the mobile setup for myself is I miss last summer, sitting out in the sun working on my blog and going to Starbucks etc with the Mac and reading or researching. It was truly a pleasure. Being stuck in the room is fine for hardcore projects, but again outside of work I rarely need that focus.

I was hung up about the whole 'its not a Thunderbolt C' port for a while, but then I realised all the accessories I bought for my MBP were USB-C dongles and interfaces using the physical Type C connection - they didn't take advantage of the ports speed either. And they did fine, and the cost of the proper, Ferrari like peripherals are overkill for me and I have a long list of other things I need before I'd ever get around to buying them anyway!

As for Windows, I recently did go all in on the Windows 10 ecosystem in May with the ThinkPad X280. It was okay, but I missed Apple and came back. The ThinkPad is still here, and also for sale, I got it for £600. It has good specs, quad core vPro i5, 16GB RAM, FHD screen but it's running Ubuntu now. Again, a great experience but I miss the Apple purist experience. It's been nice dabbling with Windows / Android / Ubuntu and other hardware and the desktop form factor, but the Mac wins for me.
I'm similar, when I get engrossed in a project I'm happy to be in my spare bedroom hooked to a big screen, however I have found I'm more productive generally having a less powerful machine that is more portable. Also the MacBook 12'' carry case transfer across to be used by my iPad Pro 12.9 Gen 3 as the footprints are similar (iPad Pro is slightly larger).

If you get the MacBook from John Lewis and open it all gently just to ''check the contents'' you have a 35 day return period.
 
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SmackBookPro

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 11, 2018
502
355
I'm similar, when I get engrossed in a project I'm happy to be in my spare bedroom hooked to a big screen, however I have found I'm more productive generally having a less powerful machine that is more portable. Also the MacBook 12'' carry case transfer across to be used by my iPad Pro 12.9 Gen 3 as the footprints are similar (iPad Pro is slightly larger).

If you get the MacBook from John Lewis and open it all gently just to ''check the contents'' you have a 35 day return period.
That's good to know!

Apple's UK Store live chat told me I could get the price matched, but only over the phone. When I called they said this could only be done for a maximum discount of 10% therefore they couldn't match John Lewis's 800 price.

For me, and I was recently mobile iPad Air 3 only and desktop Mac Mini, I think I need a more capable (macOS) device portably but less power to be productive. I loved the simplicity and durability of the iPad though, the Mac will never match that IMO. But with its fanless design and minimalism, the MB 12" seems to be the way to go for me