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If you could only have ONE ?


  • Total voters
    51

M5RahuL

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 1, 2009
3,433
2,081
TeXaS
I'm just curious if you wanted to ( or say, could ) keep one of the two, which would it be and why ?

Assumptions:

1. Have an iPad.
2. Staying home for the most part.
3. Comparing the same configurations ( eg. base mini to base MBA etc.. ).


Essentially, I'm trying to figure out the advantages of choosing one over the other ?
 

Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
34,964
50,970
In the middle of several books.
In my opinion, the MBA is better choice for mobility and non-sustained work load around the house, provided you need to do something on the MBA that can't be done or accessed on the iPad.

If you need more power on a regular basis and don't really care about mobility within the home, the mini is the better choice.
 
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jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,788
4,516
They have similar performance (the mini is a bit more performant) but the Air is more flexible. Not being tied down to a desk is worth quite a bit to me.
 

JohnnyGo

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2009
955
619
I went with the Mini.

1) WFH
2) Already have an 2016 MBP
3) Had a 4k 28” monitor setup
4) will wait for the new 14” MBP or 2nd gen MBA
 

someoneoutthere

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2014
322
123
Someplaceoutthere
If you think you can use your iPad on the go for your workflow, go with the Mac Mini.

I have an iPad Pro which I do work related things on the go, so that is a big plus for me.

Having said that, I also have a 13" MBP that I occasionally take to places with me if I am not going to be home for a few days.

I like my M1 base Mac Mini quite a bit. It can do everything my 13" i5/16/512 2020 MBP can do, and then some. It runs a 4K monitor butter smooth. It doesn't heat up. I can run a good chunk of my iOS apps on it. In short, it is far more efficient, cool and quiet compared to running the same tasks on my *Intel* MBP.

I realized how much I missed the "traditional" ports on the Mac Mini and not having to rely on USB-C adapters as I do on my MBP.

Bonus: Battery life on the M1 Macs is pretty amazing. If the apps that you currently use on your iPad/iOS devices could be installed on your M1 Mac, you would be pretty much duplicating your iOS experience; minus LTE, touch screen and Apple Pencil input of course.
 

KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
18,228
8,176
I'd go with the Air. It comes with a keyboard, trackpad and monitor built in, and the performance isn't that much different unless you are running something very CPU-intensive for a long period of time. Plus you would have the flexibility of a notebook you can take with you around the house.

Max Tech compared the MacBook Air to the MacBook Pro recently, and concluded that most were better off with the Air since the performance difference didn't justify the price difference. The math is a bit different with the mini if you already have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, but the MacBook Pro and Mac mini should have similar performance.
 
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Zazoh

macrumors 68000
Jan 4, 2009
1,513
1,119
San Antonio, Texas
Last round I did mini. Went back to MBA this round. Too nice to be able to take laptop to different room. Next round I’m going iPad Pro and ditching the old tech all together.

Mini sucks without a good monitor, so it isn’t a savings in the long run.
 

alien3dx

macrumors 68020
Feb 12, 2017
2,188
525
I'm just curious if you wanted to ( or say, could ) keep one of the two, which would it be and why ?

Assumptions:

1. Have an iPad.
2. Staying home for the most part.
3. Comparing the same configurations ( eg. base mini to base MBA etc.. ).


Essentially, I'm trying to figure out the advantages of choosing one over the other ?
If you have ipad you can remote desktop if you want to work not in the room.

An upgrade 16 gb mac mini more cheaper then base macbook m1

** most my work done in imac 2017 then the m1 macbook air
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G5
Mar 20, 2003
12,034
6,068
Bay Area
The mini will give you slightly better performance and has more ports. The MBA is portable. That's pretty much it. So for me it's the Air but I can see going the other way if you use an iPad also.
 

abhi182

macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2016
173
120
Just throwing it out there.
I got the MBA
Realized it was as good as the reviews said so decided to get a Mini to replace desktop

Just before punching in the payment details, I though that (A) the MBA is anyway faster than my Intel desktop and (B) Does not have heating/thermal issues like the old MBP
A and B together make the MBA a viable desktop replacement too so why not try docking instead..

Picked an A2119 adapter instead and pretty happy with the outcome.
Takes less than 10 seconds to dock with the existing monitor/ KB/ Mouse/ Peripherals which is maybe 5 seconds more than waking a mini
It’s already fast enough and more for my requirements so no perf penalty either!

As an added bonus, i also get a secondary extended screen so no need to use sidecar ..

And if for whatever reason I need a 3rd screen , sidecar does that pretty well
 

Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
34,964
50,970
In the middle of several books.
If you have ipad you can remote desktop if you want to work not in the room.

An upgrade 16 gb mac mini more cheaper then base macbook m1

** most my work done in imac 2017 then the m1 macbook air
Being able to remote into the mini using the iPad is a good point. I was doing that most of the time until I got the M1. Now, I use the M1 most of the time to remote into my headless mini.
 

Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
34,964
50,970
In the middle of several books.
Last round I did mini. Went back to MBA this round. Too nice to be able to take laptop to different room. Next round I’m going iPad Pro and ditching the old tech all together.

Mini sucks without a good monitor, so it isn’t a savings in the long run.
That is a good point about the monitor, not to mention having to create and keep room on the desk for a keyboard and trackpad (or mouse). By the time you spend money on a monitor, you are, at a minimum, in M1 MBA territory. The MBA or MBP takes up less room on the desk and for most people offers the best of both worlds (so to speak).
 
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scgf

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2003
391
379
Market Harborough, UK
I bought a Mini. There's something about sitting at a desk using a desktop machine with a large monitor which makes me feel I'm doing something more serious than if I were using a laptop. I always have a desktop as my main computer and tend to use my iPhone or iPad if I'm sitting on the sofa watching TV. The desktop is my hub. I've had laptops before, but they quickly became redundant.
 

ctjack

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2020
1,401
1,434
Do like mini for the port selection and painless connectivity of KB and mouse.
Additional things in Air is well worth the price difference: extra screen, keyboard, trackpad, battery, web camera.
Still running Air with 27 2k display and mouse: so some sort of a mac mini experience with the ability to take it with me on the go.
If you don't need to use your own laptop somewhere else - then by all means buy the mini.
If you need to move it somewhere outside of your house - buy Air.
 

James_C

macrumors 68030
Sep 13, 2002
2,836
1,875
Bristol, UK
Performance difference between the two is not that different. Choice will depend on how productive you feel you are on the iPad. Work software on the iPad is still limited compared to the Mac. I tend to use my iPad for Web Browsing, Watching movies and the occasional email. Anything that requires using Office I tend to use my M1 MBA, or my 27" iMac. If I did not already have a Laptop or desktop, but an iPad, I probably would choose the MBA, However I would probably also invest in an external monitor as well. While I have a dedicated room in my house for an Office, I would get stir crazy if I spent all my time in there. With my MBA I can take my work to any room in the house for a bit of variety. Case in point I am typing this sitting in my dining room, looking out onto the bird table in the garden.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 603
Aug 19, 2017
6,146
7,000
Interesting the results (currently) pretty much reflect Apple's stated split of 80% Laptop Mac sales to 20% Desktop!
 

darngooddesign

macrumors P6
Jul 4, 2007
18,254
9,942
Atlanta, GA
Under your stay at home scenario, do you want to use it away from your desk?

Also, if you aren't doing a sustained workload, like rendering, then the Mini doesn't have better performance. I believe the Mini supports two external screens while the Air only one.
 
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BigMcGuire

Cancelled
Jan 10, 2012
9,832
14,029
I'm just curious if you wanted to ( or say, could ) keep one of the two, which would it be and why ?

Assumptions:

1. Have an iPad.
2. Staying home for the most part.
3. Comparing the same configurations ( eg. base mini to base MBA etc.. ).


Essentially, I'm trying to figure out the advantages of choosing one over the other ?

I voted mini. I have a 4K monitor already and a ton of keyboards/mice. Biggest reason for the mini is your #1. You’ll save some $ and assuming you actually use your iPad, it makes that savings worth it. I am using a Bluetooth keyboard right now to type this reply into Macrumors with my iPad Pro 11 - I use this as my mobile computer when I don’t want to sit at my desk anymore.

Mostly just cost tho - and not a lot at that.

I have a MBP and it would be very difficult to give that up for a mini - but having worked at home most of 2020... I’m changing my tune on that.
 

beach bum

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 6, 2011
8,243
29,195
Philly
Can you do both? M1 MBA for mobility and tasks that are better served on a laptop over the iPad and the mini for for heavy work? I sold my 12.9 iPad for the M1 and keep the mini for the more intensive workloads.
 

jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,788
4,516
Can you do both? M1 MBA for mobility and tasks that are better served on a laptop over the iPad and the mini for for heavy work? I sold my 12.9 iPad for the M1 and keep the mini for the more intensive workloads.
I’ve barely used my 11” iPad Pro + Magic Keyboard since I bought my M1 MBA in December but I can’t imagine selling it. I’m sure I will start using it again at some point. It works too well for what it was designed for to replace it completely with a notebook (IMO).
 

beach bum

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 6, 2011
8,243
29,195
Philly
I’ve barely used my 11” iPad Pro + Magic Keyboard since I bought my M1 MBA in December but I can’t imagine selling it. I’m sure I will start using it again at some point. It works too well for what it was designed for to replace it completely with a notebook (IMO).
That’s fair. For me, I would get too frustrated at times with the limitations of the iPad. Also, factoring in the weight of it with the magic keyboard, getting the M1 MBA just made sense.
 
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