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Mac Mini Review (G4) March 14, 2006

Posted by Chris in Reviews, Technology.
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Forget the new Intel Mac Mini, let me show you while the old Mini is as good as the new one. – and not just because it’s cheaper!

Specs used:

1.42 G4 processor
512 MB Ram
80 GB Hard Drive
Combo Drive
Airport Extreme
Bluetooth
Operating System: Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger)
Price: £429 (£365.11 ex vat)

Accessories:

Standard Keyboard (£17.00)
Mighty Mouse (£35.00)

Before I was exposed to the power of an Apple Mac I was a 100% Windows user, even my PDA used Windows. Then one day, I went to a company to do some work and was confronted with a G4 Mac and told to get on with it, so I had no choice but make friends with the apple. Despite the one-buttoned mouse and the command button, I was getting used to the peculiar operating system and was beginning to enjoy the experience so much that I decided to splash out and buy a Mini Mac.

I was familiar with the tiny design after spotting one in Berlin and being amazed that a cube smaller than a shoebox was powering a massive 27” monitor or “display” as Apple likes to call them.

First Impressions

Wow, it’s tiny. I’m sorry to sound repetitive but it takes a while to sink in how small the “laptop in a box” actually is, moving on…

Sound quality is one of this products drawbacks, the first thing that happens when switched on is a loud muffled welcoming sound which doesn’t seem to route through the external speakers I had plugged into the headphones socket.

Setup is easy. After a few minuets of trying to unwrap the thing and plugging it in, just switch it on, fill in your details and away you go. It connected within second to my wireless network and I was online in no time.

Using the Mac

Tiger. An improvement on v10.3 but not an immense one. The widget function is really easy and extremely useful. You can download widgets from the apple website and just drag them onto your desktop. Press F12 and they appear, press it again and they’re gone. Simple.

After using Mozilla Firefox a lot on Windows, Safari isn’t much of a variation; however Safari doesn’t share the tab function allowing you to have one or more WebPages ready to view in one window. However, both have a small search bar in the top right corner of the window allowing you to search on Google or other search engines.

With a click and a drag of your mouse, you are moments away from live news data. Safari is with compatible with RSS, which then can works alongside with Tiger to create a RSS screensaver.

Mighty Mouse

Even though it costs £35.00 ($50.00) the Mighty Mouse is a revolution for Apple and Apple users. Apple’s quest for originality was just getting plain obnoxious so I think this is a step in the right direction for apple.

Encase you were unaware, the Might mouse looks and feels like a normal one-buttoned apple mouse but it has two buttons secretly hidden underneath the exterior and has a 360 decrees scroll ball placed on the top which makes hast of scrolling up, down, left an right of any window you happen to be using.

Beware; if you don’t decide to buy a Mighty mouse then you will need another one instead, and a keyboard for that matter; the Mac Mini arrives absent of a keyboard and a mouse.

Overall

If you are a brave Windows users who wants to break away from the standard Windows interface, then this Mac is for you. If you are looking to produce a two hour long feature film then I would recommend a G5 PowerMac. Or even an Intel Mac.

Don’t be put off by the small numbers; 1.42 GHz. This machine looks capable of running Photoshop CS, Dreamweaver MX and some advanced games thanks to its graphics card. (The new Intel Mac Mini uses Shared Graphics)

The 512 MB ram seems to handle most tasks with ease and is always upgradeable to 1GB, which can be done in the comfort of your own front room if you have the appropriate skills and a screwdriver.

Ease of setup: 5/5
Performance: 3/5
Value for money: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Overall: 90/100

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Comments»

1. tek - March 15, 2006

Good review. I am interested in the new Macs as well. However, there is something you noted incorrectly about Safari. Safari can handle tabs, I think it’s the cmd (apple) + T that will make a new tab open up for you. 🙂

2. Chris - March 15, 2006

oh, I havn’t noticed that, I will check it out, Thanks

3. Scott Simmons - March 17, 2006

You have to enable Tabbed browsing in Safari’s preferences. Another neat little trick is you can collect the bookmarks for all your favorite reguarly visited webpages and place them in a folder, you can then add that folder to your bookmarks bar, once you click on the folder in your bookmarks bar it will simultaneously open all the bookmarks within that folder in tabs! I’ve named mine “Daily Favorites”


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