A lot of buyers immediately start looking at the higher M models. But today, I’m gonna tell you why the M1 Mac mini and the iPad Air 4 are a perfect combo for someone who’s looking for a performance at a great value. I’m also gonna talk about why I think these two devices compliment each other so well and why the iPad Air 4 is my absolute favorite accessory for the Mac mini. Now, there are more powerful options. So, if you’re editing 8K video on your desktop, or if you want more portable power, then you should look at those other options.
But if you’re an everyday user who still wants that extra performance, so you can play around with photo and video editing, and do everything from browsing the web, streaming movies and music, your typical office-type work, and then, even some mobile gaming, these are all you need. Now, before I get to the features, I wanna talk about why these are such
a great value. And I think a lot of people buy based on potential performance, and sometimes they end up spending money because someone else told them that this or that device is more powerful.
Now, while that statement might technically be true, it doesn’t mean that you need or will even use that extra power. Now, starting with the value of the M1 Mac mini, well, that’s easy because it happens to be the least expensive way of getting into Mac OS.
So, if you wanna run consumer, prosumer, and pro desktop apps, the Mac mini is the most cost-effective way for you to do that. And the bonus is that starting at 699, you still get the incredible performance of the M1 chip.
Now, I know that in the U.S., you can find it for less, if you look for a deal.
But I’m gonna go with the prices that are listed on the Apple website to keep things simple. Now, moving on to the iPad Air 4, it’s actually the middle model, middle model? Anyways, it’s in between the iPad 8 and the iPad Pro. So, you’re not paying a huge premium for that top of the line iPad, but you are paying more than the entry-level model for some of those higher end tiers. Now, we’re looking at 599 for the 64 gig version and 749 for the 256 gig model.
And, that does get you close in price to the 128 gigs, 11-inch M1 iPad Pro. And I do have a video comparing these two if you’re interested.
Now, let’s move to form factor and function. And the Mac mini is really small and it can pretty much fit anywhere. So, even if you have a small desk, it barely takes up any space.
So, for a lot of users who need to create a workstation without having the luxury of a lot of space, it’s definitely more convenient than a large tower. Now, of course, if you want an even more streamlined option, then you should check out the M1 iMac. You’re getting the same M1 chip as in the Mac mini, you’re also getting active cooling, a great display, fantastic speakers, built-in camera and microphones, but all, of course, at a higher price.
Moving on to function, let’s talk about ports. If you look at the back of the Mac mini, you’ll see a power button, power cord input, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, an HDMI 2.
0 port, two USB-A ports, and a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack. For the vast majority of users, this is going to be plenty. I know that there are some more advanced or more demanding users that are asking for more ports. I use an HDMI monitor and a hub which gives me additional USB ports and an SD card slot on the front.
This hub also sits right under my Mac mini, so it’s not taking up any more desktop space and it’s not cluttering up my setup. Another reason why I like this hub is that it moves some of the ports to the front. So, when I use temporary accessories, I have easy access to plug and unplug them.
For permanent accessories like this external SSD drive, which I’ll talk about in a minute, I still use the ports on the back because I never have to unplug it. Now, even if you don’t end up getting a hub, you could still connect one or two displays and still have ports left over.
I like the fact that the Mac mini has a 3.5 millimeter headphone Jack, that way I can use headphones or a headset when I want to and then potentially plug in speakers. Personally because I do end up using headphones, I added external Bluetooth speakers, so I have both options.
And by the way, the Mac mini does have a built-in speaker which would work for video calls but I wouldn’t use it to watch content or listen to music. Now, to the iPad Air 4.
So, first I think it’s a great size which makes it really convenient to use and to bring with you when you’re on the go. Surprisingly, it’s a little shorter than the iPad 8 but because of the smaller vessels and the fact that the power button was moved to the edge, you’re getting a noticeably larger display with a higher resolution. This is also a fully laminated display, meaning that the display panel, the touch layer, and the cover glass are laminated into a single piece.
This is the same type of display that’s used on the iPad Pro, but the iPad Pro has ProMotion. And if you’re not familiar with what that is, ProMotion is Apple’s adaptive refresh rate of up to 120 Hertz.
And you can learn more about that in the comparison video. Now, if you compare the iPad Air 4 to the iPad 8, you’ll notice that the iPad 8 image looks like it’s under a piece of glass and the iPad Air 4 image looks like it’s right at the top of the glass.
So, for viewing content, there isn’t really a ton of difference. But when you take notes or draw, it’s nicer to have the tip of the Apple pencil as close to the content that you’re creating as possible. If you ask me, I would always pick a fully laminated display over a non-laminated one.
I still really like my iPad 8, and I think it’s a great device. But again, if you ask me which display I like better, it’s the fully laminated one. Now, going back to the power button, which is at the top, I really liked the newer version of Touch ID. And I was hoping that Apple would add that feature to the iPad Pro, but they ended up going with just Face ID, the speakers on the iPad Air 4 are also very good. So, if you like to listen to your content without headphones, you won’t be disappointed.
Like I said, in other videos, it’s noticeably better than what you get with the iPad 8.
And I will say that with the iPad Pro, you do take another significant step forward in terms of audio quality. So, with the Air 4, you’re not getting the best audio that Apple offers, but you’re also not paying for it. And you need to ask yourself how much you think you’ll actually use the speakers on your iPad. Personally, I mostly use my AirPods.
But if you do plan to use your speakers a lot, I would take a closer look at the 11-inch iPad Pro. Now, finally, the iPad Air 4 has a USB-C port at the bottom and it’s used for charging and for accessories.
And I love the fact that I don’t need a lightning cable, like I still do with my iPad 8. Speaking of accessory, this is another one of the main reasons why I think the Mac mini is such a great value. For the majority of users, this is not likely to be your first desktop.
And if that’s the case, then you can just reuse your monitor, mouse, keyboard, and speakers.
So, there aren’t any additional expenses beyond the Mac mini itself. If that’s the case for you, then going back to the price, you can spend 699 and be completely done. Now, of course, if you don’t own any accessories, or if you just want to upgrade, then the sky’s the limit. Now, one of the advantages of the Mac mini over the iMac that I mentioned earlier is that you can choose your own accessories.
So, if you want a larger monitor, or matching dual displays, a different type of keyboard, and maybe a different mouse, you can do that and you don’t end up having to pay for it twice. Now, another accessory that I recommend to almost every user is an external SSD. So, rather than paying the higher price that Apple charges for upgrading the internal storage, you can find a lot of very fast and much more affordable options. I did a comparison video of some of the most popular brands.
If you’re interested in seeing which one was the best value in terms of speed and costs, I will link to that video at the end of this one.
Now, one of the best accessories for the Mac mini is actually the iPad Air 4 because of Sidecar. If you’re not familiar with Sidecar, it’s a way for you to wirelessly use the iPad as an additional display. You simply connect it from the display settings in the menu bar and you’re all set. And now, you can use your keyboard and mouse to control the iPad and you can continue to use the touch functionality on the iPad itself. Now, I use this with my Mac mini, my MacBooks and my iMac.
So, maybe I should do a dedicated video about that.
Let me know in the comment section if that’s something you were interested in. If you’ve gotten value from this video, give it a thumbs up. It lets me know what kind of content you like so that I can make more of it. And I still see that over 90% of you are new viewers.
So, hit that subscribe button. Now, to the iPad Air 4 accessories. And there are so many great options here. We’ve got the Magic Keyboard or the Logitech Folio Touch which are great options for when you want a much better typing experience and added protection.
I use a portable SSD and then move it between the iPad Air 4, my Mac mini and my other devices. I also really like the second-generation Apple pencil. It pairs and charges wirelessly, so it’s always ready to go. And it was definitely one of the accessories that I initially underrated. I didn’t actually think that I would use it all that much and I just got it to try it out.
But now that I have it, like, I can’t imagine going back.
I use it for working with PDFs, sketching out storyboards, and shot ideas for my videos. I use it to mark up design ideas and for photo editing. So, it’s really become an important accessory for my workflow. As far as additional protection, I absolutely love the tomtoc Padfolio, and it’s what I use to store my iPad Air 4, and almost all of my accessories. If you’re looking for a more detailed look at everything that I use, I’ll link to that video at the end of this one. For now, I just wanted to give you a high-level look of some of the options. Now, I want to talk the configuration options and what I recommend. So, starting with the Mac mini, if you’re just using it to stream content, you know, do email, surf the web, work with a few web-based apps like Google Docs, and a few local apps, then you can definitely get by with 256 gigs of internal storage and 8 gigs of RAM.
If you’re looking to do any more than that, and plan on having this computer for the next, maybe five to seven years, do yourself a favor and upgrade to 16 gigs of RAM and 512 gigs of internal storage. The extra 400 bucks may seem like a lot now, but if you look at the expected lifetime of the Mac mini, and the fact that you will need to upgrade, because you ran out of storage or it didn’t have enough RAM, I think that you’ll see that it’s very much worth it.
I would then add as much external storage as you need for a lot less money. Now, storage will also get less expensive with time. So, only get what you need. Now, with the iPad Air 4, you have the option of 64 gig model for 599 or 256 gigs for 749. And this seems like a big jump.
So, let’s apply the same logic.
If this is primarily a content-consumption device for you and you’re working with cloud-based apps and files, you can get by with the 64 gig model. Again, if you’re going to do more than that, and you’re looking at using the iPad Air 4 for a long time, the extra 150 bucks will definitely be worth quadrupling the internal storage. You can still use an external SSD for some tasks but it doesn’t work for things like video editing. And you definitely lose some of the convenience and portability of an iPad if you always have to bring an SSD with you.
I remember that I have links in the description to all the products I talked about. Hopefully this video was helpful. Click on my face to subscribe, and then watch one of these videos. You know what I always say, buy it nice or buy twice. Good luck and see you soon.