MacBook Air vs Mac mini

If you want to buy an Apple Mac without spending too much, the Mac mini and the MacBook Air are the two best solutions. Although the two devices are very different, they are both excellent for creative people who want to take advantage of the Apple ecosystem. That said, there are some areas where they cannot be compared. The Mac mini, for example, lacks a display, internal battery and camera-if you need these features, the MacBook Air is the better choice.

However, this comparison is by no means a foregone conclusion, and the Mac mini offers many things that interest creative users. If you are looking for a bargain-the cheapest Mac you can buy-you might try to decide between these two Macs and ask yourself which one offers the best value for money.

In November 2020 Apple updated the MacBook Air and Mac mini with M1 chips, beginning the transition of the entire range from Intel to its own processors. In June 2022 Apple updated the MacBook Air again, introducing two M2 models and keeping the MacBook Air M1, the base model.

MacBook Air vs Mac mini


The Mac Mini and MacBook Air build on the design choices of their predecessors. Both devices are exceptionally well built, with sturdy frames that do not creak or bend. The Mac Mini is a thin slab with an incredibly understated metal casing design. It can be an attractive office centerpiece or remain hidden under a monitor or desk. Basically, you can place it anywhere the monitor cables can reach, but it is still a desktop, so it is designed to stay put.

The MacBook Air is an entirely different beast. It is a laptop computer, after all. It is longer and wider than the Mac Mini because of its built-in screen, but it is also much thinner. Since it is a laptop, you can use it anywhere, unlike the Mac Mini.


Whether you choose an M1 or Intel Mac mini, it is the clear winner over the MacBook Air in terms of connectivity. The MacBook Air is limited to only two Thunderbolt 3 ports (with transfer speeds up to 40 Gb/s) and a headphone jack. The Mac mini M1, on the other hand, has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 slot, an Ethernet connector and a headphone jack.

If you choose the Intel model, you get everything in the M1 version, plus two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports. If you need to connect a lot of external devices and don’t want to find yourself in dongle hell, the Mac mini has a distinct advantage over the MacBook Air.


Hardware options for the MacBook Air are limited. Since the only option is the M1 chip for the processor, all that remains is to increase memory to 16 GB and storage to 2 TB. The base configuration starts at $899 and includes the M1 processor, 8 GB of unified memory, and 256 GB of solid-state storage. The M1 makes the MacBook Air a performance powerhouse, beating out virtually all computers in its class.

This is a huge improvement over previous Air models. In addition, the Air is fanless, so it packs all this power and performance into a quiet design. It can’t compete with the MacBook Pro, but it’s still impressive. If you want a little more space on the memory and storage front, you can upgrade to 16 GB of unified memory ($180) and up to 2 TB of storage ($720 maximum). Other customization options allow you to increase the GPU cores from 7 to 8 (as in the MacBook Pro).


The MacBook Air has some useful features not found in the Mac mini. Most obvious is that it has an integrated display. It works with P3 color gamut, essential for creative work, and has a 720p webcam. There is also the Magic Keyboard and the included Touch ID button, ideal for logging into accounts and verifying purchases. It can support an external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.

The Mac mini is more of an essential device, and as such does not have the display, webcam, keyboard and Touch ID of the MacBook Air (however, you can purchase all of these items). Speaking of displays, the Mac mini can connect to two external monitors, one with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz.


There is no denying that the MacBook Air is the more portable of the two. At just 2.8 pounds and 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches, it is a slim, lightweight laptop that can be used on the go. It has the best battery life of all the MacBooks we tested, which is not great by modern laptop standards, but is enough to keep you going for a full workday and into the evening.

The Mac Mini is not designed to be used on the go, so it has no built-in display, keyboard or battery. However, it is very compact: it measures 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches. It is also very light, weighing just 2.6 pounds, only slightly heavier than the MacBook Air.


Given the impressive performance, both the Mac mini and MacBook Air are excellent value for money. The MacBook Air can be purchased for $999, a great deal considering the M1 chip and the excellent display with support for the wide P3 color gamut, which is essential for creatives. You can also purchase a case. The Mac mini is even more affordable at $699 / £699 and is the cheapest way to get the M1 chip. It doesn’t come with a monitor, mouse or keyboard, but if you already have them, it probably won’t bother you.

Final words

In the age of smartphones in everyone’s pockets, portability is not as important as it used to be. While not a laptop, the Mac Mini offers some advantages over the similarly priced MacBook Air. The Mac Mini offers more connectivity options. You are less likely to run out of space if you use multiple peripherals. You can stay connected without using hubs that tend to slow down the device’s performance. With its range of ports in a small footprint, you can connect almost anything with ease.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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