The key differences between MacBook Air and Mac mini with M1 — 2022

28If you are considering buying a new Mac, the options of MacBook Air M1 Y Mac mini M1 . If you have doubts about which one you are going to have to finally choose, we will give you the key points to be able to differentiate both teams so that you can finally choose.

We compare your specifications

As in each of the comparisons that we carry out, although the specifications can give us a lot of information, what is important is the use that is going to be given to a team. We are facing two teams that obviously are not the same in specifications, but neither in the job to be given. In the following table you will be able to visualize these differences and similarities that can be found.

macbook air mac mini



specsMac mini (M1 - 2020)MacBook Air (M1 - 2020)
ColorsSilver-Silver
-Space Gray
-Prayed
Dimensions-Height: 3.6cm
- Width: 19.7cm
-Bottom: 19.7 cm
-Height: 0.41 cm (closed) and 1.61 cm (open)
- Width: 12'
-Bottom: 21.24 cm
Weight1,2 kg
1,29 kg
ProcessorM1 (Apple) with integrated RAM, 8-core CPU (4 performance and 4 efficiency), 8-core GPU and 16-core Neural EngineApple M1 (8 core CPU, 7/8 core GPU and 16 core Neural Engine)
RAM-8 GB (integrated in the processor)
-16 GB (integrated in the processor)
-8GB of built-in memory
-16GB of built-in memory
Storage capacity-256 GB SSD
-512 GB SSD
-1 TB SSD
-2 TB SSD
-256 GB SSD
-512 GB SSD
-1 TB SSD
-2 TB SSD
Screendoes not integrate13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS Retina
Resolutiondoes not integrate2,560 x 1,600 with 400 nits brightness
GraphicsIntegrated in the processor.Integrated in the processor.
Cameradoes not integrate720p FaceTime HD camera
Audio-1 speaker
-3.5mm headphone jack
-HDMI 2.0 port supports multi-channel audio output
-2 stereo speakers compatible with Dolby Atmos
-3 directional beamforming microphones
-3.5mm headphone jack
connectivity-WiFi 802.11ax (6th generation)
-Bluetooth 5.0
-WiFi 802.11ac 6th generation
-Bluetooth 5.0
ports-two. USB-C ports compatible with Thunderbolt 4
-2 USB-A ports
-1 HDMI 2.0 port
-1 puerto Gigabith Ethernet
2 USB-C / Thunderbolt ports
biometric systemsdoes not integrateTouch ID on keyboard

At first glance, you will be able to find really relevant differences. The most obvious, of course, is in the design of both teams that are completely different. In the rest of the sections, it should be noted that they are very similar, especially with regard to hardware, since both have an identical CPU and GPU. That is why the main differences are:

    Dimensions. Screen. Camera. Available colours. Biometric sensors.

Two completely different designs

As we have mentioned before, one of the main differences between these two devices is their design. In this way, each one of them focuses on a very different audience. And it is that in this case, we believe that we should focus on two key points of design: the screen and also portability.

Integrated screen, against the use of other monitors

Mac laptops logically integrate a screen to be able to work in a comfortable way, with a size of 13.3 inches . In this case we are talking about a device that integrates both the visual part with the hardware, achieving the perfect combo necessary to have the best portable experience. In the outdoor area, the image can be viewed quite well, since it has a nit rate of 400 with true tone technology to adapt the brightness and color to different environmental conditions.

macbook air

This is not the case on the Mac mini where display features cannot be highlighted, since it does not have one. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, you're going to be forced to purchase a third-party monitor in order to work with the Mac mini, but on the other hand, you'll have a lot of freedom of choice. This is because this equipment allows connect to 6K monitors and 4K displays . With this last resolution, the possibility of making the simultaneous connection to 3 monitors should be highlighted.

Can they be transported?

This will be one of the most important points that will exist when choosing one team or another. This is because the MacBook Air is obviously portable, while the Mac mini is designed to be installed in a room permanently.

The MacBook Air is designed for those people who need to be connected anywhere in a very simple way. In other words, they need to have a computer in the office or university to be able to write reports or take notes. In this case The Apple laptop has dimensions that are ideal to be placed in a backpack and with its low weight you will not notice that you are carrying it. Simply, when you want to use it, you will have to open it and turn it on to start working.

This is obviously not the case with the Mac mini, which has larger dimensions and does not have a built-in battery to be able to operate automatically. It necessarily requires having a monitor, as we have seen before, and also being connected to power. Although, although it has a design to be permanently installed in the office, a change of stay can always be carried out comfortably as well as moving without complications.

mac mini m1

hardware that includes

When looking at the specifications of each of the devices, it should be noted that the chip is exactly the same in both devices. But there are a number of differences, which will affect performance and can also be seen in the cheap versions of each of the devices.

More basic models, do they differ?

One of the priorities that we customers have is to get a team like this at the lowest price. In this case, it may be interesting to consult the basic versions of each of the devices. And the truth is that we find very similar configurations. On Apple's own website we can see that the MacBook Air starts with an M1 chip with 8 CPU cores and 7 CPU cores.

In the case of the Mac mini, you can only see a change in the number of GPU cores that part of the eight. This is something quite important to note, especially if you want to perform video or photo editing tasks, which will require the use of the GPU. In the case of a user who is basic, you will not find many differences in practice, but in the professional field, it can become a quite relevant point.

How they work performing different tasks

What both the MacBook and the Mac mini are really going to be used for is both light and heavy duty tasks. At first, it may not be noticeable in almost anything between both devices, but in the professional field you will be able to notice some deficiency. Above all, we must highlight the basic version in which you don't have eight GPU cores in the case of the MacBook Air. Although the presence or not of one more core may seem quite insignificant, it can end up being noticed in video editing for professional editing.

Obviously, we are talking about hardware that is not aimed at a professional audience. Superior versions of Apple Silicon chip can be found on the market. But what is going to be achieved is to overcome the Intel processors that were installed in previous generations. In order to carry out the real comparison, you should always opt for the higher versions, although in these cases as well. the different tests that are carried out are practically identical .

How to know compatible applications M1 Apple Silicon

Another fundamental section in the hardware is the RAM . A vital point for the use of specific professional programs, and that in both cases configuration is shared. Basically you can install 8 GB of RAM, although it is possible to install a total of 16 GB . Although at first it may seem strange that having such a small RAM is valued, the important thing is to value the management that is carried out by the hardware. With Apple Silicon, 8 GB is more than enough to be able to manage the use of different programs without there being a bottleneck.

ventilation system used

The fact of how a piece of equipment is cooled is a really relevant aspect. It directly interferes with the performance that can be offered. Although, we must start from the efficiency of the processor with Apple Silicon architecture. This means that the base temperature inside the MacBook or Mac mini will not get excessively hot when fairly heavy tasks are being carried out.

But it is that in this aspect there is a quite remarkable difference: the MacBook Air does not integrate some fan, while the Mac mini integrates only one. The temperature at a general level can be kept quite stable, although it is true that in the long run MacBook Air can sacrifice performance. This is because when the temperature rises high enough, when editing a video at high quality for a long time for example, the power must be reduced to prevent the chip from burning out. Obviously, it will end up affecting performance, although as we say it is in extreme cases.

macbook air

In the Mac mini, by including a fan, even just one, you can reduce the temperature through an active system and not just a passive one. This means that the temperature increase can be counteracted, avoiding thermal throttling. Above all, it is important in this case, since the space that is available is quite limited and therefore it can end up condensing much more quickly.

sound system and camera

The Audio system it is essential to be able to have a good entertainment experience in the multimedia field, and also for meetings. In this case there are quite relevant differences, since the Mac mini has a single speaker, while the MacBook Air integrates two stereo speakers compatible with Dolby Atmos . This will ensure that you can play music or watch multimedia content at a higher quality. Although, we must bear in mind that the Mac mini has a reduced space, and that is why it is designed to be able to use an external sound system.

The camera it can also become essential for many users. There's a big difference here: the MacBook Air has a lens at the top of the screen and the Mac mini does not integrate any. In the latter case, you are forced to use an external accessory that can be connected directly via USB. This obviously also offers you greater freedom of choice to choose those features that suit you best. In the case of the laptop, it only integrates a lens that offers a 720p resolution , which poses a quality that may be insufficient.

Mac mini M1 review

Comparison in software

Beyond the hardware, which is obviously really important, the operating system that is installed must also be highlighted. In this case, you will hardly be able to find differences, since today they arrive from the factory with macOS Monterey. Although, the operating system that Apple has is not perfect and sometimes you will be able to find some software problems that give advantages and disadvantages.

Installation of applications

No laptop or mobile phone is useless if you can't install applications on it. This is a phrase that you have undoubtedly heard on many occasions and with which you may agree. It is a reality that applications are responsible for giving life to a team. And now with chips based on an ARM architecture this has been affected, since all apps have been forced to adapt to this new hardware condition.

Third party developers have nicely adapted their programs to ARM. This has meant that, above all, the most important programs that have a higher turnover are present on these computers without any problem. The problem comes with other applications that have not been adapted. Faced with these situations, a code translator called Rosetta 2 that will allow you to run those apps that are not adapted. It can be said that in a certain way they are being virtualized, and although it does not work as well as if it were developed natively, it is undoubtedly a fairly successful patch.

Over time, there are few applications that will not be able to be used due to this problem. That is why if you are a professional, you will not have a problem with either of the two computers that have this kind of hardware. And as time goes by, we will be facing a situation that is increasingly better adapted to reality.

You will be able to update macOS

One of the key points that arise when purchasing any technological product is the support that will be received through software. In this case we must say that Apple has not disappointed in previous models. If you look back , Apple has offered up to 9 years of updates to its Mac . In this case, both the MacBook Air and the Mac mini were released at the same time. That is why both teams will have the same range of updates over time.

This is certainly great news. The first point to keep in mind is that security patches will be received quite regularly, as Apple is used to. All the security flaws that may arise will be solved, and you will always be protected. In a second point you will also have visual and functional novelties without investing more money, just with a simple click. In this way we are facing very good news when we always talk about software updates.

price differences

Undoubtedly one of the most relevant points throughout an entire comparison. This is because most users will give more importance to this price than the features as such. Keep in mind that between the basic configurations there is a difference of 330 euros. Obviously, it is a considerable amount of money, although in the case of the Mac mini, it must be taken into account that the price of the monitor and the peripherals must be added, which can cost at least 200 euros. In this way, the difference in a considerable way.

Mac mini M1 price

In this case you can find two starting prices, which are considered basic models. But the truth is that there is no difference between the two with respect to the processor, since they are limited to introducing a greater SSD capacity. And as we have previously commented, in this case the price of the peripherals that are mandatory to use the equipment must always be taken into account.

From 799 euros

  • M1 chip with 8 core CPU and 8 core GPU
  • RAM:
    • 8 GB
    • 16 GB: +230 euros
  • SSD:
    • 256 GB
    • 512 GB: +230 euros
    • 1 TB: +460 euros
    • 2 TB: +920 euros
  • Ethernet:
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • 10 Gigabit Ethernet: +115 euros
  • Pre-Installed Software:
    • Final Cut Pro: +299.99 euros
    • Logic Pro: +199.99 euros

From 1,029 euros

  • M1 chip with 8 core CPU and 8 core GPU
  • RAM:
    • 8 GB
    • 16 GB: +230 euros
  • SSD:
    • 512 GB
    • 1 TB: +230 euros
    • 2 TB: +690 euros
  • Ethernet:
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • 10 Gigabit Ethernet: +115 euros
  • Pre-Installed Software:
    • Final Cut Pro: +299.99 euros
    • Logic Pro: +199.99 euros

New Mac mini Apple Silicon

MacBook Air M1 Price

In the case of the MacBook Air, you can also find a series of prices that vary depending on the configuration. It is obviously important to choose wisely in this regard in order to have the best experience possible.

From 1129 euros

  • M1 chip with 8 core CPU and 7 core GPU
  • RAM:
    • 8 GB
    • 16 GB: +230 euros
  • SSD:
    • 256 GB
    • 512 GB: +230 euros
    • 1 TB: +460 euros
    • 2 TB: +920 euros
  • Pre-Installed Software:
    • Final Cut Pro: +299.99 euros
    • Logic Pro: +199.99 euros

From 1399 euros

  • M1 chip with 8 core CPU and 8 core GPU
  • RAM:
    • 8 GB
    • 16 GB: +230 euros
  • SSD:
    • 512 GB
    • 1 TB: +230 euros
    • 2 TB: +690 euros
  • Pre-Installed Software:
    • Final Cut Pro: +299.99 euros
    • Logic Pro: +199.99 euros

Review MacBook Air M1 Apple Silicon

Conclusions we can draw

Surely when you started reading this article you had many questions about which of these Macs you will finally have to buy. But after reading all this data, it is quite likely that you have finally been able to end up deciding on one or the other. As is logical, they are completely different teams in their concept. The Mac mini is designed to be permanently installed in a room, and work from home in the office or in the office through a monitor that you have a high resolution. This is obviously not intended in the case of the MacBook Air, which can be comfortably transported to any location.

With regard to performance, it has been seen that we are facing benefits that are very similar. In both cases, there is an Apple Silicon M1 chip that offers really good performance to be able to carry out professional tasks. The only negative point can be in the MacBook Air with its thermal throttling, although in normal use you will hardly end up noticing it. Likewise, the Mac mini lacks some functions that the MacBook does have, such as the integrated camera, although it will always be possible to buy it independently.

That is why our recommendation is based mainly on the use that is going to be given in different environments. If you work from home, and you don't need to always carry a computer with you, the Mac mini is the best option for you. But if you have to go to university or work and you have to bring your own computer, you will appreciate having a MacBook Air in your possession.