It’s not the M2 MacBook Pros that have given me and my MacBook Pro 2021 buyers remorse - it’s the Mac Mini

Mac Mini in a thought bubble
(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

It's December 2022. I need a new computer. My old one is starting to really show its five years of use, as Chrome gradually runs slower and slower, and booting the machine up takes longer and longer. Do I wait for then-rumored new MacBook Pros, or do I save a little money, buy a little time, and grab one of the ageing 2021 models?

I opted for the latter. The new MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips —revealed today, but ephemerally distant back in December — didn't seem like they'd be coming out any time soon. The order for the existing MacBook Pro went in, and now I have a lovely MacBook Pro with M1 Pro sitting on my desk.

It was the wrong decision to make — but not for the reason you might think.

The big reveal

MacBook Pro 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

The new MacBook Pros with M2 were revealed a whole month after I bought my shiny 'new' 2021 MacBook Pro. With them have come the expected upgrades, including the new M2 chips, a new HDMI port upgrade, and a little extra battery life. They are reasonable upgrades, but not massive changes to what came before.

See, while the processor bumps are impressive, with stats like 40% more GPU power being bandied about, they're nothing to get me personally excited. I don't need extra power. I mostly use my MacBook to write work, pen scripts, and do some light video editing and music production. I don't care if the new one has however much more percent power in the seventh core of the seventh processor: I care whether the machine has fundamentally changed. And let's be honest, it hasn't.

Despite the new chips and the new HDMI port, these are still virtually the same laptop. When I open it won't look any different, and given it will also use MacOS Ventura, it will feel the same to use as well. Sure, if you're upgrading from a five-year-old laptop like I was it would be a bigger change, but it doesn't feel like a big enough difference over my new (old!) MacBook Pro to feel like I should've waited.

Buyers remorse? Don't know her.

The big realisation

Mac Mini

(Image credit: Apple)

Except I kind of do have at least one pang of regret...

Also announced was the new M2 Mac Mini, and it is a stunner. While it may have the same design as the previous model, it features loads of options that I would've loved at a very good price.

Sure, the M2 Pro chip and the 'up to' 32GB of RAM is an impressive feat for the Mac Mini, the machine that's always felt like the entry model. But it's the price that really impresses here. The base model costs $599 — $100 cheaper than the last M1 Mac Mini. $100 cheaper for a more powerful computer? Apple, you ok? It's a similar move to what it recently pulled with the most recent Apple TV 4K box: better specs, lower price.

If I spec up one of the Mac Minis to have the same storage and RAM as my laptop, with the M2 Pro chip, I can get the same kind of specs for $1299 — an entire $700 less than my MacBook Pro. Sure, I might not get the screen, keyboard and portability of the MacBook, but I already have those on my desk. My MacBook is currently closed, connected to a pair of screens in clamshell mode, as it stays for most of the time. I didn't really need a laptop.

The conflict in my head

So here I am, with a MacBook that I both love and also feel slightly bitter about. It's a stunning piece of equipment, and I certainly don't think it's that far off the alleged performance of even the latest models. I love how I can sit in bed with it to watch my favorite YouTube videos and write scripts in the local coffee shop, or record quick snippets of tracks in the pub with friends.

I love how I can sit in bed with it to watch my favorite YouTube videos and write scripts in the local coffee shop.

It is, after all, a very useful machine. But it is also one that cost an arm and a leg. It is the base model, and it cost close to two grand. It gets slightly worse when it looks like I effectively paid $700 for an (admittedly very lovely) 14-inch display, clicky keyboard, and glass panel mouse. The Mini has made me look at my MacBook with a certain amount of wistfulness, almost a longing that I'd waited just a few weeks.

I still might get one

The only thing that's kept me feeling like I didn't make a mistake with my MacBook Pro is that I might just pick up one of the base model Mac Minis anyway. It'll have plenty of juice as a small computer to stick under the telly, and it won't cost as much as other mini PCs that have the same purpose. I'll have the Mac Mini I look at with loving eyes, and I'll still have my MacBook with it's screen and portabilty.

It won't make me feel completely better, but while I use a brand new Apple computer to play games and stream on my TV, I'll forget about it for a just a moment.

Tammy Rogers
Buying Guides and Deals Writer

As the Buying Guides and Deals writer for iMore, Tammy puts over a decade of experience in finding the best prices of Apple products to work, helping you save money on the equipment that you want. An audiophile at heart, she loves all things audio and visual, but you’ll also find her drooling over the latest Macs and MacBooks. With a Masters in screenwriting, Tammy likes to spend her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays or driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.