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Apple MacBooks And Mac Mini (2020): Are They Worth It?

Geralyne Ong

Geralyne Ong

Last updated 16 December, 2020

Apple’s gone and done it again — they’ve just launched the new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Mini

Apple usually announces their new range of tech products for the next couple of months during their annual September event, but this year, they’ve kept some surprises for November. These surprises come in the form of the new and improved Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro that will be available online and in-store from 17 November 2020. 

Here’s the real question. What are they, how do they differ, what are their technical specifications and are they worth your buck? Or, should you consider their predecessors? 

But, before we delve into that, here’s an inside peek into their upgraded technical specifications and their accompanying price tags.

Apple Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 2020

Technical specificationsMac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (2020)Mac Mini with Intel Core i5 (2020)MacBook Air with Apple M1 Chip (2020)MacBook Pro 13” with Apple M1 Chip (2020)MacBook Pro 13” with 10th‑generation Intel Core i5 (2020)
Display--Retina display 13.3” LED-backlit display with IPS technologyRetina display 13.3” LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Touch bar
Retina display 13.3” LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Touch bar
Processor8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores6-Core3.0GHz 6-core, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz9MB shared L3 cache(configurable to Intel Core i7)8-core CPU with 4 perform­ance cores and 4 efficiency cores8-core CPU with 4 perform­ance cores and 4 efficiency cores2.0GHz quad-core, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz, with 6MB shared L3 cache (configurable to Intel Core i7)
RAM8GB (configurable up to 16GB)8GB (configurable up to 64GB)8GB (configurable up to 16GB)8GB (configurable up to 16GB)16GB (configurable up to 32GB)
Memory space256GB SSD or 512GB SSD (configurable up to 2TB)512GB SSD (configurable up to 2TB)256GB SSD or 512GB SSD (configurable up to 2TB)256GB SSD or 512GB SSD (configurable up to 2TB)512GB SSD or 1TB SSD (configurable up to 4TB)
Battery life--Up to 18 hours*Up to 20 hours*Up to 10 hours*
Charging/ports2 Thunderbolt (USB 4 or Type-C) ports
2 USB ports
1 Ethernet port
1 HDMI 2.0 port
3.5mm headphone jack
4 Thunderbolt (USB 4 or Type-C) ports
2 USB ports
1 Ethernet port
1 HDMI 2.0 port
3.5mm headphone jack
2 Thunderbolt (USB 4 or Type-C) ports
3.5mm headphone jack
2 Thunderbolt (USB 4 or Type-C) ports
3.5mm headphone jack
2 Thunderbolt (USB 4 or Type-C) ports
3.5mm headphone jack
ColoursSpace greySpace greySilver, space grey and goldSilver and space greySilver and space grey
PriceFrom $979From $1,579From $1,449From $1,849From $2,699

* Battery life will vary depending on usage. 

Source: Apple

Mac Mini

Yes, this small square box that measures 19.7cm and 3.6cm in height is an actual CPU (Central Processing Unit). Capable of bringing you hours of entertainment, while being the best work buddy you can find. Depending on your preference, it is available in 2 versions, one powered by Apple’s new M1 Chip and the other by Intel’s 10th‑generation Core i5 and packing 8GB or 16GB worth of RAM respectively. 

But what is all work and no play? If you are into gaming, you’ll be glad to know that the Mac Mini also boasts a 8-core graphics processing unit that is capable of a 4x higher frame rates than the previous generation, so you’ll never miss a beat again. 

Is it worth it?

Compared to its predecessor, we think so. Compare it with some others on the market, maybe. It is compact, really pretty, and will look perfect on your desk, but if saving a couple hundred dollars sounds like a better plan to you, then you might want to consider a different brand that runs on Windows instead.  

Source: Apple

MacBook Air

Slim, sleek and, although it weighs in at just 1.29kg, it is no lightweight in terms of performance. With up to 15 hours of battery life (the longest ever for a MacBook Air), you won’t have to worry about dead batteries or bringing your charger if you’re working from a hotel or summoned back to the office. Powered by the new Apple M1 chip, it promises faster processing, which means that you won’t have to wait around too long if you’re exporting videos or transferring large files.  

Is it worth it?

Well, if you were to really compare based on price and technical specifications, maybe. The other laptops that are also within this range include Microsoft Surface Laptop Pro, Lenovo Yoga C740 and Acer Swift 3. In particular, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Pro has similar technical specifications and is priced at just $868 — that’s $580 less than the MacBook Air. 

Source: Apple

MacBook Pro

Available in 2 versions, one powered by Apple’s new M1 Chip and the other by Intel’s 10th‑generation Core i5 and packing 8GB or 16GB worth of RAM respectively, this beauty packs a powerful punch and delivers you faster processing speeds. According to Apple, you could ‘render a complex 3D title in Final Cut Pro up to 5.9x faster’, and ‘fluidly design-intricate game scenes in Unity Editor up to 3.5x faster.’ How’s that for fast? 

Weighing in at 1.4kg, it comes with 2 Thunderbolt ports for fast charging and data transfer, and the elusive 3.5mm headphone jack (yes, they’ve yet to take it away!). And there’s the 20-hour battery life that will allow you to render videos, edit images, code, attend a long drawn video call (that should’ve been an email) and still have battery to watch your favourite YouTube channel during lunch on a single charge. 

Oh, and did we mention it comes with a Touch Bar? More than just a fancy addition, it is customisable and gives you quick access to commonly used programmes or settings. 

Is it worth it?

This will depend on what you are purchasing this laptop for. Is it for work, shopping, watching videos or some serious gaming? If you move around quite a bit and require something that is able to run Photoshop or any other large programmes for most part of the day, then the MacBook Pro might be a match made in heaven for you. 

However, if you’re mostly working at your desk and battery life is not something that you are too concerned with, then you might want to look at HP Spectre x360, Microsoft Surface Book 3 or ASUS Chromebook Flip. They cost around the same price, but provide slightly better technical specifications, and if you manage to get them at a sale, you not only get it for cheaper but usually with a tonne of free accessories (mouse, mouse pad, extended warranty, etc.).

Pros of using a Mac computer

  • Legendary battery life: When you hear ‘long battery life’ for laptops, you think 2 to 4 hours*, but not for Macs. Most Mac laptops, regardless of their age, are able to provide at least 5 to 7 hours* of work or play on a single charge. 
  • Charger can be shared: Mac laptops now use Thunderbolt (USB 4 or Type-C) charging ports. So, in the event that you forgot your charger and urgently need some juice, you can ‘share’ charging cables with your Android friends (finally).
  • ‘Slow’ is not for Mac: Even if your Mac is 3 years old, you’ll most likely never experience the same annoying lag when powering up or even switching between programmes as you will with a Windows laptop. 

Cons of using a Mac computer

  • An entirely different operating system: Mac doesn’t run on Windows, this means that you’ll have to get used to a different way of navigating through your computer and that might take some getting used to.
  • Does not come with Microsoft Office: Yes, Apple and Microsoft aren’t friends. You won’t find the Microsoft Office preloaded into your Mac and if you really need it, it will set you back $229 for 1 account.
  • Limited connectivity ports: There are less connectivity ports for a Mac (usually only 2) as compared to other computer brands. And since they are Thunderbolt ports, you will have to purchase a converter in order to connect any USB device. For example, thumb drive, external hard disk or wired mouse. 
  • Initial price: For the same price of a Mac, you can quite easily get a Windows version with better technical specifications.

Ways to get your MacBook or Mac mini for less(er)

  • Are you a student (or know one)? Purchase the MacBook or Mac mini as a student and you could get up to $150 off your purchase. 
  • Charging your purchase on the right credit card is the easiest way to get your Mac for less. If you charge big ticket items like a computer on one, you could be well on your way to earning up to 3% in cashback! That’s 3% in savings on your computer and an additional 3% that you can spend on groceries, clothes or dinner.  


If you’re looking for an upgrade and do not currently own the previous version of the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or Mac Mini then yes, this lineup is pretty impressive and definitely worth your buck. However, if you are currently using the previous version and, it is still in good order, we reckon that you might want to sit this one out. Perhaps put your money into an iPad Pro (for power, speed and portability), or invest it in stocks or bonds that could yield some returns that would be in time for Apple’s next computer lineup two years down the road. 

Read these next: 
Smartwatch vs Fitness Tracker: Which Is Well Worth Your Money?
7 Home Gym Essentials For Small Spaces
Cheap Gym Memberships In Singapore Under $80 Per Month
Best Workout Apps To Try At Home Under $30 A Month
6 Alternative Gym Memberships That Make Fitness Fun

A lover of gin and all things Nigella Lawson, Geralyne’s constantly trying to adult like a pro. She spends most of her leisure time serving fur-babies and doing as many mountain climbers as she possibly can.


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