Should you buy the new MacBook Pro or Mac mini?


Should you upgrade?
Should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro, Mac mini or HomePod?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The new Mac mini and the high-end MacBook Pro are the first Macs to receive Apple’s powerful new M2 Pro and Max chips. But should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro (or Mac mini) or not?

That depends on what Mac you already have. Our charts and video will walk you through the decision-making process if you’re considering buying a new Mac. (Bonus: We also break down the pros and cons of the new HomePod versus the original and the HomePod mini.)

Should I buy the new MacBook Pro?

2023 MacBook Pro upgrade guide
Which model of MacBook Pro do you have?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you have a MacBook Pro model from 2017 or earlier, your time is up. The new MacBook Pro will be a screamer in comparison. Plus, you’ll get all the benefits of Apple silicon: better battery life, iOS apps and long-term support from Apple in the years to come.

If you have one of the later Intel MacBook Pros, like the 2018, 2019 or early 2020 models, you can justify upgrading if you have the spare cash. Apple silicon offers a significant performance boost over any Intel MacBook Pro and greater compatibility with iOS apps. But if you can’t stretch it, don’t worry. Apple likely will support your MacBook Pro for a few more years, and the M3 MacBook Pro coming next year looks even more promising.

If you already own a MacBook Pro with M1 (from fall 2020 or later), you can comfortably skip this update. Speed tests vary based on what you’re doing, but the M2 offers a general 20% boost over M1 for most daily tasks. For most people, that difference won’t be worth the cost of a new machine.

You can check which model you have by going to  > About This Mac.

Should I buy the new Mac mini?

2023 Mac mini upgrade guide
Which model of Mac mini do you have?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple now sells two models of the Mac mini: the entry-level model with M2 and a high-end model with M2 Pro.

If you own any Intel Mac mini, it’s time to buy the new Mac mini with M2. It starts at just $599 and it will offer leaps and bounds greater performance than any Intel model.

If you already have a Mac mini with M1, you can skip upgrading to the Mac mini with M2. If you’re considering the M2 Pro model, which wasn’t an option in the last generation, you can justify upgrading if you have the money. M2 Pro will offer better performance for intense tasks like gaming and video editing.

You can check which model you have by going to  > About This Mac.

Should I buy the new HomePod?

The new HomePod is the resurrection of the original HomePod, which sold poorly due to its high price. The new HomePod offers a few modern niceties like a temperature and humidity sensor, Ultra Wideband for seamlessly handing off music from your iPhone, and Thread support for smart homes.

On the other hand, in order to keep the price down, Apple removed two of the speakers and microphones from the device. If you have an original HomePod, you can buy the new one if you really want to use the new features and you have the spare money. However, it’s hardly a necessity. Reviews haven’t yet determined if the difference in sound is noticeable.

HomePod vs. HomePod mini

Compared to the HomePod mini, the new HomePod offers the exact same feature set — aside from audio. The big difference, of course, is that the full-size HomePod offers much fuller sound (and a higher price point). Upgrade to the second-gen HomePod if you really want the rich bass and room-filling sound of the premium speaker. Even better, get two: Stereo HomePods will blow your ears off.


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