Building a home office? B&H Photo Video is on hand to help: The retailer has discounted the Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro by as much as $600. You’ll need to act fast to be in with a chance of taking home one of these machines on the cheap, though: Discounts on Apple hardware are few and far between, so there’s overwhelming demand when they arrive.
What’s the best value in the entire Mac line? Most of you would think the MacBook Air (and to a certain extent that is true), but in our humble opinion, it’s the Mac Mini, Apple’s 13-year-old tiny desktop. It does everything that proper tower PC does in a super-compact body, including excellent processing power and top-notch hard drive performance. Right now, the Mac Mini with an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor is on sale at B&H Photo Video for $629 instead of $799 – a huge $170 of savings.
The Mac Mini is designed to be ignored, a thin slab of metal sitting on a round rubber base that’s invisible when the desktop is in use. Even the noise it makes is at an absolute minimum. The fan only ramps up to a noticeable level during heavy workloads and, even then, it’s a whisper. Turn it around and you’ll find a healthy selection of ports, quite unlike most of Apple’s offerings. Unlike MacBooks, you’ll find two USB 3 ports, Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Mac Mini’s three Thunderbolt 3 ports is still very Apple and ensure that this device is future-proofed, but at least the other ports mean you can attach alternative peripherals to it like a third-party mouse, keyboard, and monitor.
This Mac Mini’s Core i5-8400B processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive proved outstanding in our performance tests. Despite its diminutive size, we can confidently say that the Mac Mini can easily trade blows with desktops with full tower PCs. Even its hard drive is a stunner, hitting a read speed of 2,753MB/s and a write speed of 1,238MB/s (according to the BlackMagic benchmark). We’ve never tested a comparably priced desktop with hard drive performance on this level, and most are roughly half as quick, at best. The same cannot be said about its Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip, though. Graphically demanding games like Rocket League and Civilization VI weren’t smooth enough to enjoy, ultimately resembling PlayStation 3 launch titles.
If you aren’t into gaming, you should seriously consider the Apple Mac Mini as it’s a strong performer in all key areas. So strong, in fact, that most people won’t have a reason to buy a more powerful Mac. Get it for $629 on B&H Photo Video today.
The MacBook Air is now thinner and lighter than ever, yet still possesses the same power and solid build quality typical of Apple devices. Today, though, there are other MacBooks and laptops out there that are thinner and lighter. Even if it’s not the featherweight champion anymore, the MacBook Air still has an excellent build quality, thanks to its eco-friendly aluminum chassis. This is one sleek-looking laptop, with the same clean aesthetic as the rest of its MacBook kin. The latest version of the MacBook Air normally retails for $1,099, but right now you can purchase it on B&H Photo Video for $899 — a huge $200 off.
The MacBook Air looks almost exactly like the previous one, with a few significant hardware and software upgrades. The older version is outfitted with a single Thunderbolt 2 port and two USB 3 ports; the latest one has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports instead. Although both models have a 13-inch LED-backlit screen, the newer MacBook Air’s display is made better thanks to Apple’s True Tone technology. The screen now has the power to adapt to your environment’s ambient light to make images appear more natural, with accurate colors that aren’t oversaturated. It’s not the best screen we’ve encountered on a MacBook though (that honor goes to the MacBook Pro) since it doesn’t go as bright as we hoped for, but it still looks fantastic.
Working alongside an Intel i5 processor, this MacBook Air has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory. It proved speedy and performed well when tasked with normal daily workflow, like streaming videos, working in Photoshop, word processing, and web browsing. We did, however, notice a bit of a slowdown when we had multiple browsers, apps, and programs open simultaneously, but not enough to raise concern.
The MacBook Air can last up to eight hours with light web browsing. While not exactly a bad number, that falls well short of Huawei’s MateBook X Pro, which managed 9.5 hours in our test.
If you’re determined to buy a MacBook but don’t want to shell out too much money, then the MacBook Air is for you. It’s a well-rounded portable laptop that boasts a solid performance and premium build quality. Get the latest version of the MacBook Air for $899.
The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro is a thing of beauty and remains the most luxurious laptop out there. It’s sturdy as a rock and features an all-aluminum unibody that lacks any visible seams aside from those on the bottom. However, there are quite a few things that stop us from fully recommending it. Although it does boast a fantastic display and top-tier processor and hard drive performance, its frustrating lack of ports and lackluster keyboard need to be fixed. Right now, the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with 7th-gen Intel Core i5 processor is available on B&H Photo Video for a massive $600 below its usual price. Get it for $1,099 instead of $1,699.
Let’s start with the good stuff. The MacBook Pro’s Retina display is terrific. Boasting a pixel resolution of 2,560 × 1,600, the screen is not only super high definition but also ridiculously bright, colorful, and rich in contrast. With a maximum brightness of 548 lux, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to use this in the brightest room on the planet. You’re bound to see everything. Images look extremely realistic and colors are fantastic thanks to True Tone technology. Finally, the contrast ratio is excellent. The MacBook Pro can deliver perfect blacks next to the whitest of whites without trouble.
We also don’t have any major complaints when it comes to performance. In our processor and hard drive tests, the MacBook Pro was able to give outstanding numbers that are among the best we’ve ever encountered. However, this laptop isn’t for gaming. Graphically demanding games like Civilization VI ran poorly with lots of glitches. We blame the Intel integrated graphics chip and Apple’s OpenGL support, which hasn’t been updated significantly for years.
Even though we’re super happy to see that the MacBook Pro still has a headphone jack, Apple decided that USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 is the future and has ditched every other port. Yes, USB-C is all you get, two on each side for a total of four. Although the simplicity of the port selection does have some benefits (every port is a charging port, so you can plug the wall adapter into whichever is more convenient), you’re going to need lots of adapters for any other peripheral you’re planning to attach. Want to use an external display? You need an adapter. External hard drive? Adapter. Wired input of any sort? Adapter. Ethernet? Adapter. SD card? Adapter. The biggest crime of all? You can’t even plug an iPhone into it without purchasing an adapter.
The keyboard is also not very good. While it’s definitely an improvement over the older MacBook Pros thanks to improved key travel, it continues to suffer a stiff, abrupt bottoming action that can make long typing sessions tiresome.
Despite its flaws, its hard to discredit the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro’s incredible build quality, lightning-fast performance, and stunning display. Get it for $1,099 on B&H Photo Video today.
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