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(National) March 25, 2005 - Computers sold by Apple have always distinguished themselves with their sleek and stylish looks. Apple is touting the "most affordable Mac ever," with the introduction of the $499 Mac Mini
Consumer Reports just checked out the Mac Mini to see if it can deliver the benefits of an Apple computer for much less.
First off, it's impressively small. The whole hard drive is contained in a tiny box. Its footprint is just six-and-a-half inches square.
Mike Gikas with Consumer Reports says the Mac Mini does not come with a monitor, keyboard or mouse, "Not having a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor can add several hundred dollars to the cost of your Mac Mini."
You also have to pay extra for features like a Wi-Fi card for wireless access, or if you want external speakers.
However, there are distinct advantages to the Mac Mini. If you have a monitor from an old computer, chances are you can use it, even if it comes from a PC. Gikas says another plus to the Mac Mini is that it comes with a well-designed software package, "You get Apple's iTunes for making CDs and moving music to your mp3 player. You get iPhoto for downloading photos from your camera."
You'll also get iDVD for making home movies.
So, although it has certain limitations, the Mac Mini does offer a way into the Mac world at a lower price than ever before.