iPad or Mac Mini... I just can't decide

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AtomicEdge

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Edited By AtomicEdge

So currently I have a MacBook Aluminium 13" and it is really serving me well. However, it is living a triple life. One of it's jobs is for my mobile computing, internet, e-mail and music. Another is as a hub for my other devices, iTunes, synching and what-not, and it's third role is as a media streamer, hooked up to my TV and running Plex to stream my TV and movies from my server. 
 
Anyway, it is becoming a pain to have to keep plugging it in and out all the time, while also meaning I don't have access to the internet and e-mail when watching TV/Films. 
 
So I need a new device... 
 
Option 1: I buy a Mac Mini to live under my TV, sync my devices and stream my media, freeing up my MacBook for internet and e-mail. 
 
Option 2: I buy an iPad, leave my MacBook static (most of the time) and use my iPad to get on the net, do e-mail, listen to music etc etc. 
 
What does everyone think? I was considering getting both, but that's just overkill... 

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AtomicEdge

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#1  Edited By AtomicEdge

So currently I have a MacBook Aluminium 13" and it is really serving me well. However, it is living a triple life. One of it's jobs is for my mobile computing, internet, e-mail and music. Another is as a hub for my other devices, iTunes, synching and what-not, and it's third role is as a media streamer, hooked up to my TV and running Plex to stream my TV and movies from my server. 
 
Anyway, it is becoming a pain to have to keep plugging it in and out all the time, while also meaning I don't have access to the internet and e-mail when watching TV/Films. 
 
So I need a new device... 
 
Option 1: I buy a Mac Mini to live under my TV, sync my devices and stream my media, freeing up my MacBook for internet and e-mail. 
 
Option 2: I buy an iPad, leave my MacBook static (most of the time) and use my iPad to get on the net, do e-mail, listen to music etc etc. 
 
What does everyone think? I was considering getting both, but that's just overkill... 

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#2  Edited By mike
@AtomicEdge: I was thinking along these same lines and ultimately opted for a $350 Asus netbook instead. The iPad is just too expensive for something without flash and such limited storage and flexibility.
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#3  Edited By Kaido

Hmm, tough choice (Although, completely logical one) 
 
You'll be sacrificing a lot of functionality an average PC has by getting an iPad- but still, there was that video on Tested that had the former editor for PC Gamer (Or some other magazine) illustrating why the iPad basically does most of the stuff you need in a laptop anyway (Well, at a stretch...). Kinda hard not to agree with the guy.

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AtomicEdge

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#4  Edited By AtomicEdge

 @MB: Yeah that is the other option... I'm not bothered about flash to be honest, but the lack of multitasking is a bit of a pain. Maybe I should wait until iPhone OS4 for the iPad and see if that opens up the platform a bit.  
 
To be honest though, the iPad would do most of what I want it to, that being surfing, e-mail, music and the odd bit of gaming. 
 
The problem with the MacMini is the price again. Just seems a bit too expensive for what it is, which I guess is the argument against a lot of apple products...

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#5  Edited By thebeast

Sounds like both options are good choices for what you want to do; 

  • The iPad would be good for consuming media around the house, but it's going to limit you quite severely if you want it for anything more than that. You're not going to be able to connect it to your TV as a media center, for example.
  • The Mac Mini makes a really awesome media center; I use mine as both a normal work computer and a media center streaming to the Xbox in the evenings.
  
Do you have a console? If so, stream content from your server to that and use it as a media center. They're cheap, simple and work really well. Both the PS3 and 360 do a great job, although I'd probably suggest a PS3 in this situation. Keep your MacBook for emails/browsing.
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#6  Edited By AtomicEdge
@Kaido: Yeah, 90% of my home computer usage would be covered by the iPad, with only the odd task needing access to a full laptop, which will still be tethered to my TV. 
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#7  Edited By AtomicEdge
@TheBeast:  Yeah I see your argument there. I have had some success with streaming to a console, but the open formats available on something like Plex (.mkv for example) really put them above and beyond the media streaming available to the consoles.
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#8  Edited By thebeast
@AtomicEdge: Fair enough; have you looked at similar options such as the upcoming Boxee Box? It would seem to me that you'd be better off spending a smaller amount on a media center PC/device, then if you fancy another browsing device, getting an iPad.
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#9  Edited By kishan6

geta a pc

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#10  Edited By AtomicEdge
@TheBeast: Yeah, I may look into Boxee again. When I looked a year or so ago, Plex just blew it out of the water but if it will do the job, then I can just use an old windows laptop as my media streaming system, and then free up my MacBook. It's certainly worth a shot, so I'll have a play with the software tonight I think. 
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AtomicEdge

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#11  Edited By AtomicEdge
@kishan6: Thanks for your input. I have 3 PC's, one of which is my server housing all of the media. It's just that the best streaming library software I have seen was Plex, with is OSX only.
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#12  Edited By thebeast
@AtomicEdge: Yeah, give it a go. Another option, if you're in to experimenting with your hardware (which I'm not too sure I should be condoning); is getting a cheap Xbox 360 and looking in to XBMC (of which Plex is a fork).
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#13  Edited By Elazul

I'd say go for the Mac Mini because it's actually a full-fledged computer.

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#14  Edited By simian

Mac Mini > iPad.
With some form of mirrored drive attachment.
-Revised- Poor Formatting.
I was thinking of a similar setup though I had enough spare hardware to go the Shuttle XPC route.

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#15  Edited By Willy105

When the price goes down on the iPad, I don't see any reason to pick the Mac Mini other than being able to connect to a TV.

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#16  Edited By AtomicEdge

Okay so I'm looking into Boxee at the moment, and it looks like it might be okay. I'm not a big fan of the Skin, but I gather they are making some changes in the near future. 
 
If boxee still looks like it will do the job after a few days of testing, then I can just build a cheapy windows pc out of parts I have lying around, and then use that instead of getting any new kit. I guess the only thing I will need to buy in an IR receiver so I can use my Harmony remote with it. Thanks for the input guys, been helpful!

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#17  Edited By thebeast
@AtomicEdge: You can use XBMC if you're thinking of building a Windows/Unix PC - I believe the default Plex skin is based on some available XBMC skins.
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#18  Edited By skrutop

I like the iPad for browsing, but then it's a pain whenever I actually need to type anything (like a forum post for instance).

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#19  Edited By RE_Player1

Mac Mini

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#20  Edited By MysteriousBob

Neither. Get a decent product instead like a PC. 
 
What sort of asshole would choose to own an Apple product. I'm only on a Mac now because it was bought for me as a gift. I'd trade this piece of shit in for a real computer in heartbeat if I had the opportunity.

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#21  Edited By management

If you feel like an iPad does everything you want, I fell like that is a good choice. I would still wait and see if the rumoured iPad 2 is coming out and what that brings to the table. 

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#22  Edited By stinky
@MysteriousBob said:  
 
cool story.
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#23  Edited By Sayishere

i used to own a ipad, well tecnically i still have it now, but i just sold it on fleabay and need to ship it
 
the ipad looks nice and fancy but its just a novelty, after a while it will collext dust
 
i vote mac mini

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#24  Edited By nintendoeats

I would get a net-top instead of a mac mini. Same thing, much cheaper.

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AtomicEdge

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#25  Edited By AtomicEdge
@Management: Yeah that's what I decided on (Bob decided to resurrect this thread from April). I'll see what iPad 2 does for me. 
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#26  Edited By Kyreo
@MB said:
" @AtomicEdge: I was thinking along these same lines and ultimately opted for a $350 Asus netbook instead. The iPad is just too expensive for something without flash and such limited storage and flexibility. "
You missed out.  The Jailbroken iPad is a force to be reckoned with.
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#27  Edited By super_machine

At least you can still watch Giant Bomb videos on the ipad. I've had mine for a few weeks and its been pretty handy for web surfing on the couch. The lack of Flash is pretty annoying, but thats been less on an issue than I thought. Mostly I use it to watch GB videos and as a reference when playing video games like Oblivion (yeah, I'm still playing it).

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AtomicEdge

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#28  Edited By AtomicEdge

Troll's never cease to amaze me. As a side point, I'd like to point out I have a decent gaming PC, a work Laptop, a Work PC and I am the network manager of 300 PC's a 100 Laptops and 10 Windows Servers, so "Get a PC" is redundant.  
 
I just like the user interface of Apple products for non-power-user uses (like internet, e-mail, music) more than a PC, where I get distracted by work, and by tinkering around with things I don't actually need to do. 
 
Troll Fail.

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#29  Edited By SathingtonWaltz
@AtomicEdge: I've always preferred OSX for it's UI and speediness. I've found it to be much easier to organize my media on OSX than Windows. OSX also seems to boot much faster than Windows.
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AtomicEdge

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#30  Edited By AtomicEdge
@SathingtonWaltz: I agree, apart from with the boot thing. With programs like Soluto you can make Windows booting much faster than OS X.  
 
However I must say, the chassis design of the 13" Macbook Pro is just fantastic. As someone who manages 100 laptops that are mostly dell, and almost the same price as a MacBook 13" that are designed for lots of mobile use, none of them come close to the MacBook for sturdiness and general build quality.
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#31  Edited By SathingtonWaltz
@AtomicEdge: Thank for the Soluto link, I've never heard of it before!
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#32  Edited By PrivateIronTFU
@MysteriousBob said:

" Neither. Get a decent product instead like a PC.  What sort of asshole would choose to own an Apple product. I'm only on a Mac now because it was bought for me as a gift. I'd trade this piece of shit in for a real computer in heartbeat if I had the opportunity. "

Yeah...they're the assholes. You're such a troll.
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#33  Edited By PillClinton

I say Mac Mini to use as a "net-top" box.  

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AtomicEdge

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#34  Edited By AtomicEdge
@SathingtonWaltz: The guys over at Tested pointed me at it a little while ago. It gets better all the time as they update their database.