Apple's Mac mini M2 is still the most affordable route into macOS, and a new deal has brought the 512GB version of the device down to its lowest price to date. Amazon currently has the compact desktop on sale for $676 when you clip a $53.01 on-page coupon, which beats the mini's previous low by a couple bucks and comes in roughly $25 below its usual street price over the last few months. Apple itself normally sells this configuration, which also includes 8GB of RAM, for $799. If you want to save more cash and only need the bare minimum of storage, the 256GB model is also on sale for $500 with an $80 on-page coupon. That's $20 more than the config's all-time low and a price we've seen fairly often in recent months, but it's $100 less than buying from Apple directly.
We gave the Mac mini a score of 86 when it arrived just over a year ago, though that review applied to the version with Apple's beefier M2 Pro chip. This model with the base M2 chip won't be as capable for video editing or working in 3D, but its design is just as compact, and it'll be plenty fast for web browsing, lighter work and other, more casual needs. You'll just have to be certain that that's all you need, as there's no easy way to upgrade the internal components after purchase. (If you want to do more than basic day-to-day tasks, configs with 16GB of RAM start at $799.) In terms of connectivity, this variant includes two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, a gigabit Ethernet jack, an HDMI port (with 4K 60Hz output) and a headphone jack, though none of those are front-facing. As with any Mac mini, you'll need to bring your own monitor, keyboard and mouse.
The elephants in the room are Apple's new M3 chips, which the company released late last year with refreshed iMacs and MacBook Pros. Reliable Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman has suggested that Apple could release new M3 devices around March; it's unclear if an M3 Mac mini will be a part of that, but there seems to be a decent chance of an upgrade coming at some point in 2024. Nevertheless, if you want a Mac desktop right away and only need enough performance for the essentials, this is a good price.