Although most of the products I cover in Mac Gems are software, long-time readers know that I’m also a fan of clever hardware gadgets. For example, last fall I wrote about Macessity’s $6 Power Grip Bracket, an inexpensive accessory that mounts to the bottom or side of a desk or other piece of furniture and lets you get your Mac mini’s power brick and cable up off the floor and organized.
But given the Mac mini’s diminutive size, wouldn’t it be great if you could place the mini itself similarly? In other words, stick your Mac mini under, or on the side of, your desk, or under a shelf in your entertainment system? That’s the goal of Macessity’s $40 Hang With Mi ( ), a metal bracket that attaches to your desk or entertainment system and provides a form-fitting slot in which your Mac mini can rest. Like the Power Grip Bracket, the 6.8- by 6.5- by 3.4-inch Hang With Mi is made of steel, but since the Hang With Mi is more likely to be visible, it sports a nicer aluminum-color finish that matches the Mac mini fairly closely. And the Hang With Mi also features a four-port, powered USB 2.0 hub.
You attach the Hang With Mi to your desk or other furniture using four mounting screws (included); a useful paper template is provided for drilling starter holes, if necessary. You then slide in your mini from the front. (I found it easier to connect the necessary cables—video, power, keyboard, etc.—to the Mac mini before inserting it into the Hang With Mi.) Openings along the bottom of the bracket, along with half an inch or so of space above the mini, provide ventilation, and the front of the bracket remains open to let you access the mini’s optical drive and to keep the Apple Remote sensor unobstructed. (You can instead attach the Hang With Mi to the side of a desk or entertainment center so that your Mac mini sits vertically instead of horizontally; two gel pads on each interior side of the Hang With Mi protect the Mac mini’s sides from scratches.)
The Hang With Mi’s four-port hub is a useful addition—and one that helps explain the Hang With Mi’s relative price premium over the inexpensive Power Grip Bracket. When placing the mini in the Hang With Mi, you connect an included (and very short) cable from one of your mini’s USB ports to a USB port on the back of the Hang With Mi’s hub; you connect an included AC adapter to the hub for additional power. Thankfully, this AC adapter is very small; instead of a bulky “wall wart” that blocks adjoining power outlets, it takes up only a single outlet.
In my testing, the Hang With Mi’s USB hub worked very well. My only real complaint is that all four USB ports are in the front. On the one hand, having additional USB ports on the front makes it easy to connect “temporary” devices—digital cameras, card readers, etc.—when you need to. On the other hand, I found myself wanting to use some of these additional ports for “permanent” devices such as printers, scanners, keyboards, and the like, and wanted the cables for these devices to be hidden in the back. And since the Hang With Mi’s hub takes up one of the mini’s own USB ports—effectively reducing the number of ports in the back—this can be a real issue, especially when used with older Mac minis that have only two USB ports to begin with. I would have preferred having the additional ports split—two in the front, two in the back.
Still, although I’ve covered several other accessories for putting a Mac mini on a desk, I appreciated the extra desk space I gained by having the mini hidden under it.