I 100 percent agree with you, here.
The MacMini is still my living room streaming box, and that dumb hard drive is still the main thing holding it back.
Even 7200RPM hard drives can achieve pretty great performance these days thanks to improvements in caching and hybrid SSD options. Heck, I’ve got one of those in my main Windows desktop as a big storage device and it works pretty well for gaming too.
I don’t think Apple is ever going to upgrade the Mac Mini again, and they’d probably rather that I buy an Apple TV if I want a new living room device, hah.
I still love my 2016 12-inch MacBook though. It’s my favorite portable writing machine I’ve ever owned, and I’m going to use it till it dies.