Re: optical drives
Welcome to 201x, where optical media is getting replaced with DRM'ed downloads and streaming. Technically superior? Better quality? Probably not, but it does suit the media companies who 'claim' piracy of conventional media is ruining their business. Yeah right.
That and the small niggle that Apple don't support Blu-ray playback, and you're not likely to be buying crappy low res DVD's these days anyway if you're a media buff.
Re: laptop vs Mini...you do realise this is a desktop machine, right? And your laptop might be thinner, but it will be deeper and wider. But it's irrelevant as this is a desktop, remember...