This is the final week of the series that asks if a Windows user can become a Mac convert in 30 days (click here for week 1, here for week 2 and here for week 3). And it’s time for the big faceoff as I put Windows and Mac head to head. First in build, then in the operating systems.
MacBook Pro vs notebook build
This is an unfair category because Apple products are built in the same way, whereas the various PC/notebook manufacturers vary wildly in both quality, price bracket and specs.
MacBook Pro: You get exactly what you see on a demo machine in any tech store. But there is no customisation. You do have to pay extra on an already rather high price tag for the accessories, but chances are if you can afford a MacBook, you can afford to buy the accessories too. It took a lot of adjusting to the keyboard and trackpad; but luckily Apple provided an external keyboard that felt better to work with.
The Touch Bar is nice for image editing in apps like Photoshop but in truth I haven’t really used it beyond basic functionalities like brightness. In fairness, I never really used the F keys that much on any keyboard anyway.
Windows-based notebooks: You can take more time to do your research and drill down into the things such as RAM, keyboard style, design, specs, graphics and portability for something that works best for you, rather than factory-produced and rigid systems. I would never want to be locked into buying only a couple of devices just to run an OS so Windows-based vendors win this round.
The dongle mess
MacBook Pro: Fail. I can understand putting a few USB C ports on a notebook to encourage people to switch to newer technology, but putting ALL ports as USB C really stuffs it if you want to use a humble USB stick or connect an external monitor. It is an inconvenience and eyesore to have a bulky dongle plugged in just to connect a single peripheral.
This is a good lesson for PC manufacturers: If you’re gonna implement USB C, do it slowly, include traditional USB ports and try not to alienate those of us who aren’t ‘hip’ enough to catch up right now. Not all of us are early adopters or the early majority.
MacOS Sierra vs Windows 10
MacOS Sierra: Despite a couple of glitches here and there, the operating system itself hasn’t given me any troubles in terms of system updates. It’s also user friendly once you know your way around. It is, however, something that doesn’t quite have the amount of user settings and customisation that I would have liked, but it’s an OS and it does what it should do. System upgrades are free so you'll never have to buy a new OS again.
Windows 10: Yes, Microsoft is forcing the ‘upgrades’ on everyone, and yes there are a heap of privacy issues (some of which are easier to turn off if you know how), Windows 10 is a best that takes some getting used to. I am one of those people who loved Windows 7, and I far prefer it to Mac OS or Windows 10. The upgrades from Windows 7 and 8 were also free however those wanting to purchase Windows 10 licences for their older PCs or those buying PCs out of the box may still be shelling out the dough.
Software: Pages vs Word
Pages: It's free, it's effective, and it's a native Apple app. It does have annoying autocorrects, but it’s a basic word processor that does what it needs to do. A quick look at Numbers and even Keynote lead me to believe the same thing. Free doesn't necessarily have to mean basic, but in this case it's all about simple functionality.
Microsoft Word: Word is my go-to. It costs, it can be expensive and it has so much more variety and back compatibility on Windows. There are heaps of functionalities like mail merge; it’s comprehensive, flexible and it looks great.
Other word processing programmes such as LibreOffice also offer a more detailed look at word processing (and other office applications). It could possibly wipe Office off the map if it tried; and ultimately it's still a step up from Pages.
Finder vs Windows Explorer
They’re both similar in style, but Explorer has the added advantage of showing many more folders and being able to customise most of them. Finder’s interface is kind of drab and I was kind of annoyed that the ‘delete’ button doesn’t automatically send files to the trash.
App Store vs Windows Store
After my spiel a while back, I did a comparison and found that they’re both pretty much similar. I like the Windows Store interface better but using Apple’s App Store to download and authorises purchases using the fingerprint sensor was far better than putting in a password all the time.
Mac: As I’ve mentioned, Mac is less prone to cyber attacks, but it doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Don’t be fooled, because it could cost you dearly.
Windows: Unfortunately for Microsoft, the security timing couldn’t be worse as it held off on a mass of security updates from February - then released them all in March a few days ago. That’s going to hurt your bandwidth. My home Windows computer gobbled up 1GB+ of updates. Windows will be the target of most cyber attacks for the immediate future, at least.
So, I’m going to hand security to Macs - tentatively, I might add. It’s not a deal maker or breaker. As someone who watches the torrent of security breaches come in over the wire every day, it’s so clear that everyone should back up their data, everyone should use antivirus/anti-malware no matter what operating system you use.
The final verdict
Side by side, I have to come to the conclusion that both Windows and Mac are good at what they need to do. Mac is let down by a rigid build that lacks customisation; Windows is let down by its ongoing Windows 10 saga and security issues.
Both have ethical murky waters (as has been highlighted in the media recently) and both are massive tech giants.
So have I converted to a Mac lover? Not really. I think I can now navigate between Mac and Windows after years of one-sided exposure; but in the end they’re just operating systems that both allow me to work - and play.