As posted on Which is Better, Mac or Windows?
This week on The Upgrade we’re getting back to basics and taking a look at the longstanding rivalry between the two major operating systems on the market, Windows 10 and macOS. How do their latest versions hold up? Is it time to switch?
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This Week’s Discussion: Windows 10 Versus macOS
Apple’s software has long been heralded as a better designed and easier to use system, with Windows being a less glossy but more adaptable option. Is there still truth to that oversimplification? Well, both systems are now so feature-congruent that the old rivalry doesn’t exactly hold true anymore. Both systems offer all the major features you’d expect of a modern operating system and, for daily usage, most people would be fine with either.
It’s in the details, though, where they differ. If you’re a gamer, you’ll probably want to stick with Windows particularly because you can adapt your own hardware to suit your needs. That might mean building a soup-ed system from scratch or just upgrading your graphics card.
On the downside, Windows is more of a target for viruses and malware simply because the various versions of Windows have so much of the market share that it’s an easy target. That doesn’t mean macOS is immune to malware; it’s just a less frequent target.
Both macOS and Windows 10 have voice assistants, with Cortana on Windows and Siri on Mac. While they can be helpful when you just want to check the weather or search for something online, we’ve found that we don’t use them all that much. It feels a little less natural than using voice assistants on a phone and laptop microphones don’t always work that well.
The biggest difference between the two is the actually the hardware you might be using. To dive into what sets the two apart I was joined on the show by Christina Warren and Alex Cranz of Gizmodo. Apple’s laptops were for many years a relative gold standard for well-designed, solid, daily use computers that you could buy without fretting about the specs very much. There are many cheaper options, but a MacBook Pro just works. However, recent updates to the MacBook Pro line that include the unique Touch Bar make them particularly expensive if you want high-end specs. If you want to use macOS, though, you’ll basically be tied to Apple’s hardware. (Or you can try to go the ‘Hackintosh’ route—that is, installing macOS on non-Apple hardware.)
Windows, by comparison, is designed to work on a wide range of hardware, from laptops to desktops and touchscreen tablets. That means you can spend just a few hundred bucks to get a low-end Windows laptop, but Microsoft has also made a push with new high-end hardware like the Surface Book. There’s also plenty of middle ground, with the Dell XPS 13 commonly recommended as a great value. And then, of course, if you want to build your own tricked out rig for gaming or other processor-intensive applications, then Windows is really the best choice.
Our Upgrades of the Week
Every week to round out the The Upgrade with the little upgrades of our own. Here’s a quick recap:
- Andy: I’ve been using large ice cubes. Positively giant ice cubes—about two inches across. People say they’re better for drinks because they melt slower so that your drink doesn’t become watered down; I don’t really know if that’s the case, but I like them anyway. I use these silicone trays for my giant ice.
- Eric: Eric’s been using Data Selfie to track his Facebook usage. It saves data locally and generates a report that shows you what Facebook can tell about you from your behavior—like the people you talk to most, your political leanings, and even your emotional state.
- Thorin: Thorin’s upgrade is happening at the grocery store. Recently, a group of food manufacturers have agreed on a new standardized way to label expiration dates to better reflect whether your food is actually still edible.
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