When it comes to the world of computers, opinions vary on which one is better: Microsoft's Windows or Apple's OS X. This is why I've decided to make a comparison between the two latest products, Windows 10 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, to see which one has the upper hand. In the interest of fairness, I'll try to remain as objective as possible and only give you my personal views on the matter at the end.
I should begin by telling you that Microsoft has recently begun to realize that it's falling behind in this competition, and the latest Windows has taken a lot of steps to catch up with the capabilities provided by OS X. Probably, the most important part of that process was the addition of virtual desktops, a feature that many Windows users have been expecting for a while. Furthermore, Microsoft took another page from Apple's book and, for the first time ever, made Windows 10 a free upgrade, a decision that seriously contributed to the operating system's impressive adoption rate.
Windows 10's advantages
Let's begin by taking a look at the reasons why someone would choose Windows over OS X. Here's a list of things that Windows 10 does better:
- Availability: the most obvious "pro-Windows" argument is the fact that Microsoft's operating system is designed to run on a wide range of platforms including, but not limited to, computers, smartphones, tablets or RaspberryPis. On the other hand, Apple uses OS X for desktops or tablets and iOS for mobile devices. Although the two are pretty well integrated and work nicely with each other, it's not exactly the same.
- Mobility: if you want to use your Windows 10 on every PC that you come across, you can easily do that. As I've already shown you, one can easily install the operating system on a USB device and then run it directly from there. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't offer an "On the Go" option, so you can only be "mobile" if you carry your MacBook with you.
- Digital Assistant: while both companies have powerful designed digital assistants, Microsoft is the first to bring theirs to the PC environment. Cortana provides a lot of handy functions that allow you to streamline your interactions with the computer, which means that it's quite a big deal. Unfortunately, at least for the moment, Apple's Siri only "lives" in iPhones and iPads, so it won't be there for you all the time.
- Multi-tasking: this aspect is as close to being a tie as it gets, since both El Capitan's Mission Control and Windows 10's Task View are pretty great. However, since the closing windows on Mission Control is pretty hard to do, I'll say that Microsoft's product has the upper hand. Another reason for this decision is the fact that the split screen and snap screen features are a bit easier to use on Windows.
- Gaming: Microsoft's operating systems have always been better for gaming, and Windows 10 is no different. Not only does it come with DirectX 12, which promises to bring big improvements in the graphics of traditional PC games, but most of the virtual reality devices (including Microsoft's own HoloLens) are designed to work with Windows 10, and that is rather important. Of course, if you have a powerful new generation Mac, you could use Bootcamp to access Windows content, but that would be like going to KFC and asking the waiter to go over to McDonald's and bring you a Big Mac.
El Capitan's advantages
Now let's talk about the areas where EL Capitan is superior, and why someone would prefer it to Microsoft's products:
- Security: it's no secret that while the Windows world is filled with adware, spyware, ransomware and many other kinds of malware, OS X has always been a pretty secure environment. In recent days, we've seen a series of threats targeting Apple's operating system, but it's going to be a while (if ever) until things get as dangerous as they are on Windows.
- Default applications: another clear advantage for El Capitan are the applications that it embeds by default. While Microsoft charges its clients for any decent tool that it offers, Apple provides a number of surprisingly good applications, such as GarageBand, KeyNote, Pages or iBooks, without asking for any money in return. Furthermore, the App Store is much better than the Windows Store, even if Microsoft is slowly making progress in that department.
- Safari: since we were talking about built-in applications, it's impossible not to notice that El Capitan's in-built web browser, Safari, is much better than Edge in Windows 10. Things may change in the future, but for now, Apple has the clear upper hand.
- System Settings: while both operating systems offer tons of settings, controls and customization options, and in both cases things are pretty much equally easy (or difficult) to modify, I'm going to say that OS X 10.11 wins in this area. Why? Because all of El Capitan's settings can be accessed from the same window, while Windows 10 felt the need to have both the Control Panel and the Settings menu, which complicates things a bit.
- Searching: as I said in the beginning, Windows 10 has done a lot of catching up, and its searching features are almost as good as the ones offered by OS X. Nevertheless, El Capitan is still a bit better at filtering the results while you're typing your query, so I'm going to give it the edge on this one.
As a general conclusion, I think that the two operating systems are pretty equal and preference towards one or the other is mostly related to personal needs. Since I'm a gamer at heart, I will always favour the Windows operating system over OS X, but if I had all the money in the world, I would probably prefer doing my work on El Capitan and playing on Windows 10.
If you would like to read about similar interesting topics, you should check out some of out previous stories: "Android Lollipop vs iOS 8.1 - which one's better?", "Top 10 computer-related mistakes that can get you fired" or "Top 10 devastating computer viruses"