When it comes to the choice between Mac and Windows, it’s the differences that count most. This guide will help you decide which features are most important in your next device.
Picking between a MacBook and Windows laptop comes down to 3 key factors:
- Your budget,
- Your performance needs, and,
- The types of apps and software experiences you want access to.
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The biggest difference between Windows and Apple laptops comes down to the software and user experience.
If you’re a big Apple fan, macOS may be more your style. MacBooks can sync up easily to your iPhone and iPad. It allows you to access things such as calendars, contacts, notes, and even text messages across devices. Its handoff feature allows you to start a task on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch and finish it on your Mac.
Its latest major software update, macOS Big Sur, makes the Mac experience more iOS-like than ever. You’ll see familiar app icons and widgets for things such as Messages and Mail and can quickly adjust things like brightness and music playback via a handy Control Center that mimics what you get on an iPhone. If you’re an iOS fan who likes the streamlined software experience that Apple delivers, the Mac has that same.
Meanwhile, Windows 10 is the most popular operating system out there and can be found on everything from budget entry-level notebooks to high-end gaming rigs from a variety of manufacturers. You’ll find plenty of familiar features like a Start menu for quickly accessing apps and built-in Microsoft programs such as Outlook and the snappy new Edge browser.
Windows 10 is arguably the more flexible of the two operating systems and comes optimized for touch on supported touch-screen laptops and convertible 2-in-1 devices. (Apple currently doesn’t offer a touch-enabled MacBook, if that’s something important to you). And while the Mac has Handoff for iPhone users, Windows 10 has a handy Your Phone app that lets you access your Android apps and messages right from your laptop. Your Phone also works with iOS devices.
Logging In and Getting Started
Both Mac and Windows offer login options that go beyond the traditional act of simply signing in on your desktop. If you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can easily sign in to your Mac using your finger. Or you can log in with your iPhone or Apple Watch if they are close enough to the computer.
But Windows 10 offers Hello with several biometric login options. Face login is probably the coolest and is available on most higher-end PCs, including all Surface devices. Windows Hello also supports fingerprint readers, available on laptops such as the HP Spectre 13. If you don’t have hardware that’s compatible with either of those features, Windows will also accept a PIN.
Once you’ve booted the OS, Windows has the Start button and menu to access your most-used apps, settings, and documents. There’s nothing similar in macOS, but you can pin frequently used apps to your Dock, head to the Applications folder, or set up your desktop with icons for your most-used programs and files. You can also use the Launchpad icon to page through and start apps. Its functionality is largely limited to sending web pages from your phone to your PC.
Therefore, we can safely say that Windows wins this one
It is all about the apps
Perhaps even more important than the user experience is what apps you plan on using. Both Windows and macOS have access to most major web browsers, productivity suites, and creative applications,
Macs are popular among music producers, thanks to Apple’s high-end Logic Pro software as well as the intuitive GarageBand app you get out of the box for free. Photo and video editors might be drawn to MacBooks as well, thanks to popular Apple-only apps like Final Cut Pro and Pixelmator.
If gaming is your priority, however, Windows wins by a landslide here. Assuming you pick a powerful enough system, Windows 10 laptops have access to thousands of top PC games across various marketplaces. MacBooks can play some essential favorites like Minecraft and Cuphead as well as the 100-plus titles on Apple Arcade. But those looking to do serious gaming should spring for a capable Windows laptop.
Third-Party Software Compatibility
Both platforms have had time to develop rich ecosystems of software and services. Custom business applications are more likely to be supported on Windows, and macOS is prevalent in creative fields. That said, you can find plenty of good general business software for Macs. But Windows boasts more options in some creative areas, such as video editing and photo software.
Both operating systems offer app stores that manage installation and updating. Sadly, the app developers haven’t given attention to these desktop stores the way they have to their mobile counterparts. Some macOS apps make you drag a disk image to the Applications folder. That’s just one of at least three different ways to install apps. Windows app installation is more straightforward.
Siri Vs Cortana
Cortana arrived on Windows 10 a good year before Siri made it to the Mac. It is still more capable in a few important ways. Both can open apps and web pages, tell you the weather, change system settings, do the math, control smart home devices, set reminders, send emails, and search the web. Both can be invoked by voice. But Siri can’t log out of or shut down the computer. This is something I find very useful at the end of the day when I’m walking away from my PC. Cortana can now even send requests to Amazon’s Alexa.
If you need something more affordable — or more niche — a Windows laptop might be for you. Windows notebooks start at much cheaper prices than Mac, and power users and serious gamers have plenty of great options on the premium side of things.
Windows is much cheaper than Mac. It can get most of your work done at a cheap cost. At around $113, you can surf the web, start your business, learn interesting stuff and do chores in your virtual office. Windows 10 Pro costs $139, enabling you to run business-related tasks or enterprises.
Moreover, we can also download Windows 10 for free without a product key. And if you like it, you can upgrade it to a licensed copy later on.
Apple has chosen to build its Mac line around higher-end computers with better — and more costly — components. The company has said on many occasions that it can make less-expensive computers, but that would affect the customer experience and Apple won’t allow that.
Apple offers some great computer hardware options, with gorgeous industrial design on Macbooks, optional 5K screens on iMacs, and the new, massively powerful Mac Pro (starting at $5,999). To those, you can add nontraditional options like the HoloLens, VR headsets, and the Raspberry Pi, which can all also run Windows 10. There’s also a wider array of Windows-friendly peripherals to choose from.
As for internal components—things like the CPU, graphics card, and storage—there’s no contest. Windows gives you a lot more leeway in configuring a system with the components you want, and more flexibility to upgrade later.
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