Modern operating systems have much in common. All offer a good visual presentation, work properly and promise great program compatibility. Therefore, when comparing between Windows 10, MacOS and Chrome OS, you will find that everyone offers you unique features to become the best alternative. Although it seems similar to what happens with iOS and Android, where the choice depends on your personal tastes, with these systems the issue is a bit more complex.
Windows and Mac have the advantage of having been in the operating systems business for decades. If you are looking for a computer for your work, you will most likely decide between them. But you should not underestimate Chrome OS, which is backed by the tech giant Google and is based on the Chrome browser.
For all this, we wanted to analyze and compare the three systems in detail so that you can conclude that it will be able to meet your needs more. We start?
- The best selection of software and the widest variety of hardware
- It works on desktops, laptops and tablets
- The best option for players
- It works with almost all accessories
- Biannual updates introduce new features
- A schedule of faster updates can become confusing
- Compatibility issues with some hardware
- Different versions create confusion
- Microsoft struggles to get modern applications
Microsoft's Windows operating system owns about 78 percent of the global desktop market share, with only two-thirds exclusively for Windows 10. It is expected to increase with the term of official support for Windows 7, in January of 2020. If laptops are included, it controls 40 percent of the global market, becoming the most popular operating system for such devices. There are several reasons, but the most important is the depth and breadth of your hardware and support software.
Because Microsoft sells Windows licenses to more or less any manufacturer, that means you can obtain a device with this operating system in different sizes, shapes or price ranges.
Microsoft even sells the Windows pack individually, so consumers and businesses can manually load it into their hardware. This broadly open approach has allowed the company to conquer all competitors in the last decades.
Due to its availability and longevity worldwide, Windows also has the largest software library on the planet. Windows users do not get all new applications that go on the market, but even those that do not initially receive tend to arrive over time. Consumer, media, companies, games, it doesn't matter: if you want the most complete range, Windows is the way to go.
At least, that's true with respect to traditional desktop applications written for Microsoft's venerable Win32 platform, such as its own Office 2016 suite. The company has made a massive bet on its Windows 10 application platform, called the Universal Platform of Windows (UWP), intended to be Microsoft's response to mobile applications that are efficient, safe and easy to manage on iOS and Android. However, UWP has not taken off, and that leaves Microsoft somewhat precariously astride the old and the new.
Works with everything
Windows also has support for the widest range of hardware. That is an important consideration if you want to play graphic intensity videogames or work with high-power software, video editing or computer-aided design. There is no system that offers that quality, although MacOS has recently received the latest generation and ultra-powerful hardware with its iMac Pro.
In addition, the Windows PC ecosystem has exploded in terms of different types of form factors available to buyers. There are traditional laptops and desktops, which are more powerful and of higher quality than ever, and are priced in price from a few hundred dollars in their entry-level options to thousands of green machines Premium. The 2-in-1 market is probably the most intriguing development, as it gives users access to a large number of fascinating devices that can pass in a second from laptops to touch tablets.
Although most of the accessories are universal since the introduction of the USB standard, Windows still has the highest technical compatibility with respect to third-party add-ons. Thus, almost any mouse, keyboard, webcam, storage unit, graphics tablet, printer, scanner, microphone, monitor or other doodad You want to add Windows to your computer, something that cannot always be said of Mac, much less, of Chrome OS.
With Windows you also get universal and updated drivers, some provided by Microsoft and others developed by the hardware manufacturers themselves, more regularly than the alternatives. The conclusion is that, if there is something you want to connect and use on your computer, Windows 10 will always be your best option.
Fast and meaningful updates
If you haven't used Windows in a few years, you probably associate it with slow progress. That is no longer true. With Windows 10, Microsoft promised to make timely updates and has remained true to that promise. We have seen periodic updates every two years with significant new features, security and performance improvements.
Those who wish to access the forefront can also join the free Insider program, which publishes updates almost every week. The newest get access to corrections, adjustments and important new features. Insiders not only gain immediate access to the latest capabilities, but also help shape the operating system by providing continuous feedback to Microsoft.
Over time, this rapid update policy has given Windows 10 an advantage over MacOS, which is updated every year but generally with only one or two significant new features. Chrome OS is also updated quickly, but Google rarely introduces new features that are relevant, which has slowed its progress in relation to Windows and MacOS.
The only drawback of fast updates with Windows 10 is that they can occasionally cause more problems than they solve. The October 2018 update deleted user data and caused driver issues. It took months to fix it and led Microsoft to change its update practice to be a little less ambitious in the future.
Compatibility Issues and Versions
However, Windows is not perfect. The open nature of Microsoft's relationship with the manufacturers of desktops and laptops means that two different machines, often with the same specifications, can work very differently. The quality of production can vary greatly, even within the hardware of the same manufacturer. That makes choosing a new PC with Windows 10 a challenge. You should conduct an investigation to make the most of your money.
Windows also has the reputation of being less secure than MacOS and Chrome OS, simply because it is the most used desktop system. But Windows includes numerous Microsoft tools and protections to prevent and clean viruses and other threats, in addition to third-party tools. Therefore, Windows 10 is much more secure than it once was, although it is still the most attacked.
The wide variety of Windows hardware also causes problems. The complex Windows driver system can cause system errors that the user must diagnose and resolve, and frequent updates from Microsoft can damage software or devices that have not been considered or anticipated. For that reason, Windows is more difficult to manage for the typical user, although the update infrastructure built into Windows 10 makes things easier than they were in the old days of exploring the web for updates.
Microsoft also generated a confusing situation with its "Windows 10 S" initiative. Originally, it introduced Windows 10 S as a locked, secure and high-performance version of the operating system, intended for schools and other environments where administrators do not want users to make changes. Windows 10 S only runs UWP applications, with the exception of Office 2016, so it provides easier administration and greater security.
However, leave Windows 10 S as an independent version at the time of its introduction. Instead, I rename it as a "mode" of Windows 10. Although the Windows Core operating system may fragment things in the future, Windows 10X is the latest iteration for dual-screen devices such as Surface Neo, although we don't know much about how function.
Is Windows for you?
Windows is in a better position than a few years ago. What's more, the newest version, Windows 10, is smarter and easier to understand than previous editions, and receives frequent updates.
The problem of complexity, however, remains. You may find more errors with Windows than with your competition. But these errors are rarely like those fatal errors that usually drag Windows systems to a halt, and are compensated for by the features and hardware compatibility that Microsoft simply does not offer.
- Simple and easy to use design
- Downward focus of software and hardware
- It works well with iPhones and iPads
- Mac computers can also run Windows through Boot Camp
- More expensive than Windows
- Less software options
- Very few games
- No touch screen support
- Recent updates have not impressed
One of Apple's oldest promotional messages for Mac computers and its software was: "It just works." And the truth is that this philosophy applies, more or less, to everything the company sells, including laptops and desktops, and associated MacOS software.
Previously called OS X, the MacOS system runs on all Apple computers, and buying an Apple machine is the only legitimate way to access it. Because of this unique top-down approach to its products, Apple enjoys tighter control over MacOS than any of its current counterparts.
MacOS is designed to run only on a relatively small and highly controlled variety of computers and parts, compared to millions of possible combinations for Windows.
That allows Apple to perform more intense quality tests for its products, optimize the software for only a few computers, and provide targeted services that can diagnose and solve problems much faster and more accurately than Windows manufacturers.
For users who want their computer to "simply work," Macs are an attractive proposition.
It just works
The operating system itself is designed to be easy to operate, even for beginners. While the Windows 10 interface is simple in appearance, Microsoft's operating system has an infinite range of mens below. New computer users often find that MacOS is more intuitive than Windows 10, although long-term Windows users may need some time to adapt to the interface and some important features, such as the MacOS file browser, called Finder , which has never been easy to understand.
Although the software market for MacOS is not as wide as in the case of Windows, it is sufficient for most purposes. Apple includes a set of internal programs for basic tasks, and the most popular third-party software, the Google Chrome browser, is available on MacOS. Microsoft even produces a version of its Office application suite for Apple hardware, and some of the best creative applications are available in higher versions for MacOS. No wonder MacOS is a popular choice for media design and production, and many art-centric applications are available only for Mac, including Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing suite.
That said, MacOS is at a disadvantage for gamers, since most new games are not available on this platform. Windows titles that are extremely popular may (or may not) have a MacOS version. However, for those people, Macs can be a good solution thanks to Apple's Boot Camp application. This utility helps users prepare any Mac computer to run Windows instead of (or as an option to that can be changed) its built-in operating system, which allows access to most Windows applications and capabilities.
This requires a separate purchase of the Windows 10 license, although it is also possible to run other operating systems, such as Linux, in Boot Camp. (Windows machines can also start Linux and other third-party operating systems, but the MacOS license cannot be authorized for use on non-Apple hardware.) Mac can even run Windows at the same time as MacOS through virtualization tools such as Parallels or VMWare, offering even more flexibility for those who like the way MacOS works, but need access to some specific Windows software.
MacOS hardware works exceptionally well with Apple's iOS products, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Apple hardware users enjoy a unified design language, tools such as Siri and Apple Pay that work with both devices and cross functions through an Apple account for applications such as iMessage. Apple's Continuity feature is perhaps the most exciting example of how well MacOS and iOS are integrated, with the ability to take back what you left in a document on any device and answer phone calls and answer text messages on your Mac.
Apple Watch owners can even log in to the latest MacOS version without a password. This synergistic approach simply does not exist to the same extent in Windows, although Microsoft is pushing the return of its operating system to the mobile space with Windows 10 X. While it is possible to acquire many similar features in Windows with third-party tools, it is more difficult than use MacOS.
Apple only offers a few lines of products running MacOS and that's a problem. Hardware (especially storage) is often expensive, not always up to date, and may not fit your needs. There is no 17-inch MacBook, for example, and the Mac does not offer a touch screen, except for the MacBook Pro's miniature Touch Bar. In fact, unless you want to add a keyboard to your iPad, the 2-in- 1 does not exist in the world of MacOS.
However, Apple has some high-end solutions, if you need real power. They are expensive, but the iMac and iMac Pro are some of the most powerful desktop and multifunction computers in the world.
Apple's desire to set trends when it comes to style can often leave users with limited options. Several years have passed since Apple effectively abandoned everything but the USB-C Thunderbolt connectors and, in some cases, limited the devices to only one or two ports. That means using an adapter if you want to connect legacy or multiple devices and accessories.
Is it MacOS for you?
Mac and MacOS computers are for users who want a premium desktop experience without having to work on it.
Apple's philosophy makes its software relatively accessible for newcomers. It is also a great option for people who are dedicated to Apple mobile products.
However, Mac systems are expensive and often do not offer hardware on par with Windows alternatives. The operating system also lacks certain features that can be found in Windows, such as touch support and a focus on mixed reality.
Chrome operating system
- Simple and easy browser-based interface
- Lightweight software
- Extremely economical hardware options
- Android applications expand the software ecosystem
- The applications are limited compared to the "real" of a PC
- Limited storage space
- Bad accessory compatibility
- Great dependence on Google tools
Google's approach to the world of desktop hardware is very interesting. Chrome OS was originally designed as an operating system that relies primarily on constant Internet access, which made sense, as it was designed as an extension of the Chrome desktop browser.
Chrome hardware, usually called "Chromebook" for laptops and sometimes "Chromebox" for desktop designs, is intended for users who rely primarily on the web and only occasionally use more complex desktop software.
Although that is slowly changing. For example, Google has integrated a file manager into the Chrome operating system, and adding compatibility with Android applications greatly expands what can be done with the operating system when it is not connected. But it remains a simplistic environment compared to Windows and MacOS.
It is a web world
As Chrome OS revolves around your browser, it is the least complex of the three main operating systems on the market. Calling it "browser in a box" does not define it completely but it is a good way to think about it. Although Chrome OS includes some basic desktop tools such as a file manager and a photo viewer, its main focus is web content, although that is starting to change with the arrival of Android application compatibility.
The interface is designed for users to access the web quickly and easily, and to present as few obstacles as possible for Internet content. Anyone using the Chrome browser on a Windows or MacOS machine will instantly feel comfortable with the interface, and all their saved history, bookmarks and extensions will be synchronized.
Chrome devices stand out in web browsing, video and music streaming, chat and video conferencing, and other relatively simple web tasks. The back end Linux's operating system can do anything the Chrome browser can do on a desktop, including advanced Flash and Java applications. Chrome extensions and applications can change the interface and add additional functionality to some extent, but lack the precise control and "advanced user" options of Windows and MacOS. That's where Android compatibility comes into play, which offers millions of new application options that amply amply the Chrome OS experience.
Since Google designed the system to trust Chrome, it is understandable that it depends on Google?s tools, to a greater extent that Windows relies on Microsoft software and Apple?s MacOS software. That can be something good or bad, depending on how you have educated yourself as a user in Google properties. If you already use Gmail, Sheets, Drive and other Google services, Chrome OS is a fantastic platform to better integrate those tools into your daily tasks.
Cheap and easy
The web focus gives Chrome OS some advantages over Windows and MacOS. It can run comfortably on low-cost and consumer hardware: laptops with cheap processors, small solid-state drives and very little RAM can easily run Chrome OS, all with expansive cloud storage. Sometimes, these economic designs run faster and more reliably than Windows and MacOS, even when the latter are used primarily for a browser in any way.
If you want the best experience of Android applications, especially games, you want a fast processor, but you rely much less on high-end components for a useful experience. The options for high-end Chromebooks are broader, even if they are not the focus of the range. The Pixelbook leads the way, but there are many other excellent alternatives to choose from.
However, if you are not running intensive applications, Chrome OS is essentially the same experience on every Chromebook and Chromebox. Do not suffer the problem of "bloatware" Windows, although Chrome OS devices are sold by third parties such as Dell, Samsung and Toshiba. And administration is easier, making Chrome OS popular in educational environments.
The combination of this all-in-one approach and low power requirements mean that Chromebooks can be extremely economical, sometimes even less than $ 200 dollars. The more expensive models offer high-resolution screens, backlit keyboards, foldable touch screens and other sophisticated features, including Google's Pixelbook 2-in-1, with touch and pen support.
Is Chrome OS for you?
Originally, Chrome OS practically does not offer support for external software, although, of course, Google is changing that dynamic by offering access to the Play Store with Android. Chromebooks do not work with advanced accessories, such as complex gaming hardware. Google simply does not provide controls. It can handle basic keyboards, mice, USB drives and Bluetooth add-ons, but that's it.
Meanwhile, games on Chrome OS are one of the most significant benefits of Android support. While the titles of massive games available for Windows will not run, and to a much lesser extent those of MacOS, there are at least hundreds of thousands of Android games that should work quite well on newer Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. That is a significant improvement that must be taken into account.
In short, Chrome OS is almost all web or online, all the time. If you are a Windows or Mac user and you often find that the browser is the only application you are using or you agree with the huge ecosystem of simpler Android applications, then you should seriously consider this system. But the almost complete lack of more advanced third-party software is a decisive factor for anyone who puts together a computer for more complex tasks.
The simplicity and approach of Chrome OS is good for users whose main interactions are on the web. Its low cost of entry is attractive to anyone with a tight budget, but users who require more complex software or more demanding tasks should look elsewhere.
If you are a student, you have a limited budget or you simply love Google tools and services, Chrome OS is an excellent great alternative, while MacOS is the most suitable for professionals or who do not mind paying a little more to get a hardware and optimized software
* Updated by Jos Luis Plascencia on March 2, 2020.