Windows 8 vs OS X Mountain Lion (Part 1)

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We compare Microsoft Windows 8 and Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion to discover how the two operating systems stack up against each other

With such a radical departure from the "Windows format we've used for the 17-odd years since Windows 95 launched, we thought it was time to take stock and see how Windows 8 compares with Apple's OS X Mountain Lion - and find out whether it's time to switch.

Windows 8 vs OS X Mountain Lion

Windows 8 vs OS X Mountain Lion

In releasing Windows 8, Microsoft has taken a huge step toward a unified OS experience across PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Where once small icons and a Start menu populated the Windows desktop, the simplified Modern user interface, replete with live tiles and designed to be controlled with touch gestures, is proving an unfamiliar and often confusing new landscape.

Improvements behind the scenes are noticeable, but redesigning the way users interact with their machines was always going to be difficult. Don't forget, though, that the traditional desktop remains, albeit without a Start menu.

Response to Windows S has been mixed. Microsoft claims to have sold 60 million copies. However, there has also been negative press about the frustrating learning curve required by Windows 8's Modern interface, plus reports of customers (particularly businesses) exercising their right to downgrade to Windows 7 when buying new machines.

Apple's OS X Mountain Lion

Apple's OS X Mountain Lion

One of the problems Windows 8 has faced is its customers' ability to operate the touch-friendly OS using a keyboard and mouse. It's certainly possible to use the Modern UI this way, but it can take more clicks to accomplish a task in Windows 8 than in previous versions. We're now seeing desktop and laptop PCs manufactured with the Modern UI in mind. These devices feature touchscreens, gesture-supporting touchpads, and even some unusual convertible designs that enable laptops to transform into tablets. Finally, it’s possible to experience Windows 8 as Microsoft intended.

Since it isn't possible to run older applications in the Modern UI, Microsoft has been forced to retain the traditional desktop environment, making Windows 8 an operating system of two halves.

In this article we compare both sides of Windows 8 against Mountain Lion. We compare the two OSes in their out-of - the-box condition, with no third-party browsers, email clients, photo managers, or any other software installed.

We've tested Windows 8 using Lenovo's Yoga 13, an ultraportable laptop with a 13-inch screen that can be turned 360 degrees and folded flat against the keyboard to form a tablet. For OS X we've used a 13-inch Apple MacbookAir.

In this article we compare both sides of Windows 8 against Mountain Lion.

In this article we compare both sides of Windows 8 against Mountain Lion.

We'll look at every facet from the obvious interface design to the bundled apps, security, file sharing and more.

Windows 8 has been out in the wild for five months now, had its preliminary patches applied, and seen the introductory upgrade offer consigned to history. Now things get serious: so it's Microsoft vs Apple, Windows 8 vs OS X Mountain Lion. Read on to find out how two different design concepts stand up to the mundane reality of everyday computing.

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