Windows 8.1 vs OS X Mavericks: Which OS is Best?

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The war between Windows and Mac has reached a new phase with Windows 8.1 and OS X Mavericks. While you could call the new Windows a course correction–with the re-introduction of a Start button and the ability to boot straight to the desktop–Microsoft is still very much on the path of converging laptops and tablets. Meanwhile, Apple largely stays the course with OS X Mavericks, embracing existing Mac owners and would-be switchers with time-saving features like Finder Tabs. At the same time, Mavericks continues to borrow features from iOS, including the new Maps and iBooks app.

Those in the market for a new laptop have two very distinct choices in Windows 8.1 and OS X Mavericks. So we decided to pit the two platforms against one another in 10 rounds of battle to crown a champ.

Editors’ Note: This face-off is based on the developer previews for both Windows 8.1 and OS X Mavericks. We will update this article in the fall of 2013 once both operating systems have shipped to consumers. 

Interface

Windows 8.1 still features the same dynamic Live Tile interface as Windows 8, making it easy to see social updates, the latest weather conditions and news headlines at a glance. But now there are more tile size options at your disposal. You can also set the same background for both the Modern interface and desktop UI to provide a more seamless feel.

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Still, the Modern UI and desktop remain very distinct computing environments. (Why are there still two IE browsers again?) Fortunately, you can boot directly to the desktop if you wish. A more robust Modern settings menu helps, but tweaking some options requires digging into the Control Panel. OS X Mavericks System Preferences are all in one place.

Microsoft wisely revived the Start button in Windows 8.1. However, this button merely returns you to the Start screen and its Live Tiles. It’s actually kind of tease.

Microsoft could also do a better job of not hiding key information in Modern mode, such as your system’s battery life. And while Windows 8.1 surfaces more data at a glance, such as the search bar in the Mail app, other times you’re forced to swipe up to reveal the app bar before you know what options are at your disposal. Yes, Windows 8 has improved, but it still feels like work at times.

MORE: How to Download and Install Windows 8.1 Preview

OS X Mavericks offers a very similar interface to Mountain Lion, including an iOS-like Launchpad for the apps you download from the App Store, a Notification Center that shows your alerts and a dock for your favorite apps. It’s not fancy, but it works.

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Apple has modernized the look and feel of some of its apps, including Calendar and Notes. Those old-school ripped page visual metaphors have a taken a back seat for a cleaner aesthetic.

Winner: OS X Mavericks. Last time we gave this round to Mountain Lion because it offers a more consistent and unified UI. While we appreciate the improvements in Windows 8.1, its two UIs still don’t mesh well. 

Multitasking

Microsoft extends its lead over OS X with 8.1 by allowing users to run up to four apps on the screen at once. You can’t even snap two windows side by side on OS X Mavericks. Just as important, you can now snap two Modern apps side by side and have them both take up half of the screen. Before it head to be a 70/30 percent split. In desktop mode you can still peek at open programs by hovering your cursor over the app icon, something OS X doesn’t do.

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Multitasking on OS X Mavericks hasn’t improved much, which is a shame. Mission Control provides only a dashboard as to what’s open. You can’t close any apps from this view. Why not let users swipe up on an app to close it, as you can on the upcoming iOS 7? For the most part, OS X is best for unitasking because of its ability to run many apps at full screen. However, we like the improved multiple display support, which lets you see the dock and menu bar across screens.

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Winner: Windows 8.1. An improved Snap function makes Microsoft’s OS the better bet for multitaskers. 

Notifications

Windows 8.1 sticks with Toaster notifications that pop up on your screen for incoming alerts, relying mostly on Live Tiles to keep users up to speed. Our issue with Live Tiles is that you don’t land on a specific message or news story that you see flashing in the tile, just the start page for the related app. On the plus side, a new Quiet Hours feature gives users more control over alerts, letting them schedule when notifications should be inactive.

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Apple has built on Notification Center in Mountain Lion with enhanced notifications in OS X Mavericks. You can reply to a message or email directly from within the alert, which helps save time and keeps you more focused on the task at hand. You can also accept FaceTime invites on the fly. Mavericks will also support notifications from some of your favorites websites, such as CNN.

Winner: OS X Mavericks. While Live Tiles are more engaging, keeping track of notifications in Windows 8.1 feels more unruly than Apple’s one-stop notification shop.

Search

Microsoft has stepped up its search game in Windows 8.1. Unlike Windows 8, you’re no longer forced to choose between sources like your hard drive, the web and your list of apps. Just fire up the Charms menu, click the search icon and you’ll see apps, documents and more show up in results. However, you can’t preview results here as you can with Mavericks.

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A new Search Heroes feature delivers sleek results pages with interactive multimedia content. For example, searching a city returns a map, the current weather conditions and attractions. (It’s a lot like searching Bing). Search Heroes also applies to music artists, offering sample tracks and videos via Xbox Music. When we searched for our name, Windows 8.1 returned relevant webpages with thumbnails in the middle of the screen and files on the left. 

MORE: Windows 8.1 Tips and Tutorials

OS X Mavericks makes it easier to find your files by introducing a new Tags feature, which lets you apply tag names with their own colors. You can apply multiple tags to the same file, such as Family Budget or Big Project. Within the Finder you’ll see a list of tags along the left sidebar for quick access. Or just use the search field to find files based on tags or their color.

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OS X Mavericks supercharges your searching in another way with Finder Tabs. Similar to a web browsing experience, you can open multiple tabs within the Finder to reduce window clutter. You can also easily drag and drop files from one tab to another.

MORE: Top 10 Features of OS X Mavericks

Spotlight Search continues to be a great feature in OS X, returning results almost instantly in multiple categories (Documents, Folders, Events, Web pages, Music, Web, etc.). Plus, you can preview your results by hovering over them. You can even drag and drop items out of the results view into an app, such as a photo into an outgoing email.

Winner: OS X Mavericks. Windows 8.1 offers better looking results and has made its search universal, but Apple’s Spotlight offers previews and Finder has pulled ahead with features power users will appreciate.

Cloud

We found it downright odd that Microsoft highlighted SkyDrive in the Modern-style interface in Windows 8 but didn’t even include it on the desktop. That changes in Windows 8.1, as it’s integrated right into Explorer. It’s clear that Microsoft would prefer that you would use its service, which includes 7GB of free storage.

The beauty of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 is that your files appear as though they’re stored locally (complete with thumbnails) but take up very little hard drive space. Only when you open a file does SkyDrive retrieve it from the cloud. However, you can right-click files to make them available offline.

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Microsoft also updated the Modern-style SkyDrive app to let you access files that are both stored locally and in the cloud. Moving files could be easier, though. After copying a bunch of screenshots and entering a new folder, a message at the bottom of the screen said “3 items ready to paste.” Tapping that message did nothing; instead, we had to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the app bar, then tap Paste.

Unlike Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s SkyDrive Cloud service lets you access your files on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android devices. With Apple, you’re pretty much stuck with iOS, though you can access files via the web.

Apple hasn’t made many changes to iCloud within OS Mavericks itself, but it does integrate with the new Tags feature, making it easier to find your files when you log into another Mac.

Another welcome new feature is iCloud Keychain, which stores everything from usernames and passwords to credit card info and Wi-Fi credentials stored in the cloud. Everything gets encrypted and pushed to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. By the same token, the new Books apps in Mavericks syncs your progress and notes in books.

Cloud_iWork

Things will get more interesting once Apple launches iWork in the Cloud (in limited beta now). The service will bring Pages, Numbers and Keynote to both OS X and Windows users via the web, but it doesn’t look as though it will be as robust as Office 365 or Google Drive.

Winner: Windows 8.1 The ability to access your files from more types of devices and improved desktop integration help Microsoft win this round.

Sharing and Social Integration

The What’s New area of the People app continues to make it easy to see what your friends and other contacts are up to on Facebook and Twitter. We also like that you can write directly on someone’s Facebook wall from within a contact in the People app. 

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The omnipresent Charms menu lets you share everything from web articles to photos with a swipe in from the right, but the social networks are an extra tap away via the People option. And even then only Facebook and Twitter were an option in the drop-down menu, not LinkedIn. Worse, you can only share via the People app if you use the Modern version of IE 11, not the desktop browser.

Apple has added some social mojo to OS X Mavericks, including LinkedIn integration. This applies to sharing articles from Safari, checking out Shared Links from within the browser’s bookmark view and contacts. LinkedIn updates can also show up as notifications. OS X continues to support Facebook and Twitter integration as well.

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It’s a minor enhancement, but we like that events that your Facebook friends invite you to automatically appear in the Calendar app. If you want to post directly to Facebook or Twitter, you can do so at any time right from the Notification Center. With Windows 8.1, you have to launch the People app first, then click Me.

Neither Windows 8.1 nor Mavericks support Google+.

Winner: OS X Mavericks. Although Windows 8.1 offers a sleeker People app, Apple’s OS makes it easier to share content.

Built-in Apps

Windows 8.1 includes some enhanced apps and brand-new choices to help users get more out of the touch-friendly OS. We continue to like appreciate the Bing News, Travel, Finance and Sports apps, with their sleek panoramic designs and customizable interfaces. You can also pin favorite items to your Start screen, as we did with the New York Yankees.

Creative types will dig the new Fresh Paint app for Windows 8, which includes oil paints, graphic pencils and watercolors and lets you paint via touch, stylus or dedicated drawing tablet. And foodies will salivate over the new Bing Food & Drink app, which includes tasty recipes, a shopping list and meal planner. The hands-free mode lets you wave your hand through recipe steps (a smart idea) but on our Yoga 11s the gestures were inconsistent.

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The Bing Health & Fitness app is even more robust, offering videos (like The Hotel Room Workout), diet, exercise and health trackers, and a symptom checker with a 3D model of the human body. You can literally point to where it hurts. 

MORE: Top 25 Windows 8 Apps

Although it was not available on our preview build, a new Mail app borrows liberally (in a good way) from Outlook.com. A power pane on the left side lets you filter mail by important contacts, while separate newsletter and social update views minimize clutter. We also like the ability to view image attachments in split-screen mode with the Photo app.

Speaking of the Photos app, you can now auto-fix and fine tune photos with a few taps. However, the iPhoto app in OS X Mavericks has many more options and integrates well with Shared Photo Streams, making it easy to import images from your iOS device.

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With OS X Mavericks, Apple has given some its Calendar app a major makeover while adding Maps and iBooks. In addition to a cleaner design, the Calendar app now offers an Event Inspector feature that will autocomplete meeting locations as you type; the app will show the cross-street on a mini map and even the weather forecast for that appointment time. The Windows 8.1 Calendar app is much more barebones.

Maps for OS X Mavericks is similar to the iOS version (except on a bigger canvas), complete with 3D flyovers for cities. We also like that points of interest include Yelp ratings and photos. However, while Apple’s Maps app looks better and is easier to use, only the Bing Maps app includes transit directions.

iBooks isn’t included in the developer preview, but it promises access 1.8 million books right from the iBooks Store, and iCloud keeps your current page in sync across multiple Apple devices. Windows 8.1 users will have to opt for a third-party option like Amazon.

Winner: Windows 8.1. Although we prefer Apple’s Calendar app to Microsoft’s, Windows 8.1′s selection of Bing apps provides a more well-rounded experience, especially if you invest in a touchscreen device.

App Stores

From Microsoft: Microsoft recently passed the 100,000 app milestone for the Windows Store, and the company claims that the majority of top iPad and Android apps will be available for Windows 8.1 by the time Windows 8.1 ships. Those will include Facebook and Flipboard.

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The Windows Store in Windows 8.1 sports a redesign that presents personalized recommendations based on previous downloads, as well as staff picks, deals and apps rising in popularity. Microsoft also cut down on the need to scroll by letting you see all categories by right-clicking or swiping in from the top of the screen.

However, the Windows Store continues to stock only Modern-style apps and not desktop apps, which results in a fragmented downloading and shopping experience. For now, the Store is missing some key apps you’ll find on the iPad, such as Pandora, Draw Something and Words with Friends. But this face-off is between Windows 8.1 and OS X Mavericks, and in that regard Windows has a huge lead over Apple in the number of desktop apps you can find outside of the Windows Store. 

The Mac App Store stocks thousands of choices, ranging from photo editing apps and social networking tools to games. Apple’s store also presents more information on the screen at once, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. We appreciate the easy access to Top Charts and Categories at the top of the screen. The Mac App Store can now update your apps automatically, similar to Windows 8.1. However, only the Mac App Store stocks apps optimized for Retina Displays (260 at last count).

Winner: OS X Mavericks. Yes, the Windows Store looks better than before, but the Mac App Store is still more intuitive.

Web Browsing

Apple’s Safari browser gets faster and more social with OS X Mavericks. A revamped sidebar (accessed via the Bookmark button near the top-left corner of the screen) includes not just your bookmarks and Reading List, but also a new Shared Links feature that shows what your Twitter and LinkedIn contacts are posting.

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The new Top Sites page displays all the sites you visit most in a neat grid, and you can reorder them with a drag and drop. Those who like to add articles to their reading list will be pleased to learn that you can now keep scrolling through the pages when you reach the end of a story.

In Windows 8.1, the Modern-style IE 11 browser gets the most attention. You now have unlimited tabs (before it was 10) and you can now snap two webpages side by side. If a given website supports the feature, you can pin your favorite sites to your Start screen as a Live Tile, which updates with new photos and headlines.

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We still find it jarring that IE 11 has separate desktop and Modern (touch friendly) versions with their own interfaces, but at least bookmarks stay in sync. Open tabs do not sync though.

To test Safari’s performance versus IE 11 in Windows 8 .1, we compared it against both the Modern and desktop versions of the browser using a few benchmarks. For these tests we used a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and a Lenovo ThinkPad Helix.

On Sunspider (a JavaScript benchmark), Safari scored 199 ms, while the desktop version of IE 11 notched a faster 146.7 ms. (Lower numbers are better.) The Modern version of the browser was slower than Safari, registering 206 ms.

We also ran Rightware’s Browsermark 2.0, which measures everything from 2D and 3D performance to resize and page load times. In this test Safari scored 6,090, compared to 2,467 for IE 11. Lastly, OS X Mavericks smoked Windows 8.1 on the V8 Benchmark, which also tests JavaScript performance (13,718 vs. 8,015 Windows 8.1 Modern vs 9,912 Windows 8 desktop).

Winner: OS X Mavericks. As far as native browsers go, we give the edge to Safari for its social integration and faster performance.

Gaming

This round will be very quick because the hottest games simply don’t find their way to Macs fast enough—if at all. “World of Tanks,” “Tomb Raider,” “Far Cry 3,” “Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.” None of these top-tier Windows titles are available for Macs.

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The Mac App Store does stock some decent games, such as “Batman: Arkham City,” “Doom 3” and the earlier “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,” but hardcore gamers are still better off with Windows. 

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The good news is that casual gamers will find plenty to like in the Mac App Store, from “Real Racing 2” and “Angry Birds Star Wars” to Bejeweled 3.

Winner: Windows 8.1. We wish Microsoft put its best games in the Windows Store, but overall this round is no contest.

Hardware Options

Just as there has always been, there are still huge differences in hardware variety for OS X and Windows. With Windows 8.1, most of the excitement is around touch-based hybrids that combine laptop and tablet functionality in a single device. Examples include the IdeaPad Yoga ($1,099), Dell XPS 12 ($1,099) and ASUS Transformer Book ($1,499). Cheaper Atom-powered convertibles such as the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T cost $579, while touch-enabled notebooks (that don’t flip or convert) start as low as $399.

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If you plan on using the Live Tile interface often, we highly recommend a Windows 8 notebook with touch. Just keep in mind that the desktop environment isn’t nearly as touch friendly as the Modern UI and Windows 8-optimized apps. 

MORE: Best Laptops 2014

With a starting price of $999, Apple’s MacBook lineup isn’t ideal for those on a budget, but its machines are very good values compared to similarly configured Windows 8 notebooks. For instance, the $1,099 MacBook Air lasted more than 11 hours on our battery test, which beats the pants off of all Windows-powered Ultrabooks. And while the MacBook Pro with Retina Display starts at a relatively steep $1,499, Apple actually offers apps that are optimized for is higher-resolution screens.

Winner: Windows 8.1  Microsoft wins in terms of sheer variety and for having many compelling options priced lower than Apple.

Verdict

The choice between OS X and Windows has always been fairly simple for those on a tight budget. If you don’t want to spend $999 or more on a new notebook, a Mac isn’t the right choice for you. But when it comes to the overall experience on comparable hardware, the choice becomes more difficult. 

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Windows 8.1 builds upon the touch-friendly strengths of Windows 8 while better catering to desktop users. This OS is better at multitasking than OS X Mavericks, and SkyDrive is more robust than iCloud. If you don’t like the Live Tile interface, you can mostly ignore it. However, even though you can find Windows 8 touch-based laptops and tablets on the cheap, the desktop environment in Windows 8.1 continues to be much better with a mouse and keyboard.

OS X Mavericks isn’t all that ambitious a release compared to the upcoming iOS 7, but it does beat Windows 8.1 in many key categories. While not as dynamic, Mavericks’ interface is easier to use because there aren’t two competing environments (desktop and tablet). Mavericks also does a better job with notifications and search, as well as social sharing.

Do we wish Apple would offer touch support in its Macs? At times, yes, but overall we prefer OS X Mavericks to Windows 8.1 because it offers plenty of enhancements without trying to do too much.

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. sseaton1971 Says:

    Your analysis in the Multitasking section is misleading or, perhaps, just confusing. Are you comparing the ability to run full screen apps? You can easily run as many apps on the screen at once with OS X Mavericks and any version of OS X preceeding it. The same with Windows. Were you actually comparing iOS’s inability to run multiple apps on the screen at once?

  2. BDK Says:

    Wait. Windows can only display 2 apps side by side at once, while OS X allows you to have as many windows on your desktop as you want, and Microsoft wins??

  3. Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    Good point, Sean. I’m referring to more easily run two apps side by side. With OS X it’s more unwieldy. That’s why Windows 8.1 wins that round.

  4. dougman Says:

    Linux is the best OS hands down, just see how popular Chromebooks are becoming.

    No one wants Windows 8 and OSX is just too tacky.

  5. Troy Says:

    Gaming is a selection criteria? You sure you are not 13?

  6. Tim McManus Says:

    I have to disagree about your multitasking assessment. It’s all a matter of how you approach it, and for me snapping two windows side-by-side offers very little productivity improvement. Quite often I’ll want to stack windows or overlay two screen to see what the differences are in certain areas. For example, launch any version of Excel on the PC and try to use two monitors. You can’t. You’re restricted to the Excel interface on one screen. However, on a Mac the windows are independent of the program so I have the freedom to work on two screens and overlap one window over another to more easily compare rows of data.

    For example, right now I have a web browser on the top of a stack of windows. Underneath are two separate email programs set up in a way that I can only see their inboxes so I can quickly read new email headers. On the other side of the screen are both email program’s activity windows so I can quickly see if one or more email accounts are having issues. I only need a small percentage of the screen to do this, not a whole side, which would be wasted space IMHO. My second screen has a similar stack of windows with each peaking out only the essential data I’m interested in. So for me the random placement is allowing me to make practical use of more screen space thereby leaving less of the screen as wasted space.

    I prefer the functional freedom of unconstrained windows versus having screens even distributed on the screen.

  7. Bob Barker Says:

    You missed a big plus on multitasking in Mac OS X. Since the release of the “Expose” feature years ago (which was rolled into Mission Control some time ago), you can drag-and-drop items between exposed windows. Want a picture from a webpage in an email? Click-hold on the pic to grab the pic off the page, use the trackpad show all windows, drag the pic over the open email you’re typing up, the email window will pop forward, and just drop the picture in. All with one hand. You can also do the same with items in The Finder window (into other apps or other open Finder windows) or from any app-to-app.

    I first tried this out on Vista as they were flogging “Flip 3D” in commercials…can’t do it. While Flip 3D was pretty, that’s all it was. In reality, it nothing more than a Rolodex approach to window management. How 1970′s!

    As for easily tiling windows in Mac OS, I wish Apple had a system solution for it. But there are third party solutions available, such as “Window Tidy” that brings this functionality to Mac OS. Thank goodness Apple FINALLY ripped off the idea from Windows to resize a window from any side or corner!

  8. rue Says:

    I often have several apps open in OSX on one screen, e.g., Pages, iPhoto, Safari and Mail. I am able to drag and drop items from one to another with little effort.

  9. John chu Says:

    I also have to point i took issue with some of th built in apps available. Mavericks is the clear winner here with the iLife bundle for music, photos and video editing. While you did mention iPhoto editing, you didnt “paint” a complete picture of offerings.

  10. LWP Says:

    I guess the writer needs to balance the score and somehow gave the the multitasking winner to Windows 8.1. Hardly could agree with this but I understand that he has to do it this way to maintain his neutrality in his comparison.

  11. Mark P Says:

    Interesting comparison. I like to think of myself as platform agnostic, recently bought a Windows 8 device (Yoga 13) to go along with my MacBook Air. In terms of the build quality, they are far apart (yet similar in price).

    Perhaps in the final version of the article it would be nice to see comparisons about:

    1) file security and encryption (after PRISM). With OSX you can make encrypted volumes easily in Disk Utility, useful for secure and private Cloud backup, whereas there are no native tools in Win 8 (they’re restricted to Pro). Truecrypt is a third-party workaround but it’s just easier in OSX.

    2) efficiency of the OS in terms of processes, resources. I found win 8 to be an improvement over previous versions, but lots of unnecessary processes and daemons running simultaneously, and battery life of Win 8 laptops is in part a casualty of this (?). Mavericks promises more efficient use of stepped processor cycles. Much as I would like to break out of the Apple ecosystem, it is advances like these that are so useful for mobile workers where every battery minute counts. (Is this functionality part of modern Linux distributions, does anyone know)?

    @Troy – yes, some adults do game you know. Even middle-aged adults with families have guilty pleasures…

  12. kai Says:

    I think the most advantage for a windows is its software selections compare to a mac.

  13. Martin Says:

    A good overview. But like everyone else is saying, the multitasking part should be expanded a bit. It does not mention all the swipe gesture goodness that makes the OS X model really shine. In a point-and-click world, yeah Mission Control is not really appealing, but that’s not how you use it. Yeah if you go hovering on your task bar you can see preview of each of your app, one at the time, but I hardly find that an advantage when with one swipe I can see ALL previews of ALL open app in one go!
    It also skip the ability to reply to email from the notification center without leaving your current app, isn’t that ‘multitasking’ ?
    Can’t do that on Win 8.1 … unless you dedicate half your screen to Outlook.

    For the built-in app, except for the paint one, the Windows ones seem to be only WebSite information re-targeted as apps?

    On the window management side of thing, the Windows’ snapping feature is really nice, I use all the time!

  14. Brian Says:

    Troy,

    The average age of a gamer is usually quoted by numerous sources to be over 30, and is projected to become a $70 billion dollar industry within a few years.

    Onto the topic, the “appstore” criteria probably should have been ecosystem. The Windows store is pretty new, but its desktop software has been there for two decades and number into the tens of millions.

  15. Mark Says:

    I don’t think the author understands what multitasking is. I read no further.

  16. Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    Interesting thoughts and comments on multitasking. I actually appreciate the Snap feature as I often compare two windows/documents side by side, but I see your points on Spaces and gestures and how that can aid productivity. I said this in my review of the Mavericks preview but I’d like to see Apple add an iOS 7-style ability to close apps right from the Mission Control view. I have a nasty habit of keeping too many apps open, and that would help.

    To Martin, great point about being able to respond to notifications. That’s actually why I awarded Mavericks that round.

  17. Daniel Says:

    Multitasking for Windows? Three words: Grand Central Dispatch

  18. Jack Says:

    Like most comments here, I would have chosen Mac OSX over Windows 8.1 for multitasking. Especially if you are using an Apple magic mouse. I know use it everyday and i’m so much more productive than on Windows (even by using keyboard shortcuts). Also, I’m a developer on both platforms, and the APIs on Mac OSX for apps in the background are far better than those on Windows.

    For Built-in apps, I would have my preference for MacOSX, but that’s more subjective choice. With iLife, mail, messages, calendar and some useful tools like dictionary, automator, … I can do more than with the built-in apps in Windows 8.1. I think the apps in Windows 8.1 lack some features and sometimes are closer to improved websites than real apps you expect on a computer.

  19. Stuart Thompson Says:

    the snap feature on windows is easily replicated on OS X via an app called Cinch although admittedly not native to the OS, the main reasons why OS X is still better than Windows are :

    1) Reliability and durability, every windows machine I have ever had as had a steep decline in performance whereas my MBA still works as when I got it.
    2) The malware/virus issue, the point of windows being a more attractive target aside, OS X is still more secure just look at the statistics.
    3) iCloud syncing with non OS X/iOS devices just use DropBox.
    4) Hardware quality (again not OS related) still better from Apple.
    5) Great software bundled in with OS X.
    6) You can run windows in OS X via VMware Fusion or the like but not vice versa, so best of both worlds

  20. Stuart Thompson Says:

    Although I do like tiles/widgets, wider business applications such as MS SQL Management Studio and Visual Studio and some element of touch. Though I don’t get the point on desktop but that is another thing.

    And don’t get me started on the lack of of multitasking i.e. two apps open at once and mouse driver on iOS.

    So although i like 90% of what Apple offers at the moment I DO wish they would appease the 10% that I look at Windows 8 and to a lesser extent Android and desire.

    As for the poster who stated linux/chromebooks, have a day off not everybody wants a thin client with no local storage. Although platform again has plus points is not really viable IMO for all.

  21. Ian Says:

    Linux is not an option for me. Any OS were you have to use the terminal as often as it is a big fail. I thought the purpose of having a GUI was to get away from all that.

    I like both windows 8 and OSX. For work I would lean more towards OSX as it gets things done much easier and everything seems to be more streamlined. Windows 8 is improving though but it will take a while yet.

    I like Windows for games as there is nothing to touch it for that kind of thing.

  22. aerosidm Says:

    What abt no of apps? Microsoft can easily win that one. how is mac’s appstore better?
    and i guess this site is full of apple fanboys. at least all those comments prove it

  23. federmasse Says:

    Inaccurate review of both OS based more onpersonal tastes and incomplete descriptions (in some cases misleading). Little focus on deep tecnologies and resources management, fundamental part of an OS.

  24. Terry Says:

    Just like statistics, reviews can be manipulated in any fashion the reviewer wishes, including entire points left out entirely from the review.

    One such missing item is the cost for the many O/S updates. Just like choosing a new car where maintenance over a period of time must be factored in, so must the cost of new O/S versions.

    MS typically charges anywhere from $80 (student) to well over $300 (full) for a new O/S version, while Apple charges $29 for a full installation.

    As this review did weigh the costs for hardware platforms, they should have included overall costs in ownership. After just 1 new O/S update, the playing field is easily leveled.

    Appeasement to fans on either side shouldn’t be a factor in a review, rather, it should cover all of the facts and allow the reader to rate which is best.

  25. BOSS Says:

    No, Windows has terrible multitasking. Even though 8.1 provides more features in multitasking than Mac, Windows multitasking is useless. Mac has the ability to use full screen apps which will work great with Mavericks. Your summary of Multitasking is very confusing ( i agree with sseaton1971 )

  26. Gustav Says:

    “Microsoft extends its lead over OS X with 8.1 by allowing users to run up to four apps on the screen at once”

    Uhm… I can run as many apps on the screen at once as I like in OS X. I have six going right now. And if “snapping” is important to you, there are a couple of utilities for OS X that let you do that.

  27. James Says:

    I vote windows 8.1 in every category, lovin the preview, super sexy gui

  28. selva Says:

    Nice review but i think Mac is the winner of cloud services than windows.

  29. zeal Says:

    The most important thing that windows provide is choice and productivity and affordability..mac is only good for unproductive rich Americans

  30. Michael Says:

    Microsoft are idiots that’s why so many now changen to Mac including me. Some stupid executive decision about a uniformed platform. So the hole business marked has to suffer with tiles hand home stuff..
    Bad decision… very very bad

  31. Johnny Says:

    Im using both system and can tell this, win8.1 is winner. Why? Faster,gamer,always new apps versions. Using Mavericks only for Final cut pro and that is all I need from apple, but vegas pro is nice alternative for windows user. I know many ppl who used win in past 15 years and win is habit, so for them is very hard to cross on osx. I cant say that osx is not good but win 8.1 is 2 steps above.

  32. Jasmer Says:

    Today 10:48 PST

    AAPL 481.67
    MSFT 32.91

    Case Closed

  33. Henry Says:

    If you like to place 2 windows side by side, just go for MOOM! One of the best little Apps and it’s very easy to use.

    The green dot gives you several choices how to scale and place a window on your screen. Love it

  34. *Starman23 Says:

    OS X Mavericks should have dominated in the built-in apps section. You didn’t even mention iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, or Preview. Windows Media Player shouldn’t even be put in the same league as iTunes either. Also, there are other free apps such as Xcode that significantly enhance the value of the built-in apps. Mac should have won by sheer number, even without their apps being a much higher quality. Gargeband or iMovie alone blows way past any app included on a Windows computer.

  35. ZG Says:

    I don’t normally comment on these things but this was such a stupid comment that I have to say something:

    “Today 10:48 PST
    AAPL 481.67
    MSFT 32.91
    Case Closed”

    A stock’s price has absolutely nothing to do with a company’s worth. If a company is worth $1,000,000 and there are 2 shares outstanding each is worth $500,000, but if there are 10 shares outstanding then each share is worth $100,000…do you see how that can be misleading?

    Currently, AAPL is valued at: 469.90B
    MSFT is valued at: $296.8B…yes, AAPL is valued higher but nowhere near 15 times more as you’re thinking here.

    So no, case not fucking closed.

  36. aslam Says:

    i just found out that u can snap windows side by side on mavericks

  37. Sourav Bagchi Says:

    I think you are great fan of Apple.
    Windows 8.1 notification sticks is always better than than OS X notification centre. If you turn off the notification from mail or message app, you can’t get the notification for mail or message.
    And IE 11 is the better browser than Safari.
    I don’t understand why you like those old interface.

  38. Ed@witcher Says:

    You can’t play games in your shitty apple laptop
    my alienware does and it’s running on windows
    all you pay for a shitty machine with no good spacs
    My Spacs:
    gtx780m 4GB of GDDR5 GPU, 16GB RAM and a 3.7ghz Intel Core i7-4800mq processor
    what you have apple folks???????

  39. lee Says:

    This article is complete bullsh@t, you should stop writing reviews or anything really.

    A child could’ve done a better comparison.

  40. awesomeyi Says:

    @dogman
    Saying linux is best OS is akin to saying OSX is the best OS

  41. Rodney Says:

    I have used both and liked mac for its simplicity and Premium features. I also like Windows for the freedom it renders for its users even though many users get confused with this feature. And the truth is Mac builds its own machines and do not compromise on its quality, whereas Windows does not make machines for their OS so companies like dell uses it and compromises quality. I think this is the main reason for people preferring Mac over PC.

  42. crazyfool123 Says:

    STUPIUD

  43. Swag Swaggy Says:

    Wow what a shitty comparison. Built in apps going to Windows 8? What a joke. If you’ve ever used any version of OS X before you’d know that the broad amount of built in apps are a hundred times better than the garbage (if it’s even there) that Microsoft publishes with their latest Windows reskin. Windows 8 beating Mavericks on cloud too? Everything you can do in OS X can be synced to the cloud, most notably the information stored by sandboxed and built in programs. You can sync virtually everything on your Mac into the ‘iCloud’ which is something that I don’t remember Windows 8 being able to do, along with multitasking being given to Windows 8, it’s so much easier to multitask on virtually everything else that’s out there than this pile of shit that M$ has released into the world. I get the feeling that this comparison is slightly rigged for ‘balance’ (aka, we’re so fucking scared of pissing off Microsoft and their fanboys), rather than which would actually win.

  44. Ezeukwu Chukwudi Says:

    Exiting Modern UI search window in Windows 8 is frustrating plus the modern UI volume control gets stuck on the screen

  45. huang Says:

    Why is there no gaming at the verdict? It should be 5-6.

  46. SG Says:

    terrible… he even uses the fact that it was a pre-release build of mavericks to claim hes not getting features the reviewers are commenting about when that isnt the problem. he just does not understand the technology of today.

  47. jpizzo Says:

    Windows 8 definitely doesn’t win in built in apps, is that a joke? That is why people get apples. Apple is also UNIX, meaning people who like linux can easily migrate for it and still develop for linux servers… win! Windows is pretty useless to me for web applications and publishing. Mac for the dev and linux to deploy. Windows gets further and further away from a real OS, though I enjoyed Windows over MAC up until the Vista release, it’s been down hill from there. Win 7 was a vast improvement, win 8 is another vista. I really can’t see any reason to use windows besides initial cost savings, but macs hold their value much longer.

  48. pam Says:

    what would be a decent laptop windows 8. I was told if i got one with a cd burner i would have to buy the software to use it which would cost 150.00 aldo i want to edit pictures
    I dont want to pay alot but want one that runs fast
    thank u

  49. sean brady Says:

    windows dos not need a built in store due to steam.

  50. Devil Says:

    guys are u all retards there is no comparison between the 2 the whole UI of mac of doesn’t make sense and looks just gross while windows gives a more modern feel and better look

    windows also has a wide range of apps and integrates very well for sensible usability but most of u over here are partial for no appearant reason and u will support apple for no matter how shitty products they sell

  51. Satish Singh Says:

    You agree or not, people at Microsoft are too good at design. Each and every updates coming from Microsoft gives us something new, trendy and stylist which others eventually follow. Windows is full fledged user friendly OS. So please dont compare OS X with it. Rather compare OS X with LINUX.

  52. Satish Singh Says:

    LIVE tile is a revolutionary concept which will only improve in future. If APPLE doesn’t incorporate LIVE tiles, it will soon become a thing of the past.
    People like Mark Spoonauer find it hard to switch to the new metro interface because they just cannot understand the vision behind LIVE tiles.
    After all IT REQUIRES THE EYES OF NEWTON TO SEE SOMETHING IN FALLING APPLES.

  53. angelb123 Says:

    this is misleading,the built in apps in osx are way more powerful than those on window, and the multitasking is way better on the mac with a better UI. What is this?!, hardware options…what about the pc killer, the mac pro?

  54. Jonas Beringhoff Says:

    i have been using Mac OS X since 2009 when I got my white macbook that I am still using as i am writing here. In my opinion, Mac OS is quite an easy to use OS but when it comes to performance its not on par with other modern operating systems such as windows 8.1 or Linux Ubuntu 14.04 anymore. Especially Windows that i am using on my main computer has improved much over the last years in that point. It just feels more responsive than Mac OS. And I am not alone with my opinions : There a lot of benchmarks out there that proof, Mac OS X is slower than Windows when performing certain tasks. The argument that Mac OS X would stay fast over time other than windows is from what I can tell simply not true, maybe that was the case before i got my macbook but from 2009 till 2012 when I used my Macbook without reinstalling, it became dramatically slower: Not only booting took more time, even opening the safari browser was incredibly slow, i couldn’t even use that macbook for normal tasks anymore. And actually, i have got the feeling, that Apple doesn’t put that much effort in their desktop OS anymore. Since OS X Leopard there were just a few major changes of the system, the greatest of which were optical changes, not feature changes. I still miss the possibility to snap a window to one side without having to arrange the window manually or simply the possibility to easily cut files , just as some little examples

  55. Fridsun Says:

    @Jonas
    Is your main machine the same year as your MacBook? OS cannot be magically fast if the hardware is not capable. Equalize hardware spec before any software comparison is the basic.

  56. John Says:

    @Fridsun
    On my late 2009 iMac I run Mavericks and Windows 8.1, booting on either when the task at hand requires it. Mavericks is ridiculously unresponsive, while Windows 8.1 runs as if this was the beast of a machine it used to be.

    You can often read on forums that you should get more RAM, get a better iMac, get this or that tweak… But if at the end of the day Windows can utilize my iMac better than OS X, what gives?

    Apple’s OS is full of deprecated frameworks and transitioning technologies that 3rd parties resist to abandon, and Apple, instead of being backwards compatible, push the issue harder and harder until third parties have no choice but to move on. In the meantime users are plagued by under-performing code and compatibility issues. I just don’t need to put up with this just as I didn’t have to put up with Windows’ bull back in the day when Macs just worked. And worked better.

    @Jonas
    I’m glad someone has been noticing this as well. Apple seems to not care anymore about making the sleek, sexy, software they used to. I’ve been looking at the issue more objectively as of late, and Mac OS X is no longer the best choice out there. For anything your Linux can’t do, you should use Windows, at least until Apple get their act together again.

  57. Adam Says:

    OK I stopped reading at the multitasking bit. Way off kilter here. OSX absoltely STOMPS 8.1 in multitasking. Cammand tab (and back scroll functionality with command + ~) has always been incredibly useful as it shows APPS not WINDOWS open. I hate that! And hovering over the windows allows you to scroll without having to CLICK to bring focus to it as in Windows. Please. This comparison is either biased or clueless or both.

  58. Adam Says:

    *Command (typo)

  59. Keiswurscht Says:

    I disagree with the conclusion about the Multitasking part. Multitasking has nothing to do with running two applications in a split screen layout. OS X Mavericks supports multitasking just as much as Windows 8.1 does, because even on Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows on one screen if you are using the operating system in desktop mode. In my opinion, there isn’t really one of both operating systems that can handle multitasking any better than the other, because if you consider the split screen layout on Windows 8.1 a reason to say that it’s better in ‘multitasking’, you might also consider the ability to quickly switch between full screen apps that are running in the background simultaneously with a swipe of two fingers on your trackpad one aswell, because even on OS X Mavericks you can set up two (and even more) windows side by side just as easily as you can on Windows 8.1…

  60. Addy Says:

    Hey regarding the app stores , which has more number of apps ?? Windows 8.1 or the CrApple Store??

  61. Sib Says:

    you said ”You can’t even snap two windows side by side on OS X Maverick” this is wrong you actually can do this and you can open more then 2 get your shit right.

  62. Temitope Says:

    If you have not gone to school I wouldn’t know what you will have become, even despite that you are still not as smart as you look. When it comes to web browsing must I use safari or internet explorer? Sharing of course windows should win as many apps are available. Don’t always talk about native apps when you are talking about the OS. If you are talking about apps that would have been a different ball game.

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