Choosing between operating systems is not a new problem - it has been around for decades. But recent incarnations of both software and hardware offer some new options for consumers.
Windows and Mac have been in active development for decades, and if you want a usability experience, then both are fine.
Chrome OS, a Linux-based system developed by Google, is still more an anomaly than an established system. It is based on Google's Chrome browser, with the same interface and web-based design. The system is unlikely to be suitable for the average user, but Google has been steadily improving it over the past few years.
Microsoft Windows 10 holds about 90% of the desktop and laptop market worldwide.
You can get a Windows device of almost any size, shape, or price range. Microsoft even sells Windows itself, so consumers and businesses can manually load the system onto their hardware. This open approach has allowed the company to outperform all competitors over the past few decades.
Due to its affordability and longevity in the world, Windows also boasts the largest software library on the planet. If you want the most complete set of features, Windows is made for you.
The company is now making a huge bet on the Windows 10 app platform called the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which is designed to build efficient, secure, and usable apps that can also run on iOS and Android mobile platforms.
Works with everything
Windows boasts compatibility with the most extensive set of hardware. This is essential if you want to play graphically rich video games or work with powerful media, video editing, or computer design software. ChromeOS doesn't have any systems capable of running heavy programs, and MacOS only recently got ultra-powerful, modern hardware in the iMac Pro.
In addition, the price point is also on the Windows side. The system runs desktops and traditional laptops that are more powerful and higher quality than ever, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars for entry-level options, all the way up to thousands for premium machines.
The 2-in-1 market is arguably the most intriguing development, giving users access to a multitude of versatile devices that can go from laptops to tablets with touch screens and pen. These devices are also equipped with Windows 10.
Although most connectors are universal, since the introduction of the USB standard, Windows still technically boasts more compatibility with third-party devices. Almost any mouse, keyboard, webcam, drive, printer, scanner, microphone, monitor, or other device that you want to attach to your computer will work with Windows, which is not always the case for Macs, much less Chrome OS.
Windows also continually receives generic and updated drivers, some of which are provided by Microsoft or developed by the hardware manufacturers themselves.
Is Windows right for you?
Windows is in a better position than it was just a few years ago. The newest version, Windows 10, is more elegant and intuitive than previous versions and receives frequent updates.
The problem of complexity remains. You will likely run into more bugs with Windows than with your competitors. But these errors are rarely fatal and easily remedied.
One of the most common Apple advertisements for Mac computers and their software is "They just work." This philosophy applies more or less to everything the company sells, including laptops, desktops, and related macOS software. Formerly called OS X, macOS is installed on all Apple computers, and buying an Apple machine is the only legal way to access it.
MacOS is designed to work with a relatively small and controllable variety of computer models compared to the millions of possible combinations for Windows. This allows Apple to conduct more intensive quality testing of its products, optimize software for only a few computers, and provide targeted services that can diagnose and fix problems with much greater speed and accuracy than Windows. For users who want their computer to “just work,” macOS is an attractive proposition.
It just works
The operating system itself is as easy to use as possible. New users often find the MacOS interface more intuitive than Windows 10. However, it can take some time to adapt to the system interface, and some important features, such as FileExplorer MacOS, are not easy to understand.
Although the market for macOS software is not as wide as that of Windows, this is sufficient for most purposes. Apple has developed a suite of proprietary programs for basic tasks, and the most popular third-party software, such as the Chrome browser, is available on macOS. Microsoft is even releasing a version of its Office suite for Apple hardware. Unsurprisingly, macOS is a popular choice for multimedia production, and many art-oriented applications are only available on the Mac, including Apple's Final Cut Pro video editing suite.
However, macOS is at a disadvantage for gamers, as most new games are not available on the platform. Therefore, Apple developed Bootcamp. This utility helps users prepare any Mac to run Windows and provides access to most Microsoft applications and system capabilities. This requires a separate Windows 10 purchase license, although Bootcamp can run other operating systems for free, such as Linux. (Windows machines can also boot Linux and other third-party operating systems, but MacOS cannot be licensed for use on non-Apple hardware.)
Macs can also run Windows concurrently with macOS through virtualization tools such as Parallels or VMWare, offering more flexibility for those who like to use MacOS but need access to certain Windows software.
Is macOS right for you?
Apple's ideal concept makes its software relatively affordable for newbies. It's also a great choice for people who love to use Apple mobile products.
However, Mac systems are expensive and often don't offer the same functionality that Windows does.
Interesting is Google's approach to the world of desktop hardware. ChromeOS was originally designed as an operating system that relied heavily on always having access to the Internet - which made sense since the system was designed as a desktop extension to the Chrome browser. Chrome OS hardware, commonly referred to as "Chromebooks" for laptops and sometimes "Chromeboxes" for desktops, was intended for users who rely primarily on the Internet and only rarely use more sophisticated software.
The direction of development of the system is slowly changing. For example, Google has integrated a file manager into its Chrome OS, and the addition of Android app support significantly expands the OS's offline capabilities. But Chrome OS is still a leaner environment than Windows and MacOS.
This is the web world
Since Chrome OS revolves around its browser, it is the simplest of the three major operating systems on the market. Some users even call the system a "browser in a box". While Chrome OS includes some basic desktop tools like a file manager and photo viewer, it focuses on content on the web.
The system interface is designed for quick and easy user access to the "World Wide Web". Anyone who uses the Chrome browser on a Windows or MacOS machine knows how comfortable it is to work in it, and all saved histories, bookmarks and extensions are synchronized.
Chrome extensions and applications can change the system interface and add additional functionality, but they lack the more advanced options from Windows and MacOS. That is why the system has implemented Android compatibility, providing millions of new applications that significantly expand the capabilities of Chrome OS.
Since Google designed the system to run on Chrome, it relies more on Google's tools than Windows, which relies on Microsoft software, and MacOS, which relies on Apple software.
Is Chrome OS right for you?
Initially, Chrome OS had little to no support for external software compatibility, although of course Google is changing that dynamic by offering Android-based access to the Play Store. Chromebooks won't work with advanced devices like USB monitors or complex gaming equipment. Google just doesn't provide drivers. The system can work with mainstream keyboards, mice, USB drives and Bluetooth devices, but that's about it.
As for the game part of the system, here the issue is resolved quite specifically. “While you won't be able to take advantage of the massive gaming experience available on Windows, and much less so on macOS, there are at least hundreds of thousands of Android games that should work well on newer Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. This is a significant improvement that will be enough for many users of this system.
In short, Chrome OS is a system designed for spending time on the world wide web. If you are a Windows or Mac user, and often find yourself thinking that the browser is the only application you use, then look at Chrome OS. But the almost complete absence of software for third-party developers spoils the impression of the system. Many people rely on a computer for more complex tasks.
Chrome OS's simplicity and consistency is good for users whose computer needs are limited to the Internet. The low cost of the operating system is attractive to anyone with any budget. However, users who require more complex software or more complex problems should look elsewhere for these capabilities.
The Topic of Article: Which platform to choose in 2018: Mac, Windows, or maybe Chrome OS?.