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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Laptop magazine gives Lion the thumbs-up over Windows 7

This week, Laptop compared OS X Lion versus Windows 7 to determine which operating system was "better," both overall and in individual features. OS X Lion took Laptop's top overall score, mostly on the strength of Lion's better interface, Multi-Touch gestures, Spotlight, iLife, and Time Machine. Lion's parental controls also got the nod for being slightly broader in scope than those offered in Windows 7, and Lion was also hailed as a more secure OS than Windows -- not for the usual "security by obscurity" reasons that such studies usually like to hammer to death, but for real improvements in the more secure way Lion handles applications.
Windows 7 offered a better multitasking experience for Laptop's money; the magazine considered Mission Control a decent but "confusing" interface in Lion. Windows 7 also took the crown for a better gaming experience -- I don't think anyone will be surprised by that -- and the magazine also considered Internet Explorer a better native browser than Safari. I'll be honest, I hate Internet Explorer more than I'm comfortable describing fully in a "family-friendly" format; however, as long as I'm being honest I'll also say that aside from iTunes, Safari feels like the part of OS X that still needs the most work. Apple's added some gee-whiz features like Reader to its browser, but in terms of overall functionality (and stability) Safari doesn't feel like it's changed much in the past couple years. Unless you're counting the nasty new memory leakintroduced with Safari 5.1, that is, or the tab-reloading oddness that's causing issues.
The one portion of Laptop's rankings that I strongly disagree with is the magazine awarding Windows 7 higher marks for value than OS X Lion. The main reason I disagree with their analysis is that they don't actually compare Lion to Windows; instead, they compare Macs to PCs. While it's generally true that Mac hardware is more expensive than "equivalent" PC hardware, if you're going to make an apples-to-apples comparison you need to compare the operating systems themselves and not the hardware they run on. And as we've pointed out in the past, in terms of value for money OS X Lion blows all versions of Windows 7 away.
Naturally, since the magazine put Lion on top it's being roundly accused of a pro-Apple bias by Windows fans who can't seem to accept that Apple does indeed manage to do some things better than Microsoft. But with the sole exception of the "value" category, I'd say Laptop's comparison was fairly even-handed overall. I'll reluctantly admit that Windows is still better at some things than OS X, but just as Laptop claims, I maintain OS X Lion is the better choice overall.


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