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Going Back After Using a Mac

Eric Christiansen

3 min read

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Mac or Windows for the Work Place?

For about the past three years, I’ve been exclusively using a Mac for work. I’ve been posting on this blog about my experiences using it and other OS X devices for work. The main reason I did this was to have some experience using, supporting, and managing Apple computers to better help my clients, as we are seeing more and more people using Macs in the work place.  After three years, I’m calling it quits. Here’s why.

A Three-Year Experiment With OS X

It came down to the applications. While I like Apple’s OS X better than Windows 10, there are certain applications that I am forced to use for work. Some, like Microsoft Outlook and Word, have OS X versions. I found, however, that they don’t work nearly as well as the native Windows versions. I will give Microsoft credit though: Outlook 2016 for Mac is almost there.

Then there are the applications I use for my job that don’t have OS X versions. For these, I was forced to use virtualization.  I switched between VMware Fusion and Parallels to run a virtual Windows machine on my Mac. This was OK for most apps, but it wasn’t as slick as running a native application and it also affected my computer’s performance and battery life.  Skype for Business, which we use extensively (IM, voice, meetings and video), proved to be the most problematic. I was fighting with audio and video problems constantly. By the end of my Mac experiment, I was running Skype for Business Preview, which, though it was much improved over the Lync 2011 client, was still lagging.

Before I gave up on the Apple hardware, I gave up on the Apple software. I decided to just wipe off OS X and install Windows 10 natively on the MacBook Pro. This worked well, with the exception of some driver issues. Once I gave up on OS X, I started thinking. Why was I still using Apple hardware? Apple still doesn’t have a touch screen laptop (though that may change very soon).  A few years ago, Apple hardware was far superior than any Windows based hardware. Now, not so much.

Switching (Back) to Windows

SurfacebookMicrosoft Surface Book. With the right background, it almost looks like a MacBook Pro.

A Microsoft Surface Book became available at the office and I decided to give it a shot.  Microsoft constantly compares the Book to the 13″ MacBook Pro, which I had been using. After some initial hiccups (I had to have it swapped out because the touch screen wouldn’t work), I’m working much more smoothly than I ever did with a Mac.

It’s no surprise that running native Windows applications on Windows gave me a better experience but I’ve also come to like the hardware.  There were all sorts of things I didn’t get on the Mac.  The facial recognition login with Windows Hello and handwriting input. Let’s not forget the detachable tablet. With the keyboard removed, it’s like an iPad Pro that I can actually use for work and not just an overpriced Netflix viewer for weekends.

Finally, we have a busines- level warranty with the Surface Book.  If I had a problem with my Mac, I had to take it to an Apple store.  If I dropped it and broke it, forget it.  When the touchscreen didn’t work on the Surface Book, Microsoft overnighted a replacement Surface Book before I even mailed back the defective unit so that I was never without a computer.

Overall, I’m very happy with my choice.  While I do miss some aspects of OS X, the increased productivity I get by being able to run my work applications natively far outweighs the little things like being able to use iMessage from my laptop.