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Opinion: Why Windows 10 is luring me back from OS X


PCHF Tech News
Jan 10, 2015

I'd bet the change in my pocket that there's a few confused OS X users out there today. Easy to spot, they're the ones walking around in a daze, muttering something about Minecraft, holograms and some girl they'd dreamt about last night called Cortana. I should know: I'm one of them.

Last night, Microsoft revealed Windows 10's best bits, and while no single new feature alone is enough to reel me back in, piecing together its seemingly disparate elements reveals an OS that marries convenience, productivity and entertainment into a single free, tantalising package.

For the first time since swapping a Windows 7 gaming PC for a 27-inch iMac running Snow Leopard back in 2010, I'm considering returning to the platform I used (and mostly loved) for 15 years. Here's why.

Windows 10 has universal appeal

I'm seriously excited about Windows 10's universal apps, which let you change between devices without losing your place in apps. I'm a serial device user; a hoarder who's happiest when chopping and changing between desktops, tablets, 2-in-1s and smartphones, so having a consistent experience across devices when working on documents is a big plus.


Sure, Continuity provides similar functionality between iOS devices and Macs running OS X Yosemite, but I'm a happy Galaxy Note 3 user and don't plan on making the switch to an iPhone.

As TechRadar Associate Editor Kevin Lee notes, Microsoft has made its Office apps available for free on non-Windows 10 devices -- including Android -- meaning I can take advantage of universal apps without buying a new smartphone. This is Microsoft's cross-platform mobile strategy at work, and it's sucking me right in.

Windows 10 will let me get my game on

I haven't completely abandoned Windows in the past five years: a solitary Windows 8.1 Boot Camp installation has existed on my Retina MacBook Pro throughout, and it's been excellent for having blasts of anything from Team Fortress 2 to Skyrim. But it's left me wanting more.

A switch to a Windows 10 laptop means that I wouldn't have to repeatedly log out of OS X, restart the machine, hold down alt and boot into Windows before launching a game -- it would be seamless just like in the old days.


Additionally, Windows 10 would allow me to take advantage of DirectX12, which ships with the OS. I'm more likely to pick up a thin-and-light laptop with integrated graphics than a portable frag tank, so I'm hoping that the improved performance DirectX 12 is said to bring to Intel's integrated HD Graphics solutions will make gaming on the go with modest graphical grunt a viable option.

Oh, and then there's the little matter of cloud-enabled cross-platform multiplayer gaming between the Xbox One and Windows 10. I've been waiting for an excuse to pick up Microsoft's console, and I'm struggling to think of anything more convincing.

Windows 10 means I can switch back to attractive hardware

While Apple continues to work on its long overdue Retina MacBook Air, a fleet of Intel Broadwell-equipped Windows laptops have shimmied into view -- including the Lenovo LaVie Z and Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 -- and they're becoming hard to ignore.

Sticking with OS X is increasingly feeling like being tied to a banged-up three wheeler when four Lamborghinis are parked in the garage. (Disclaimer: the Retina MacBook Pro is a beautiful machine, but it's feeling heavier every day.)


Moreover, Windows 10 makes the prospect of switching to a new 2-in-1 particularly alluring thanks to its new Continuum feature, which automatically resizes apps to make them full screen when you switch into tablet mode by removing the device's keyboard. I don't currently own a tablet, and picking up something like a Surface Pro 3 loaded with Windows 10 has just gained heaps of appeal.

Windows 10 has OS X-like features

My desire to switch to Windows 10 is less about dissatisfaction with OS X and more about the possibilities of what I could do with Microsoft's new operating system, so I have no qualms about it sneaking in some distinctly OS X-like features.

I've always been a big fan of OS X features like Spaces (and later Mission Control), so Windows 10's equivalent feature, Task View, should go some way to making me feel at ease with organising open windows and working with virtual desktops.


Some of Windows 10's other new features aren't a million miles away from OS X either -- from its Spotlight-resembling Search function embedded in the Taskbar to the new Notification System. Windows 10 even trumps OS X in some areas -- such as the ability to natively snap windows to the sides and corners of the screen -- something that OS X users need a third-party app for.



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