Now for my required “Mac centric” part of my review:
Right off the bat, I will say that over all, the Mac is the better platform. It’s a more secure system, more stable and generally put together with more care toward those ends than Windows.
Anybody who says that “Power Users” need Windows really doesn’t know much about operating systems. Sorry, but it’s true.
However, that said if you want to feel like a power user then Windows 7 is the way to do it. Yes, it’s very customizable with its built in and downloadable themes. If you want to try to edit the registry, you can do that as well, altering functionality and making the OS feel more personalized.
Mac does two things very important things very well: They create an easy to use OS that pretty much anybody can sit down and use and they give true power users the ability to delve into the real guts of the OS with a terminal and UNIX commands. Both OS X and OS X Server are fully Unix Compliant, which is very important on a server. Since the OS sits on top of a UNIX kernel, you can use command line tools to setup services or you can use the GUI.
Also, ask any IT professional (who isn’t trying to convince the higher-ups to buy more PCs so they can keep their jobs) and they will tell you that Mac OS kicks the ass out of Windows.
That said, I am very pleased with Windows 7. There are the little annoyances that continue to pop up. The inability to tell Windows to STOP asking every time you open a particular application or control panel. You have to change your Security Settings over all instead of just saying “Don’t ask for THIS application.”
The OS is very responsive and reacts quickly, a nice change from Vista’s sometimes sporadic performance on the same system.
Regarding the task bar, I have decided that most of the time, I prefer it over the Mac Dock, however there are moments when it gets annoying. Just because I’m hovering over the application icon doesn’t mean I want a list of all the open windows in the app popping up in thumbnail view. It would be a much better feature if that was a secondary click option.
Not a Windows issue, but Outlook’s inability to import a .vcf file with multiple contacts is rather frustrating. I had to import the contacts one at a time into “Windows Contacts” and then import them all into Outlook. Considering how well most of Outlook is put together, I would expect them to be able to recognize multiple contacts in a single .vcf file. It’s a touch annoying.
But back to Windows.
Like I said, it’s snappy, responsive and… huge! It weighs in around 17gigs with no other software installed on my system, wherein my Mac OS X 10.6 base install is about 6gigs.
I’m not going to lie, I like the look and feel of Windows 7 and there are some aspects of it that I prefer over the Mac, but overall I still say that the Mac wins.
This does not mean that I will stop using Windows 7 from time to time. Windows 7 has a great feel to it and I like the audible feedback you get from various actions and Windows Button/Tab ability to flip through windows is far better than the alt/tab version (or Apple’s Command/Tab).
My last major complaint is the fact that Microsoft charges you huge amounts of money with various “versions” of their software suite, while Mac charges one price ($129) for a fully functional, non-hamstringed OS and offers their Server software with unlimited clients at just $499.
So those are my thoughts. Mac is still superior, but Windows 7 has come a long way from XP (and billions of miles from Vista). While it’s nice to see that they have realized they really do have to start putting quality into their OS and not just their office suite, they still fall short in very important ways – one of the biggest being ease of use in networking.