Head to Head: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion vs Windows 7

The eternal question: which is better, Windows or Mac OS? With the release of a new Mac OS, 10.7 Lion, David Ludlow takes another look at this age-old debate.

Task Switching

That said, for the most part OS X Lion doesn't require its window management to be as good as in Windows, as its task switching is far superior. With Mission Control (the replacement for Expose) you can quickly zoom out and view all of your open applications and windows, quickly switching between them. It makes Windows 7's antiquated task switching or poor Flip 3D look antiquated in comparison. We find it a little strange that Apple turns off Lion's App Expos switching by default, which lets you view just the windows belonging to the application you're currently using. It's easy enough to turn on and is brilliant, for example, for switching between two spreadsheets quickly.

Mission Control lets you switch between tasks easily.

Mission Control lets you switch between tasks easily.

OS X Lion's task switching comes into its own when you've got a touchpad, either on a laptop or on the desktop using the Magic Trackpad. Using multi-touch gestures you can access Mission Control, switch between full-screen applications and scroll without having to touch a scroll bar or reach for the keyboard. Once you get used to this, using a Windows 7 laptop where you don't have these features suddenly feels very old fashioned.

For Lion, Apple has changed the way that the Dashboard works. Rather than a screen overlay, Dashboard now sits as its own special full-screen application although you can revert to the overlay mode if you wish. It lets you add new widgets, such as for checking flight details and a calculator. It's a similar idea to Windows 7's Gadgets, although by housing them on a single screen, Apple's implementation looks a little neater. In practice, both systems are as easy to use - in Windows 7 pressing Windows+G brings all Gadgets to the foreground.

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