Windows, Apple or Chrome – what’s right for you?
Different laptops run different operating systems – and each one has its own benefits. Choosing the right one is key to getting the right laptop…
What’s an operating system?
An operating system, or OS, is a piece of software that’s preloaded onto your laptop. It manages its software and hardware. Apple OS X, Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome are the 3 to choose from.
Apple macOS (formerly OS X)
MacBooks run the macOS operating system – previously known as OS X. Apple designs the OS as well as the laptops, and because the same people design both the hardware and software everything fits together seamlessly.
macOS is easy to understand and use. Whether you’re writing an essay for school or uni, editing photos in Photoshop or browsing the web.
Though Apple laptops are sometimes associated with creative professionals there’s a MacBook for everyone.
Have an iPhone or iPad? Your MacBook is connected to your other Apple devices. Update a calendar or contact on one and see it on the other. Download an album in Apple Music once and it’s available on all your Apple devices. MacOS Sierra is the latest version. It was made available as a free update in September 2016.
Best bits of macOS Sierra
- Write essays and reports in Pages, work in spreadsheets in Numbers. Prefer Word? Get Office for Mac instead
- Siri personal assistant on your Mac as well as your iPhone. Search for files, add meetings and send messages using your voice
- Copy and paste paragraphs of text, and images and video from your MacBook to your iPad or iPhone with the Universal Clipboard
- Open files saved to your MacBook desktop on all your Apple devices, and pick-up exactly where you left off
- Record guitar jams in GarageBand or edit films in iMovie with powerful, built-in creative apps
- Swipe and scroll with your fingers on the multi-touch trackpad – ditch the mouse for simple gestures
- Watch video while working with split-screen apps that float video from the web or iTunes over the top of your essay or research
- Organise your memories with technology that recognises photos based on who is in them and where they were taken
There’s a MacBook for everyone, from designers and creatives to students and businesspeople.
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook. You’re probably familiar with Microsoft Windows from school or from work.
Windows can be found on laptops made by HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS, Sony, Toshiba and more. So why break from tradition now?
Particularly when the latest version – Windows 10 – has been redesigned for tablets and phones as well as laptops to give you the same experience across devices.
Windows 10 blends touchscreen controls with traditional features like the Start menu. For working in Word and Excel and finding files and programs on your desktop, it’s familiar like earlier versions of Windows.
But there are innovative new features making it easier to use the web, find your way around your laptop and get stuff done.
Best bits of Windows
- Free Word, Excel and PowerPoint web apps, and Windows gets the best from Office 365 software
- Switch easily between touchscreen and mouse-and-keyboard controls on 2 in 1 laptops that also function as tablets
- Start menu in the bottom-left corner of your desktop delivers the familiar Windows experience you’ve always known
- But new Live Tiles display latest calendar and social media updates to make the Start menu smarter and more personal to you
- Write notes directly onto a webpage using the Edge web browser and share with friends and colleagues - perfect for research and revision
- Sketch and take notes with a stylus pen and Windows Ink on touchscreen laptops and tablets
- Get your next appointment or search for a file with your voice with the built-in Cortana voice assistant
- Read online articles free of adverts, banners and other distractions with the simple reading mode
What Windows laptop?
The Surface Book is powerful laptop with a sharp screen that can be detached and used as a tablet. Run the most demanding creative software smoothly with its Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB RAM.
It comes with the Surface Pen to get the best from touchscreen-friendly features, such as annotating webpages and working in Adobe design software.
The Chromebook is a new type of laptop built for those who spend most of their time online. It’s powered by Chrome OS. Chrome OS is an operating system like Windows or OS X but it has some key differences. Rather than storing programs on your laptop, it works with apps that live online – in the cloud. You can’t run Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop on a Chromebook.
But Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube and Google Docs are all built-in. Instead of saving files direct to your laptop, you save it online to Google Drive.
Best bits of Chrome
- Automatic updates for security and software updates when you switch on your Chromebook
- Write essays and work in spreadsheets with the free web-based apps - Google Docs and Sheets
- Work together from different laptops and locations and see the changes as they’re typing – perfect for university projects
- Save money with a Chromebook, with less powerful components they cost less than Windows or Apple laptop.
- Get Android Apps on your Chromebook with access to the Google Play Store - Office for Android and Skype
- Get started in seconds with the fast boot times of a Chromebook. No more twiddling your thumbs
- Get your stuff anywhere – because your files are saved online in Google you can get them from any computer, anywhere
The Acer Chromebook comes in a stylish aluminium finish. It’s ultra-portable thanks to the thin, lightweight design, but doesn’t compromise on power – with up to 12 hours battery life.
Now you know the operating system you want, find the laptop you want.