Windows 8 vs. Mountain Lion OS X 10.8.3 – a quick comparison

Today I thought to make a quick comparison blog post of the two systems, Windows 8 and Mac Lion OS X 10.8.3 in regards to their design, features, ease of use and the flexibility they each give in terms of the different devices which work best with them.

While this kind of comparison won’t be so useful if you’ve already got either a PC product or a Mac (and you’re a faithful user of one or the other), your preference between Windows 8 and Mountain Lion could mean all the difference when you’re about to make a new purchase and decide to take the plunge and switch between a Windows or Mac operating system. Have a look at our run down of the main differences between Windows 8 and Mountain Lion (the latest being version 10.8.3).


If you haven’t seen Windows 8 in person, you will have no doubt at least seen the screenshots. The design and appearance of Windows 8 has been updated significantly – in fact it’s barely even recognisable from all of its forebears, marking a seriously bold move on Microsoft’s part. The Windows 8 ‘start’ page has taken on a bright, colourful tile-based appearance, with different tiles constantly flicking over and changing to reveal the latest trending news items, weather forecasts or social media updates. Some users have reported this constant motion in the background to be rather distracting and overwhelming, particularly if you’re reading a document or performing another task that requires concentration. Although it takes getting used to, personally we like the minimalist new user interface of Windows 8 and the large icons which help us keep up to date with everything going on in our lives from one easy place. Mountain Lion on the other hand has retained Mac’s signature windowing operating system, with a dock along the bottom of the desktop where you can add shortcut icons to your most frequently accessed programs and files – so there have been no real bold changes in design from the previous OS X, Snow Leopard.

Ease of use

Many users tout the ‘intuitiveness’ of the Mac operating system, but for most tech-savvy users, it’s not so difficult getting used to a new operating system within a matter of days (or hours, if you’re particularly switched on). One great advantage Windows 8 has for those who frequently share content online is the ‘swipe to share’ feature, which allows users to simply swipe in from the right and tap or click ‘Share’ to immediately send the photo, cat video or funny article in an email or post it to Facebook. There are also a number of companies which have started manufacturing exciting products and features which are intended to be used with Windows 8, and make using it even easier. The most exciting one we’ve seen so far? This Leap Motion device, which could potentially (it’s still in demo phase at the moment) allow users to operate Windows 8 without even having to touch the screen.

Device options

One area where we think Windows 8 really falls short behind Mountain Lion is that it really is intended to be used on a touchscreen device – which is bad news if you prefer non-touchscreen devices. While you can technically still use Windows 8 on a non-touchscreen device, let’s put it this way – “terrible” and “clunky” are just some of the adjective that keep resurfacing over and over in user reviews of Windows 8 being used with a traditional mouse (or trackpad) and pointer. However, Windows 8 on a touchscreen device is much easier than using previous versions of Windows on a touchscreen (ever tried to tap a near-microscopic ‘Start’ button in the very corner of the screen with your finger?). Mountain Lion on the other hand is used with all non-mobile Apple devices – so basically, everything other than an iPhone or iPad – so there’s no touchscreen functionality. With Apple, you’re limited to either a Macbook, Pro, Air, or iMac, which simplifies your decision significantly when you’re purchasing a new product. At the same time, the options when it comes to how much memory, screen resolution and processing power you need are still varied enough to keep most users happy.

The verdict?

Ultimately, remember that Windows 8 is still an almost entirely new software which will see vast improvements with future updates being released. Mountain Lion, on the other hand, has been around for longer and developers have had more of a chance to streamline it and bring it up to speed with user demands.

What’s your verdict on the Windows vs. Mountain Lion debate? Is it a fair comparison? What are some of the many other main differences we haven’t mentioned here?