So you just bought a MacBook? That’s nothing new if you’ve been in the Apple family for a while now. But if you’re a Windows-convert, you’re probably missing all the bells and whistles that you’ve grown used to in the Microsoft camp. Now, what if I told you that you could have the best of both worlds? Or if you’re from the opposing turf, why should you even consider bringing Windows in?
Virtualising Windows on a Mac is nothing new. For newbies, this means running Windows and its applications on your Mac without having to reboot it. Primarily, this allows the user to use Windows and its applications (and yes, that includes games too!), as if they were native to your Mac.
You probably scoffed when we mentioned running Windows games through virtualisation, because of how laughably laggy most people would expect their games to turn out on their Mac devices. But with Parallels Desktop 15 for Mac now using Apple’s Metal API technology to implement Microsoft’s DirectX 11, gaming on the Mac has certainly received some upgrades!
With Parallels Desktop 15, 3D graphics rendering has sped up by as much as 15%, which definitely helps games like Overwatch and Fallout 4 become a little more bearable. While Parallels can’t turn your MacBook into a dedicated gaming rig, it now allows you to pair Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices – including your Xbox One Controller to let you play games your way!
If you’re looking at enhancing productivity, Parallels Desktop 15 can now utilise macOS Catalina with some new tricks, including an improved Sidecar support!
Sidecar is a new feature in macOS Catalina that enables you to use an iPad as a second screen. More importantly, this means you can move Windows over to a compatible iPad, and even use an Apple Pencil with it. Ever wanted to experience how using a Microsoft Surface with the Microsoft Pen would feel? Well, you can now! This would also make digitally signing or sketching on your Windows apps a little more seamless.
There’s a lot of new, little tweaks with Parallels Desktop 15, like being able to drag images straight into Windows from stock Mac apps like Safari and Photos. But where Parallels shines is in the mundane that you don’t think about until you encounter the problem head-on. Ever had a thumb drive or external hard drive that your Mac couldn’t put (write) files to? Odds are, you’re using an “NTFS-formatted” device, which your handy Windows 10 in Parallels can read and write from with ease! Gone are the days of trying to ask a friend for another thumb drive, or fumbling over which cloud service you’ll use to transfer files over instead!
Parallels 15 will set you back about US$79.99 (about S$111) as a one-off purchase, which means you’ll need to pay again to upgrade to future versions (but at least at a discounted price). Alternatively, you can choose the other option of an annual ‘Pro’ subscription, which includes all ongoing updates, and a bundle of other handy tools like Parallels Toolbox and Parallels Access. There are even some great discounts if you’re a student! Of course, if you’re entirely new to Parallels, you can give the 14-day free trial a spin first too.
Oh, and don’t forget that Windows is not included with your Parallels Desktop purchase, and that means you’ll have to pay for your copy of Windows 10 too! While Parallels makes it easy to purchase Microsoft’s operating system together, a copy of Windows 10 Home will cost an additional US$139 (unless you’re able to get a free copy through your university program or enterprise benefits).
With all things considered, Parallels isn’t the cheapest option, but we’re pretty set that it’s still the best way to run Windows on a Mac. Well, if you have the budget, academic discounts, or enterprise benefits in your favour.
So, is it worth it? If you need to run Windows or Windows apps on your Mac, and to keep your productivity and adaptability top-notch; the answer is yes. In fact, we’re sure our power-user friends might have even more complex case studies that challenge the mixing of Windows and macOS, but that’s a story for another time.
All editions of Parallels Desktop 15 for Mac (Standard, Pro Edition and Business Edition) are available now for purchase. Prices start at US$79.99 for a new license, and US$49.99 for an upgrade. For more information, visit https://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/.
Visuals courtesy of Parallels Inc.