Review: New Parallels, Fusion virtual desktops for OS X fail the smell test

Parallels has interesting ideas that only half work, and Fusion adds almost nothing new beyond better hardware support

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What you should get: Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion?
I suspect few people buy new copies of Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion these days (they're $80 each, by the way). Most users have probably been using one or the other for a while and are trying to decide whether to upgrade. I wouldn't pay money for VMware Fusion 6, and I would buy Parallels Desktop 9 only if I were using Windows 8 a lot. Most users can stick with what they already have.

If you're new to virtualization on the Mac, get Parallels Desktop 9. Although both Fusion and Parallels will run Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP without issue, as well as OS X Lion and later and the popular Linux distros, it's clear that Parallels is more invested in its product and is offering more Mac-like usability and clever features.

However, Parallels implements its new capabilities haphazardly, a lingering issue over the years. I dropped Parallels for Fusion two years ago for that reason, and I dumped Windows six years ago as my primary platform due to the uneven quality. As someone who already has the previous versions of both products, I'm slightly tempted to upgrade to Parallels Desktop 9 but not at all intrigued by VMware Fusion 6.

As you can tell, I'm leery of returning to a world of mediocrity -- Parallels is too PC! That alone should make you think twice before spending your hard-earned money to upgrade or switch to either of these products.

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