MacNN reviews VMware Fusion 3: ‘The de facto tool for gracefully switching to the Mac’

Apple StoreVMware Fusion 3 “should also quickly become the de facto tool for gracefully switching to the Mac as you can preserve an old PC almost entirely without having to cut the cord for Windows-native apps until you’re truly ready,” MacNN reports. “That sense of companionship is particularly relevant in Unity mode, as jumping back and forth between Mac and Windows apps is seamless, and it’s easier to launch or manage apps without the temptation to switch back to single window or full screen views.”

“If there’s a flaw, it’s in the expectations that VMware sets for what you can do. Aero Glass and typical VM-friendly apps will work, but despite marketing speak we’d treat the extra graphics support as useful for compatibility alone, not as a redefinition of what you can do with virtual operating systems. Gamers will still want Boot Camp at the ready, and we’d recommend that serious VM users have as fast a system as possible if they want a transparent experience. The addition of quad-core iMacs couldn’t have come at a better time,” MacNN reports.

“Even with that performance overhead, we’d still say that Fusion 3 is easily the go-to app if you depend on Windows for testing or still need a connection to Windows before you move completely to the Mac universe. At $80 it’s inexpensive enough to be both a viable companion to a copy of Windows and a worthwhile upgrade from an earlier version of Fusion,” MacNN reports.

There’s much, much more in the full review – recommended – here.


  1. I use 3 virtual desktop products;

    Fusion is the most stable, Parallels is a little faster and VirtualBox- is really cool for an Open product. Actually- VirtualBox is quite stable as well. I use Fusion in my “prodution” environment mainly because I also administer ESX & ESXi enterprise products.

    However; Fusion 3 is NOT ready yet- had to revert back to 206. Too many performance / stability issues. Oddly- the Beta version of Fusion3 seemed better than the released edition. Anyway- I’m sure VMWARE will get it right- but I’d wait.

    Good luck

  2. Bubbles, would you buy a virtualization program without checking out the alternatives? Websites like MacNN are supposed to doing a service for its readers, not just picking up checks from manufacturers for doing PR work. If there are any computer users who understand the importance of this, it should be Mac people!

  3. Dude: Calm. Down. Step away from the keyboard. Believe it or not, publications and Web sites write reviews on individual products all the time. And you have read many of them. It was not meant as a multi-product round-up. Because you are a fan of one product does not mean that it isn’t valid to write an individual review on another.

    Get over yourself. Please.

  4. Thanks for the heads-up! I was not planning on making the move to Snow Leopard until at least 10.6.2 (by habit, I always wait for at least the second update of any OS left-dot release), and thought I’d wait a month or two before upgrading to VMware Fusion 3. I have a hunch that it will be nice, once some bugs get squashed. This is a big jump for VMware Fusion (and likely a similarly big jump for its competitors). So being a bit patient will likely make my Mac/Windows experience much better in a work environment.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

  5. @Uh, Paul

    Yes, and “cooling the mark out” by coolly trying to justify the unjustifiable on the basis of an claim that “everyone does it” is also a rhetorical strategy. The point is that a “review” is supposed to hold a product up to some kind of commercial standard. The implicit standard of this “review” is whether VMware Fusion 3 is better than Boot Camp. Duh! If you look at cellphone and computer reviews you notice that the Droid gets compared to the iPhone, or the Mac gets compared to the PC. While the criteria may be imperfect, those reviews at least attempt some basis for comparison.

    The internet media are just beginning to develop as a source of critical product information, replacing magazines and newspapers. In a recession, there is a temptation for the media to hit the lowest common denominator of journalistic performance because the only ones writing checks are the advertiser/producers. Consumers should demand quality, which is what MacDailyNews is all about.

  6. Is it still easy to turn off Unity and Shared Applications? I’m one of those who do NOT want the guest OS integrated with Mac OS X. I want to sandbox the virtual machine as much as possible.

    Thank in advance.

  7. I’ve had Parallels since before VMWare had shipped a Mac product. A friend of mine switched to Mac several months ago (on my recommendation) and he bought Fusion with his MacBook Pro so that he could run AutoCAD. He had numerous problems with it, so I told him about Parallels. I use it for AutoCAD, and, although it’s not perfect, it does the job well. He switched to Parallels, and it’s working much better for him than Fusion did.

  8. I agree with Paul Johnson, although I personally don’t always care for comparisons if they’re subjective or forced. Comparing benchmarks is one thing, comparing things by “feel” is not necessarily better than nothing at all.

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