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VMware Fusion Review

Fusion 12 just hit the market. We created one of the first comprehensive VMware reviews on the Web to give you all the details on the enhancements and the new features.

VMware Fusion Review

minimum price:

Free

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  • Free Plan: Available
  • Free Trial: Available
  • Features: Rich
  • Ease of Use: Good
  • Languages Supported: 7
  • Money-Back Guarantee: Unavailable
  • Suitable for: Students, home users, IT pros, developers, and businesses
  • Technical Support: Ample, diverse, and flexible

works on:

Mac OS Mac OS

Best For

Windows gaming on Mac and software development

STRENGTHS

  • Free license for personal use
  • Extends diverse support solutions
  • Delivers useful features for flexibility
  • Offers a free trial for its commercial version

WEAKNESSES

  • Prices out some users
  • Doesn’t offer software subscriptions
  • Functions slower than other virtualization platforms

PRICING PLANS:

Fusion 12 Player (Personal License)

$0.00

Fusion 12 Player (Commercial)

$149

Fusion 12 Pro

$199

Fusion 12 Pro with Support Basic

$241

What Is VMware Fusion

VMware, the brand behind this advanced hypervisor line, has over 15 years of excellence in the virtualization space. Serving millions of customers throughout its rich history has been a real feather in the company’s cap. Likewise, it has earned the respect of its peers, winning more than 50 accolades over the years. VMware delivers unbridled flexibility, agility, and productivity for contemporary app developers and IT admins.

The Palo Alto, California–based company envisions Fusion as the ultimate tool for building the next technology that would take the world by storm. It’s a great tool to develop new apps and engineer the supporting cloud servers as well as testing the end-to-end processes on a Mac.

IT professionals can use Fusion as a common platform to eliminate the need to transfer virtual machines to and from Apple computers.

Apple loyalists love the VMware Fusion gaming options since most of the best games out there are optimized for Windows. The solution allows blending native Mac and Windows apps in one computer without having to reboot.

There are two VMware Fusion versions: Player and Pro. Only the first comes with a personal license, though.

Features

Fusion 12 is the latest version of the software. It boasts a number of new functionalities as well as enhanced accessibility and performance.

VMware reviews rave about it. So, we decided to explore its features and see what separates it from the software’s closest competitors: Parallels, Inc., and VirtualBox.

macOS 11 Support

Fusion 12 works on macOS Big Sur, the latest version of Apple’s desktop OS. But if you’re putting off an upgrade, this hypervisor also functions on macOS 10.15 ‘Catalina’. Unfortunately, you can’t launch a Fusion virtual machine on macOS 10.14 ‘Mojave’ and older iterations.

The software works on all Macs manufactured since 2012, except for 2012 Mac Pro Quad Core built with the Intel Xeon W3565 Processor.

Despite being manufactured much earlier, you can use this hypervisor on 2010 Mac Pro Six Core, Eight Core, and Twelve Core.

200+ Supported Operating Systems

Fusion 12 is particularly marketed for Windows 10 since it accounts for three-thirds of all desktop OSes from Microsoft in use worldwide today. But you have the option to run almost any operating system you can think of with this software. It supports hundreds of OSes, ranging from older Windows versions to little-known Linux distributions.

Multiple Installation Methods

The Fusion software for Mac is a convenient alternative to Apple Boot Camp. With this hypervisor, you can launch a guest system from a Boot Camp partition, so that you no longer have to choose between Windows or another OS and Mac at start-up.

Fusion 12 also lets you migrate to an existing computer, install a program from a Windows disc, or install an older Mac OS X version from a recovery partition or a download.

Snapshots

Each snapshot saves the current state of a virtual machine, creating a rollback point you can return to when necessary. This can be useful when testing unknown apps and creating demos, since you’ll be able to experiment with different scenarios without having to install several OSes.

Linked and Full Clones

The Pro edition enables rapid virtual machine duplication. This is an elegant way to avoid repeating the same setup.

You can create identical copies of a virtual machine that can be either fully independent from or linked to its parent.

Since linked clones are made from their parent virtual machines’ snapshots, they’re disabled when you lose or have no access to their source. They may be called linked clones, but changes to their disk don’t affect their parents and vice versa.

We tried it when writing this VMware review we can attest that “linked cloning” can help conserve physical disk space.

Full clones, on the other hand, are totally isolated from their parents. They can deliver the same performance as never-cloned virtual machines. And you can easily share them with others.

Virtual Network Customization

But which is better? The Pro or the Standard edition? The only difference is the ability to create and customize network configurations, coming with the Pro version.

From modifying critical network settings to allowing confirmation prompts before the network adapter goes in promiscuous mode, you can manage all virtual machines – as long as they’re connected to a custom network running on your host Mac.

Virtual Network Simulation

With VM Fusion Pro, you can use the software to create an environment where you can design, configure, and fix networks made up of virtual devices.

VMware vSphere and VMware ESXi Server Connection

As an IT professional, you can launch and control every single Fusion virtual machine and manage the host hardware through vSphere and ESXi servers.

vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption

Exclusive to VM Fusion Pro, this feature can help you create a secure environment, safeguarding your virtual machines, their disks, and other files from malicious parties.

Only administrators can encrypt and decrypt your data, so it’s a reliable functionality for boosting your internal cybersecurity.

Remote vSphere Host Power Control Support

As a Fusion Pro license owner, you can place certain components of your device or computer system into a decreased power state. This technique can save you a significant amount of energy when your hardware doesn’t have to run at maximum capacity or is inactive.

Integration and de-Integration

Integrated experience is synonymous with this virtualization solution from VMware for Mac. This means you can do tasks and seamlessly switch back and forth between Windows and macOS. You can copy and paste, drag-and-drop files, do folder mirroring and sharing, and carry out networking and printing without any cumbersome setup.

But if you have a bring your own device policy in your organization, Fusion 12 gives you the freedom to isolate your corporate computers from external devices. This way, you can restrict access to virtual machines only to authorized users in order to safeguard your sensitive data.

Unity View Mode

If you want to take integration to the next level, this feature allows you to mix Windows and macOS apps together by enabling Unity mode.

Performance

Users often complain in their VMware reviews that the Fusion software for Mac is a bit slower than Parallels Desktop and VirtualBox. The difference isn’t significant but is still noticeable.

During our tests, the VMware Fusion mac OS app took about a minute to launch Windows. Parallels and VirtualBox needed just less than 40 seconds to boot the same guest system.

Parallels is able to deliver a faster experience because it mimics the Fast Boot option in Basic Input/Output System – a core processor software supported by some desktop hardware.

VirtualBox can launch a guest system quicker due to its free nature. This open-source solution doesn’t set up dozens of integration functions, so it isn’t as encumbered.

Despite being about 20 seconds slower than its closest rivals, VMware Fusion for Mac is unequaled when it comes to power and flexibility. There’s no other virtualization solution that gives users so much freedom.

When it comes to enterprise-level features, both Parallels Desktop and VirtualBox don’t measure up. VMware Fusion’s set of functionalities is much friendlier to developers and businesses with needs that go beyond reviving an old OS as a virtual machine, for example.

After researching for this VMware review, we can confirm that the tool provides tech professionals abundant latitude in designing, building, and testing practically any conceivable software with ease.

Compatibility

This VMware for Mac app is compatible with a myriad of devices, components, and security specifications. In addition to the features we talked about earlier, Fusion supports:

  • A wide section of virtual devices
  • 4k, 5k, and Retina displays
  • USB 3.1
  • USB smart card readers
  • Assistive devices (in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act)
  • Multi-language keyboards
  • Virtual NVMe devices
  • Virtual Trusted Platform Module
  • Microsoft virtualization-based security
  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (boot and secure boot)
  • Hyper-V Mode for Device Guard and Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1 3D graphics application programming interfaces
  • 8GB graphics memory

AlthoughVMware Fusion hasn’t got a Windows version, you can go with its equally robust sibling: VMWare Workstation.

It’s likewise an industrial-strength emulator in its own right. And we would have to write an entirely separate VMware Workstation review to flesh out how it compares Fusion. 

Ease of Use

The interface of the Fusion software for Mac needs more work to rival the sleek and streamlined appearance of Parallels. 

Unlike other virtualization programs, VMware Fusion versions don’t always have things set up automatically. They give you the freedom to manually enable integrations, so you can isolate your Windows system from your Mac host the way you want.

Advanced users like app developers and software testers would appreciate VMware’s decision to design its virtualization solution this way. After all, having the option to integrate or de-integrate the app from your Mac and launch virtual machines alongside native macOS apps certainly makes life easier.

Fusion 12 comes with Application Menu, making it more convenient to run, pause, or close all of your virtual machines as well as launching individual Windows apps.

Fusion as a whole has a solid reputation for keeping in step with Apple updates. That means it rarely crashes when a new macOS version is available, nor does it have installation issues.

When it comes to language support, VMWare designed Fusion with localized experiences in mind. Other than English, it also supports:

  • Italian
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Spanish

Customer Support

As per usual, we tested all support options for our VMware review. The company delivers assistance in various forms, free and otherwise.

Complimentary Support

Whether you choose VMware Fusion Player or Pro, you can enjoy initial installation support. 

Hours of Operation: 6 am to 6 pm (local time for North American and PST or PDT for Hawaii and Alaska), Mondays through Fridays

Length of Service: 30 days from the date of registration

Method of Access: Web

Response Method: Email only

Target Response Time: 24 hours from the time of submission for all severities

You can submit unlimited support requests. In addition, you can get online access to tons of technical resources from VMware, its growing knowledge base, and discussion forums. You can get free product updates too.

Basic Support

This subscription no longer has a minimum purchase requirement of 10 product licenses. Whatever VMware Fusion version you pick, you only need to buy one commercial license.

Hours of Operation: 10 hours a day, Mondays through Fridays

Length of Service: 1 or 3 years

Online Access to Product Updates: Yes

Online Access to Product Upgrades: Yes

Method of Access: Web

Response Method: Phone and email

Remote Support: Yes

Access to VMware Discussion Forums and Knowledge Base: Yes

Number of Support Administrators: 4

Number of Support Requests: Unlimited

Target Response Times:

  • Severity 1: 4 business hours
  • Severity 2: 8 business hours
  • Severity 3: 12 business hours
  • Severity 4: 12 business hours

Like Complimentary Support, Basic Support provides free VM Fusion Pro or Player updates. And you can get online access to product upgrades too.

Designed for non-critical applications and platforms, this annual or triennial subscription unlocks access to VMware’s global support centers. They’re full of engineers with industry-leading expertise in virtualization and a wealth of experience assisting customers with different virtual infrastructure products.

Per Incident Support

This “pay as you go” contract is designed for delivering technical support for specific VMware products like the Fusion software for Mac. It’s suitable for individual license holders or customers with no or small data centers and software development organizations.

Hours of Operation: 6 am to 6 pm (local time for North American and PST or PDT for Hawaii and Alaska), Mondays through Fridays

Length of Service: Valid for 1 year after purchase of the incident

Method of Access: Web

Response Method: Email only

Access to VMware Discussion Forums and Knowledge Base: Yes

Number of Purchasable Support Requests: Packs of 1, 3, or 5 incidents

Target Response Time: 1 business day for all severities

VMware defines an incident as a question related to a discrete, specific issue. It may involve more than one interaction with a technical engineer prior to resolution.

Per Incident Support doesn’t include free product updates and/or upgrades. It’s non-refundable too, so you won’t get your money back if you don’t use it.

Production Support

Like Basic Support, you only need at least 1 VMware Fusion Player or Pro license to purchase. You can submit as many requests as you wish.

Hours of Operation: 24/7 or 10 hours a day, Mondays through Fridays

Length of Service: 1 or 3 years

Online Access to Product Updates: Yes

Online Access to Product Upgrades: Yes

Method of Access: Web

Response Method: Phone and email

Remote Support: Yes

Access to VMware Discussion Forums and Knowledge Base: Yes

Number of Support Administrators: 6

Number of Support Requests: Unlimited

Target Response Time:

  • Severity 1: 30 minutes (24/7)
  • Severity 2: 4 business hours (10 hours day, 5 days a week)
  • Severity 3: 8 business hours (10 hours day, 5 days a week)
  • Severity 4: 12 business hours (10 hours day, 5 days a week)

Generally, the company provides technical support for Fusion license owners in English. VMware reviews show that users received in other languages, too, including:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Turkish

VMware Fusion Pricing

So, how much is VMware Fusion? If you intend to use it for any non-commercial activity, you can download a free version of the Player edition if you agree to register. But if you want more, you can choose from:

  • VMware Fusion 12 Player Commercial license: $149
    • $79 for an upgrade
  • VMware Fusion 12 Pro: $199
    • $99 for an upgrade
  • VMware Fusion 12 Pro with Support Basic for 1 year: $241
    • $141 for an upgrade

The Pro edition has a free 30-day trial. This no-cost VMware Fusion Pro download requires no registration and lets you evaluate the full functionality of the software.

Considering a VMware Fusion upgrade? Your eligibility depends on the edition that you have and whether you’ve previously purchased a support subscription.

  • Eligible for a paid Fusion 12 Player upgrade
    • Customers with Fusion 10.x or Fusion 11.x
  • Eligible for a paid Fusion 12 Pro upgrade
    • Customers with Fusion 10.x, Fusion 10.x Pro, Fusion 11.x, or Fusion 11.x Pro
  • Eligible for a free Fusion 12 Pro upgrade
    • Customers with Fusion 10.x Pro or Fusion 11.x Pro with an active support and subscription contract

According to VMware’s refund and cancellation policies, you can’t ask for your money back with an immediate VMware Fusion download. There’s one exception, though; you may request a refund if you pre-order your digital product – just cancel the order.

As usual, VMware will credit you through the payment method you used. If you didn’t pay with a credit card, the company may ask you about your bank details to return your money accordingly.

VMware Fusion Review – Verdict

Fusion 12 offers great value to advanced users and businesses. Despite the relatively slow performance, this hypervisor still gets the job done smoothly.

Most VMware reviews understandably clamor for cheaper prices. But the free VMware Fusion Player license would suffice to keep PC gamers with Apple computers happy.

Overall, the improved features in the latest Fusion release are a testament to VMware’s willingness to listen to feedback. You would ignore this virtualization platform’s remaining imperfections once you experience how simple it is to design and test complex software with it.

Don’t just take our word for it. Give Fusion 12 a whirl and be the judge.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I've been fascinated by technology my whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. So writing for Techjury is like a dream come true, combining both my passions - writing and technology. In my free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to both my sons,) I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack.