MUCH less intuitive than XP.
Default font is harder to read.
Photos are noticeably more brilliant, especially on the ATI card tweaked for Vista.
It does not power up nor shut down any faster than XP.
They chose glitz over performance - windows slide and grow into place instead of popping up. I'd rather have fast on a 64-bit machine than fancy, thank you very much. I'm sure there's a setting somewhere...
IE7 is also less intuitive, and they have added tabs by default. I HATE tabs. I want my pages to open in separate iterations of the browser. They have also added many more annoying "security" alerts, which it took me forever to disable.
The download timer is whacked even worse than in XP. I was copying from a CD to the hard drive, and it originally said it would take 9 hours and 47 minutes. It kept decrementing that number in huge leaps, but never got close to accuracy. I still had 57 seconds left when it was done. The whole copy took 4 minutes. On XP, the same copy, the timer only misses by 2 hours at the start, and is caught up after about 30-45 seconds.