The time has come, friend, to grab that plastic box, curse a few times while you try to figure out how to open up the dang thing, and then finally fire up that historic DVD: Windows Vista. What was that? Waiting around for the pundits to have their say? Well, we suppose that wouldn't hurt -- if you want to be all namby pamby about it. The overall verdict right now seems quite lacking in enthusiasm. Sure, it won't bust up your box or anything, hardware support is mostly alright, and improvements to stability and eye candy are commendable, but Vista just doesn't seem to have a whole lot of must-need features to make it a must-have for most users. David Pogue, in his December review, calls it "Looks, Locks, Lacks." Things are much easier to use in general, but inconsistencies are often jarring, and certain added features don't seem entirely fleshed out, making the OS -- which was five years in development -- feel rushed and in noticeable need of that SP1 update. There's also a penchant for preferential treatment of Microsoft stuff, such as IE RSS feeds, which some Mac users might find disappointingly familiar. On the numbers side of things, bit-tech has discovered a 10 percent performance hit in most operations in comparison to XP, which isn't noticeable on high-end PCs, but might be enough of a reason for low-end users to hold off for the moment. Walt Mossberg found that, at times, "Vista could be maddeningly slow even on new, well-configured computers." Conclusions definitely varied, though most reviewers do agree on one point: the number of different versions is way too confusing, and the full versions of the OS are too expensive. Most still agree that Vista is the best version of Windows yet, but it looks like you'll still have to figure out if it's the best for you.

Read - CNET (7.0 HB, 7.4 HP, 7.4 B, 7.8 U)
Read - Walt Mossberg
Read - David Pogue
Read - PC Mag (3.5/5)
Read - bit-tech (9)
Read - Technology Review (switching to Mac)

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