Noticed even latest Vista SP1 doesn't run smooth on Vista Capable certified laptops. But guaranteed is designed to run on Santa Rosa or later platforms. Just looks amazing smooth on Aero and no down on gaming, what are you guys talking about "bad for gaming"?
True that Vista use alot system resources but AHEAD before we using it, is like silent prefetch. XP never prefetch anything so doesn't use much resources but downside on launching the apps doesn't work as fast as Vista. (Notable those apps are builded in Vista's only such as IE and WMP etc.)
I only have problem once with the OEM Vista bloated with junks but after a clean reinstall changed everything. Is been working so well that makes XP looks old and dirty :P I'm not much of a user taking my laptop around the street so battery power is not a problem. I tried to do my typing works in living room once and noticed the battery only lasted 2 and half hours with power saving mode. So i guess is still reasonable. I understand it doesn't works perfect for all laptops as my compaq laptop suffers occasional memory leak when on vista, nothing helps prevent but rather blame mainboard design's fault.