Ill start with the easiest to review, Word 2007.
Although still in beta, I have been using Office 2007 as my main word processor (in windows) for quite some time now. It is a vast improvement over office 2003 in many aspects. It sports an entirely new tabbed layout that takes some getting used to, but it preferable to the dropped down menus and toolbars of office 2003. It also look great (on xp anyway, it would not render completely on vista). It features support for saving to pdfís, right from the save as. It has a wealth of new features I could not possibly list here, but the sad fact is that this is the best word processor I have ever used. I only wish it was available for OSX. Itís interface will make it easy for consumers to do things they may not have known they could with previous version of Word.
I have not yet used excel, but Outlook has a nice calendar feature, to which you can drag emails onto dates to make appointments. Sweet. Its search also is works well.
Its quite a shame that office is confined to windows (stop pretending office for osx compares) and is really the one thing that I miss when I use osx (which I do 95% of the time.) I really wish there was something better. I like Pages, which I now use rather than booting into windows for office (or using parallels). But I feel that the importance of Office was not overlooked by Microsoft, and in many ways it is more important than Vista. If Apple had a better solution, I feel it would really help people justify switching. In any case, Office 2007 is a 5 star product, even at this beta stage.
WMP is a strange animal. I always liked WMP10, but before I switched to OSX I always used winamp or musikcube (itunes for windows is a horrible piece of software). However WMP11 probably visually outshines even itunes for now.
WMP no longer sports the usual artist album song browser that it used to, or that itunes currently uses. It now has a visual representation based on the album art. It is a very nice interface that works well, and I like it a lot. I wish itunes for OSX had it actually and it probably eventually will. However, while the interface is now nicer, it is still plagued but WMP functionality. It is extremely slow to add files (itunes on OSX loads all my 7000 songs in seconds) and it crashed a few times for me. URGE could not be used (which may be a huge plus for it). I give it 3 stars.
Now what you were waiting for, my Vista Beta 2 review.
Windows is now a beautiful operating system. Do not try and disagree, it really is (whether you prefer OSX or not). Aero glass looks great, and I like the option to change the color of translucence. Sure sure its copied off of OSX but at least it a good imitation.
Flip 3d is Windows version of OSXís expose (see screenshot). To be honest it is inferior to expose, yet just as functional at the same time. This is fine for windows, it gives the masses that ease of application switching, even if it doesnít look as nice as OSX.
Windows sidebar seems somewhat useless at this stage but it will really depend on the widgetsÖ.errrr I meant gadgets, that windows offers. It will be useful if the gadgets are useful.
The explorer is nicer than ever, and really the one thing in Windows that is superior to OSX (besides Office). While I wish Microsoft had gone along with virtual folder, which I would have loved (imagine a music folder that automatically gets songs added to it as you get them, from anywhere on your hard disk). Explorer still beats finder.
Internet explorer 7 is now actually a usable browser. It now features tabs and a built in search, just like its firefox counterpart. I probably would still use firefox, but I would no longer feel the need to tell others to do so. It works just fine, and at least catches up with firefox.
Lets seeÖ.have I missed anything? Some people would complain about certain quirks of vista, like the fact that you have to press ok about 1000 times just to delete a file but I wont, I mean, its clear that wont be there when vista is released to the public, so why waste breath.
Performance-wise, Vista is fast, as fast as or faster than XP despite the extra effects, clearly a result of the graphics card being utilized properly.
Also, itís still Windows, even at this beta stage my Macs video card did not even need a driver installed. Impressive. Even my HP printer installed without drivers, including its card reader.
Media center is a nonfactor for this review
The taskbar has somewhat changed and is somewhat better organized (it wont be filling up the entire screen
anymore when you want to launch a program)
3 Ĺ Stars.
Vista is not as good as OSX, at least not in this beta version, looking simply at the features and program, ignoring all the errors that will be removed by the final product. However, it does run more like OSX which some people will chastise it for, but I think itís a good thing. Everyone complains how they wish OSX was mainstream like Windows is, yet they complain when Windows becomes more like OSX because they are copying off of Apple. You canít have it both ways. All in all, Vista is a great visual improvement and a good functional improvement. It will be worth upgrading from XP
Thatís about it, feel free to discuss.
In mac dual booting forum I will post how I installed and how I got sound and networking enabled. Fairly trivial.
Hi-Res Screenshots attached.