David Pogue of the New York Times and Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal have been consistent Mac fans and Vista bashers for the past few years, so yesterday’s first-look reviews of Windows 7 were eye-opening.
[Update: In the comments to this post, David Pogue rightfully chides me for stereotyping his previous writings about Windows Vista, so I've struck through that part. See his comment and my reply for more discussion. And be sure to read this post of mine from April 2005, especially the last paragraph, where I point to Pogue's review of OS X Tiger and conclude: "If you write reviews of technology products, take note - this is how a pro does it." ]
Not surprisingly, both men decided to frame their reviews with yet more Vista-bashing. Pogue’s piece is entitled “Hate Vista? You May Like the Fix.” (For some odd reason, that second part appears as “You May Like Microsoft’s Sequel” in the page title.) Mossberg, meanwhile, entitles his piece “Even in Test Form, Windows 7 Leaves Vista in the Dust’”
Pogue’s review goes through all the things he his Twitter followers hated about Vista and concludes that Windows 7 has fixed most of them. On speed, for example, “Microsoft definitely got the message…. Even in the test version, you can feel that a lot of things are faster: starting up (40 seconds on my three test machines), shutting down, reconnecting to wireless networks, copying files and inserting flash drives, for example.”
On page 2, he reviews the new stuff in Windows 7. This type of praise is rare:
HomeGroups are fantastic. Type the same one-time password into every Windows 7 computer, and presto: instant, automatic home network, without having to fool around with accounts, permissions and so on. Every PC can see the other computers’ pictures, music, movies and documents, and folders that you specify, as well as share one another’s printers. Even in the test version, it works like a charm.
Mossberg was able to test Windows 7 on two machines: a Lenovo notebook supplied by Microsoft, and the Sony VAIO that he has used as a Vista whipping boy for years. But surprise!
[E]ven the beta version of Windows 7 was dramatically faster than Vista at such tasks as starting up the computer, waking it from sleep and launching programs.
And this speed boost wasn’t only apparent in the preconfigured machine from Microsoft, but on my own Sony (SNE), which had been a dog using Vista, even after I tried to streamline its software. Of course, these speed gains may be compromised by the computer makers, if they add lots of junky software to the machines. Windows 7 is also likely to run well on much more modest hardware configurations than Vista needed.
In their final grafs, Pogue and Mossberg call Windows 7 “exciting” and “promising,” respectively. For Microsoft, that’s as close to a slam-dunk as it gets.