I won’t be the first to mention it but I thought I would add my $0.02 about it. The February CTP release of Vista, build 5308 is now out. It should be available to you if you are a registered beta user. If you aren’t, there are lots of reviews and lots of pictures out there.
This new release marks a major milestone as it is now feature complete. What you see now won’t change the way it looks a whole lot for the final release. From here on out, the emphasis changes from getting features in to solidifying the project. We’ll spend the next n months fixing bugs and improving performance. You can see some of that already even in this build. I am running it on my main desktop at work and find it substantially more responsive than previous versions. Back in October I talked about how a new OS usually got worse before it got better. We are now at that tipping point. It is looking better and will continue to improve between here and the launch.
Here are a few links to give you perspective on the new build:
PC Magazine has about 55 screen shots available.
PC World talks about the new gadgets.
CNet also has a review with pictures.