Analyst claims Vista's user interface is a step back: slower than OS X

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vistaosx.pngJust to add fuel to the heated debate and comparison between Windows Vista and Mac OS X, French analyst Andreas Pfeiffer has been testing ‘user interface friction’, and claims that Vista is slower than both Windows XP and Mac OS X.

‘User interface friction’ has nothing to do with how irritated a user gets when their computer keeps crashing. It’s a measure of how long various key elements of the graphical user interface take to respond to user input, such as clicking on a menu, precise mouse positioning, and common ‘desktop chores’.

“Menu latency is the time it takes an operating system to display a menu,” said Pfeiffer. “In Windows, it’s not immediate. That’s not a speed or performance issue, but a design choice.”

Pfeiffer claims measurements that show Vista’s menu latency lagging 20% slower than XP, which was ‘a major step forward from Windows 98’. Vista’s is back in Windows 98 territory, he says.

Turning off one of Vista’s most acclaimed features – the Aero graphics engine – speeded things up, and achieved scores similar to XP.

Pfeiffer also claims that every benchmark showed that Vista was significantly poorer than Mac OS X, which is much more ‘fluid’ than the Microsoft OS.

“But this isn’t a Windows versus Mac thing,” Pfeiffer said. “We wanted to see if Vista improved on some of the weak spots of previous releases. Usually, developers iron out user interface issues over time to increase [user] productivity.”

Not this time, he said. “Vista is a step back.”

Note that Pfeiffer states that this isn’t a Windows versus Mac thing, but you can be sure that many will turn it into that.

What has to be remembered is that Vista is a new OS, whilst OS X is a well-established, generally stable system. The first incarnations of OS X were pretty poor, compared with today’s versions. Vista has every opportunity to improve where improvement is needed.

Andy Merrett