I wouldn't know about the scene release versions cos I have been using the various beta versions but I do like it alot better than Vista.
It does seem to run quicker than Vista but still uses more resources than XP.
It still has the annoying popup everytime, warning you, but you have more choice this time of how annoying you want it to be, thankfully you can still turn it off.
The only thing which has taken me a while to get use to is the new taskbar. Things which aren't open/running can be pinned there for easy access but they are also mixed with others which are open/running. The only difference between them is the running programs are in a different shade. The great thing with it though is you can run the mouse over any of them and get a small window displaying the program and you can click on it maximise it to full screen.
Forgot to add that looks like a child scribbled all over the screenshots