Microsoft has been consistently updating Windows Media Player (WMP) for the past several years, and each iteration has been better than the version before it. It makes sense, then, that version 11 of the multimedia jukebox is the best one yet, and WMP11 for Vista is slightly better than its XP counterpart. It's safe to say: if you're comfortable with the XP version of the software, you'll like the Vista app as well--probably even a bit more.
Version 11 of the software is essentially identical across the two platforms, so most of the relevant info for the Vista version can be found in our review of Windows Media Player 11 for XP. You still get the visually immersive experience, with browsing by album art--with the neat, stacked effect--and an impressive search feature that narrows results as you type each letter. Other key features include excellent PlaysForSure device integration, which includes the gas gauge--a visual representation of how much space is left on your player. And of course, you get MTV's music service, Urge, built right in to the interface. You can also add other music service plug-ins such as Napster and eMusic.
Of course, WMP11 isn't completely the same across the two platforms. There is a slightly different look to the window--the border is transparent. However, the guts of the interface look and work the same in both versions. Also, the app performs a bit better in Vista. We performed an upgrade with Urge running a radio stream and experienced no hiccups in our music playback. The Auto-Mix generator also showed performance improvement, with playlists popping up more quickly than in the XP version.