Startup and shutdown is near instant.
Firefox without any addons is maximum 2-3 seconds to load, with addons it jumps to 5-10 seconds (I dont mind) but when it does load there is nearly no difference between my main PC and this one.
Microsoft word 07 takes about 5 seconds to load and when it does load, it is fully functional.
Multiple programs open usually drains the memory but if you minimize them, rather than hide them in the background, you can get full functionality whenever you want.
Battery life is minimum 3 hours if you have 1-2 programs open at a time. I had iTunes and Microsoft word 07 open with the battery at 61%, it lasted me about 3 hours.
So far, I love it =)