Seems slower to me when opening applications. I never actually timed SL but "seat-of-the-pants" timing says it's slower now. I don't notice it as much with Safari but definitely when opening iTunes and iPhoto. I click the button to open either of those and there's a delay, application partially opens, then there's a pinwheel for about 5 seconds and the application finishes opening.
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_4 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8K2 Safari/6533.18.5)
It's faster for me without a doubt. I don't mean a ton faster but it is faster. Plus, some things make it feel even faster than it is, such as back and forward in safari (you see the pages without waiting when doing so).
To me it's kind of a wash. The animations and responsiveness are better than Snow Leopard but actual processing time is a bit slower. So for me it comes out fairly even from a pure speed perspective. But having better responsiveness improves the *perception* of speed.
Does Lion/Safari "learn" after the update? Reason I ask is because immediately after the update Safari felt slower but the longer/more I use it the faster it's continually getting. iTunes is now faster as well. Right after the Lion upgrade I would click the button to open iTunes, there was a delay, iTunes opens and the menu down the left side is showing but there's nothing in the song list. There's a 4-5 second pinwheel and then everything shows up. After opening and closing iTunes several times it now launches instantly. However, I'm still getting the slowness in iPhoto. I launch iPhoto and everything opens and my pics are displayed but you can't click any of the menu bar buttons at the top for several seconds and then all of a sudden it works.
The first hour was really bad because of Spotlight indexing. Now it is better but I have this feeling that many Application except for Safari (back and forth) is slower than SL... Boot up and shut down is also slower. Usually I do a fresh install when the new OS is out but this time cause I'm waiting for my new SSD I didn't do it, since I'm going to do that fresh install on my SSD. (MBP early 2011 15", 2.0 Ghz Quad Core i7 )