I mean it is a relatively inexpensive entry level droid phone with a 600mhz processor, what did you expect from it? I mean going in when I bought my 2 I figured it wasn't gonna be as fast as my friends Evo or Fascinate. But it was also only $129 as opposed to $350. If you haven't done so already dl Go Launcher. For some reason it has almost completely stopped my severe battery draining and has speed up navigation through home screens.
i've rooted and unrooted numerous times. Deleted all the bloatware with no issues at all. To the best of my knowledge there isn't a ROM for the ascend for OC'n yet, although I have heard people supposedly getting 800 out of it. Get z4root it has a option to be temporary, you can revert back with a simple reboot. Everything is right here in the forum.
I agree with Darksyderydaz. rooting helps big time with the overclocking tool. It is important to understand that while yes, the tool can be used for overclocking, the purpose when thinking about battery life is to drastically underclock, so it uses less cpu while the screen is off.
My Ascend out of the box is much better in regards to battery life than my Zio was. After I rooted, just for the sake of underclocking my battery can last a day easy, two days if call volume is low. I do not have a lot of stuff running in the background, just my work email which alone gets 40-100 emails a day, depending on how much is going on.