I generally like the new settings dialog, because the old version had an
overriding inconvenience--the need to scroll. I don't buy the argument
that it's harder to locate the icon for the particular category of
setting you want to change. First, you can use the keyboard to select.
Once you learn the assignments, you don't have to visually locate the
icon at all. I should think that would please the keyboardists. For the
mousers (like me), the icons are always located consistently, so muscle
memory will shortly eliminate the need to scan visually for us, too.
One improvement I WOULD like to see: Why not add Next and Previous
buttons to the category dialogs? This won't be quite as nice as the old
random-access, but it would help. It might help even move if the order
of presentation of icons in the settings dialog were configurable (say,
by dragging). Then users could organize the dialog with their most
commonly-accessed settings adjacent and (say) in the upper left, or down
the left (or right column), or whatever.