I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call the Enterprise-D ugly. When I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation I am constantly in awe of how un-affected the designs are by time. From the computer interface to the color palette to the warp drive. So little looks dated.
On the other hand, some of the actual technology of the ship has become outdated already. I love how they ‘bring’ each other data. You don’t see any wires on TNG, but they don’t seem to have Wi-Fi either. ‘Take your report to engineering….’
The main computer interface is highly verbal. I am pretty sure when the show came out, this seemed totally amazing. It’s exciting how tangible these verbal interactions actually are now. Even though Siri is painfully slow, when I use Google voice search, I am reminded that voice commands have a chance. They just need a ton of work.
The PADDs they carry around are also feature-wise, pretty similar to our 21st century tablet computers. The desk computers, like Picard’s desk terminal, are much smaller than our desktop displays. He was not hiding behind the terminal, it was merely an accessory. Something to record his thoughts, or learn about something he didn’t know.
The medical advancements are where we are most behind (or maybe most on schedule). It seems as if only non-critical characters could develop incurable illnesses. Physical injuries just required a good laser zapping and you’d be back in business. Luckily we have 300 years to catch up to them in that regard.
The least explained and totally crazy technology is the ‘Universal Translator‘ which appears to rarely have a physical interface but allows every species to talk to every species without question in U.S. English. I could have used this technology the last time I was in France. Am I right French people?!
The other technology that we are not even close with is the Holographic Mobile Emitter for the Doctor on Voyager. I won’t get into that though, because it was the technically from the 29th century and on a different show. Oh, and warp drive technology.
In conclusion, the Enterprise-D is beautiful design and doesn’t get old. It’s fun to see how Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future is mostly coming into clear sight centuries ahead of time.