Mine came with CL14 and my battery life still was crap. My first few days I was lucky for the phone to last from 5am until 6pm. Generally I would use the app market a bit with wifi turned on for a few minutes at a time. No GPS. Etc. I stretched that to 9pm several times. As soon as I used Zefie's kernel (10.2) my battery lasted considerably longer. Still not great but it would take me through part of the next day. The hour of tv I watched yesterday using bluetooth headphones it sucked the life from my battery down to just a few hours. My Tilt would have let me watch TV and get at least a day's life as well.
I agree with infamousjax on the Quick Settings. Beautiful Home has some useful widgets that do much the same too. Also I've started to use Settings Profiles to control brightness, wifi, etc during different hours of the day. I disagree completely on Task Killer. My battery life has never been helped by using or not using Task Killer - I agree with the reports that Android does a superior job suspending background applications and Task Killer just gets in the way.