The old technic figures were pretty cool, but technic pieces aren't as effective at capturing the more organic nature of figures. Obviously, not every constraction SW set has nailed this, but CCBS as a hole is cleaner and more apt to posing.
The top model is quite a bit cleaner and more apt for display; it is easily recognizable. $25 is pretty expensive, but not terribly outrageous. Poseability is also significantly greater.
The bottom one, meanwhile, has a lot of gaps and exposed technic which makes it less presentable, although with a much more in-depth build. The price is certainly competitive with the newer models, coming in at $35, however there has certainly been inflation so perhaps today this set would fall in around $40-$45. The poseability... isn't great as far as I can see; his arms can move, I think, but his legs appear to be almost entirely static.
While there is certainly a charm to the technic figures, to me they are relatively ugly with the conglomeration of technic and tubes. On the whole I think the SW constraction line has been doing fairly well design-wise, though I would welcome the use of more technic in vehicles.