Chris, I have owned my own construction business for 23 years and I agree with you, it is ugly! I am also a certified building science thermographer and this installation, done correctly is more efficient than installing a window with wood casings and J channel.
That being said, it is cheaper, faster, thus more cost effective when building and the window MFG. can mass produce these windows in common sizes.
Next time your driving around, take a look at new construction houses in your area, you will no doubt notice that the second floor windows and the first floor window are the same size and appear to be large, the reason for this is they are all new construction egress windows, 6/6 grids, built in J channel, vinyl sided houses. This kind of building practice has been around for years and it allows a builder to budget X amount of windows at X amount for a price and build X amount of houses thus you have cost control or standardization.
Hope this helps.