This machine works great, is fun to use, and has lasted me a long time so far.
Positive Product Points
Brews good coffee, the cup filling mechanism actually works well and is fun, has brewed coffee most mornings for over three years with out a hitch, keeps coffee hot, brews in a reasonable amount of time, looks decent I guess.
Negative Product Points
Loop handle broke after about three years or so. If you want to fill a thermos a small amount of dis-assembly is needed.
OK, let me start by saying this machine has been pretty flawless ever since I owned it until a couple weeks ago when the loop handle on the lift out tank broke in half. I may call Hamilton Beach customer support to inquire about a replacement handle because I do like this machine. It still works just fine with the handle broken though, as long as I make sure the handle is proped up out of the way when I put the filter holder back in so it will seat properly. I may just remove the two remaining pieces of the handle to get around that issue, as its not that important of a piece. You can just grab the container by the front easily to handle it.
Filling a thermos with the machine is just slightly more time consuming than a normal type of coffee pot, since you have to open the lid and remove the filter basket before you can lift out the "pot" to pour into your thermos. Also your knuckles may get steamed a bit if your not careful when pouring it. I had to facepalm myself the first couple times I tried to fill my thermos because I was stupidly pulling the whole machine to the edje of my counter an tilting the thermos to push the fill button in and waiting forever to empty the whole thing into the thermos. I was telling my wife, "man this is a pain in the @#%!" , and she comes in looks at me and says, "why are you doing it like that, just pull the container out of the thing and pour it in". Ahh, I forgot to use my brain to figure out this tricky procedure. I wonder how many times it would have taken me before this little nugget of brilliance crossed my mind.
As far as preformance, It works just peachily, brews a tasty pot of coffee in a very reasonable amount of time. If you are just filling a cup, the button dispenser is easy to use, kinda fun to use and has worked flawlessly for over three years. The machine doesn't slide back when you push your cup into the button. If you were going to use the machine solely as a way to fill a thermos to bring to work I would just get a normal pot. But its fine for the occasional thermos filler. I get comments from friends and family about how good the coffee is, but keep in mind that none of them are coffee pros. They all enjoy coffee but, also, all use ahem... pre ground coffee. I use whole bean that I grind right before I brew it. Granted its not any fancy whole bean, but I'm sure that has something to do with they're opinion.
It has a progamable timer on it that works fine if you set it correctly. Its not super intuitive, but not difficult eather. To set the current time of day you do nothing more than hit the H and M buttons. To set the time to brew you hit the "prog" button, which will cause the display to blink then use the H and M buttons to set the start time. You then hit the on button just once. Where to just start it brewing right away you have to hit the start button twice. I have on a couple instances goofed up this simple procedure, but I hardly ever use the function and the worst that has happened is that I had to start the pot in the morning.
As far as cleaning the machine is concerned, besides cleaning out the filter basket and "pot", I have never had to do any sort of deep cleaning on the thing, and it still brews the same as the day I bought it. I think this is pretty impressive, since I use it nearly every day. So, well over a thousand pots brewed with it and still not clogged with lime and calcium build up.
This is the first review I have ever written so I hope i didn't bore you too much. In conclusion all of my issues are very minor when compared to the fact that it still works great, and it was a cheap machine. I gave it a 9 only because due to the small gripes stated above I couldn't give it a 10. I hope this review was informative. I read alot of reviews when I'm deciding on buying something, so I thought it was high time I gave back a little and seeing as how I have had this product for a while I thought it would give the review a little more teeth.
Got it as a wedding present... had fun tearing off the wrapping paper.