Easy to use and clean, sturdy, solid, heavy and good looking.
Negative Product Points
Coarse grind settings produce and uneven grind. Best to use "drip" setting for French press (makes a great French press grinder).
Grinding your own coffee is the single best thing you can do to improve your coffee drinking (assuming you are using freshly roasted beans) and this grinder will make it easy on you! Let us look at this grinder in these specific categories: ease of use, durability/dependability, ease of cleaning, aesthetics, design, cost and overall quality.
Ease of use: This grinder with its dial timer and pulse button is built with the user in mind. Place your beans in the bean hopper. Turn the hopper to your desired grind size. Then turn the timer dial to begin an automatic grind or hold the pulse button down to manually grind. Either way this grinder could not be simpler to use. The grind settings are clearly labeled in ranges (FR Press, Drip, Espresso, Turkish) with many click stops in each range. The beans grind and deposit into the grounds bin below. Pull the grounds bin straight out and remove grounds after grinding.
Durability/Dependability: This grinder with its thick plastic housing (although it feels like metal!) and sturdy metal base is very durable. It is also heavy enough to be used with one hand without moving all around the counter top. The conical burrs are hardened steel and built to last. Even though the bean hopper and grounds bin are plastic they are quite thick (especially the grounds bin) and will stand up to years of daily use easily. Overall very durable and built for daily home use for years to come.
Ease of cleaning: This grinder is also extremely easy to clean. The bean hopper is turned all the way counter clockwise then lifted off the grinder. The upper stationary burr lifts straight up out for cleaning also. The rotating burr can be brushed off and the chute, which leads to the grounds bin, is easily cleaned with a small brush, a pipe cleaner from your local craft store, or even your finger. I gently tap the grinder and any remaining grinds will readily break free and fall out. I can disassemble and clean this grinder while my coffee is brewing in my French press. So cleaning is quick and easy.
Aesthetics: How does it look? Fantastic! I am proud to display this grinder on my counter top. It is sleek and handsome and the plastic body is textured and does not show fingerprints.
Design: This grinder is designed to grind beans and grind beans well. It does this but not all settings are created equal. The conical burrs do a less even grind on the coarser settings but this is a trait of most any grinder. However this grinder excels as the grind setting is turned finer. I use the drip setting for French press with exceptional results. The grind is even, which is critical to proper brewing. The grinder housing is plastic but very thick and textured to mask fingerprints. The metal base adds weight for a sturdy feel. The plastic bean hopper and ground bin are also thick and strong and easy to clean. One of the best design elements of the Solis Maestro Plus is that the grounds deposit into the grounds bin by gravity not by centrifugal force, which means less mess and easier use. All in all this grinder is designed very well with the user in mind and following proper coffee grinding guidelines.
Cost: For the price you get what you pay for. This grinder has it where it really counts without the extra bells and whistles that drive up cost. This grinder is a good home grinder made of very good materials and built to last. Worth the money, if you can afford it!
Overall quality: With all things considered this is a very good grinder. With every grinder there are issues like static build up, ease of use, noise, quality of grind ECT. This grinder in my opinion does good to great in all aspects. Overall this is a great grinder. There is no perfect grinder and this grinder is not perfect but perfection will not be found in this class of grinders. Much better than a blade grinder but not up to snuff with the $500 units either. However one of the best in this price range. Highly recommended!
Bought for amazon.com and did come on time. No problems.
Three Month Followup
Still working great. Hasn't produced a bad grind yet or jammed. Works great for all my coffee brewers (Presto Scandinavian, Bodum French presses and two vacuum pots). A wonderful grinder at a great value!
One Year Followup
Having recently purchased an espresso machine I attempted to use the SMP for espresso. Bad idea! It worked great for a few months but now the burrs are shot and produce a lot of dust making brewing with other methods difficult. The SMP is great, as I have said above BUT NOT CUT OUT FOR ESPRESSO at all. I'd still buy one and use it for press, drip or vacuum brewing any day!