My initial attraction to the Vario was the wide grind range and the reported upgrade in grind quality from my Baratza Virtuoso. However, my personal experience was not satisfactory, and I am reporting here only on my specific experience and not able to do a complete review of the grinder itself.
I brew a wide range of non-espresso coffee. I had been using a Virtuoso (also from Baratza) and had stripped the drive train of that grinder. I needed a new one, and the Vario seemed to fit the bill, even allowing me to explore espresso at some point if I so desired.
Once I got the grinder, what it produced seemed to be much worse than the Virtuoso. No matter how coarsely I ground the coffee, I would still wind up with a very slow drip from a paper filter, an astringent brew, and what looked like mud in my filter. How could this happen, this was the star child Vario grinder! It all Should Have Been Perfect.
I contacted Baratza support. Kyle was very responsive and helpful. We went through the standard causes of this problem, which seemed was a very dusty grind. Usually this was from a slightly misaligned top burr, which might be caused by coffee grains underneath the burr seat. However, a very close inspection showed no foreign material between the two. The only thing I noticed was that a tiny hard bump of jutting plastic from the top of the burr seat. This could be something to misalign the burrs. Scraping it off improved the result, but still gave a somewhat muddy filter and slow drip. After conferring with Kyle, I sent the unit back for a replacement.
The new unit was improved, but still not to my liking. Any drip brew produced with it had a strong astringency component, and it seemed I had to grind rather coarse in order to get a non-slowed drip. I have since bought a Baratza Preciso (see my other review on this) and am very happy with it.
In general, I haven't needed the Vario's espresso-geared features of timers and saved settings, so it is hard for me to comment much on those. I can't speak to its grind quality for espresso. But I can say that the Vario's construction is sturdier and of higher quality than the Maestro/Virtuoso/Preciso line of products, and looks beefier. Too bad it didn't work for me, but at least I can sell the Vario.
Invalsa shipped quickly, but without requiring a signature. Package was missing from my apartment door! I arrived late that day after a night class, and the package was taken in by a neighbor who brought it to me the next day, but having a $450 package not be at my door after delivery and not having an option to make it signature-only irked me.