Bob Logan's earlier review was dead on, so I'll concentrate on building upon his thoughts. The Technivorm makes great drip coffee, but so does a manual Melitta cone. So why spend $159? Convenience, consistency, and quality. I didn't like checking the temperature of the brewing water with a thermometer. My Bodum Santos makes great coffee (most of the time) but is too much bother to use in the morning before work.
What makes the Technivorm different than other drip brewers? Two things: correct brewing temperature and construction. Without debating the virtues of brewing at 200F instead of 185F, let me just say that I have measured the Technivorm's brew temp and it's perfect. A short time into the brew process, the temperature of the grounds reaches 201-202F and stays there until the end. I have seen other tests where the temperature was closer to 197F, which is good as well. Enough said on brew temperature.
As for the construction, it appears that this brewer will last a long, long time. Most drip coffeemakes LOOK substantial, but are just a balloon of lightweight plastic. The little swinging baskets break. The white plastic discolors. The Technivorm feels more like a real appliance. It brews quietly. Almost serenely. It sounds well made. No sputtering or spitting at the end. In fact, the loudest sound you'll hear is the coffee splashing into the carafe.
On the Technivorm, the main body is a handsome, thick alloy metal -- at least on the "chrome" model. There are some plastic parts, but the material itself is a bit thicker and harder than the plastic used in most coffeemakers. The tube which carries the heated water through the unit is glass which makes it easy to see when descaling is necessary AND when it is complete.
The carafe is a very good stainless steel model, inside and out. While I haven't attempted to measure the heat loss per hour, it keeps the coffee plenty hot while it's still young enough to drink, provided you preheat it with some hot tap water. The pouring spout is good, but it pours widely, so you can't pour directly into certain types of containers, like a Thermos bottle for the road. I think I'd prefer, however, a carafe with a glass liner which can be more thoroughly cleaned than stainless steel. Boyd's does sell replacement carafes (in black or white) for only $25, so I'm guessing that these must be glass-lined.
There's an old-fashioned feel to the design of this unit. The thermal unit has a retro look and some design "features" that seem to go along with it. No automatic anything here. No clock. No auto shutoff. No built-in whirly grinder. It just makes great coffee, but you might miss one or two common modern conveniences here.
The unit must be shut off manually. Removing the carafe will also turn off the power, however. This is a very nice feature, as I confess to having started a brew cycle without the carafe in place one or twice in my life. Once the stopper is placed in the carafe, it will no longer fit in its place underneath the filter holder. This feels odd to me, but it guarantees that the power will stay off once you've covered the carafe. It also means that you must leave the cover off the carafe when the brewer is sitting unused -- that is if you want to store the carafe in its "usual" position under the filter cone. That's okay with me, since I prefer to leave it open to dry and air out anyway. I put the lid in the filter holder when its not in use.
There is a manual lever on the filter cone which sets the drip hole partially closed for brewing a half-pot (I assume, since the manual does not address this), and fully closed when you want to prematurely pour a cup or perhaps dump the grounds before they're compelely drip-dry, so to speak. That's fine, but I could imagine someday forgetting to set the valve open and having a bit of a mess on my hands. There is a sort of crude overflow valve near the top of the filter cone which will allow overflowing coffee to drip down the outside of the cone and, presumably, into the carafe.
The water is poured over the grounds via a faucet-like arm as opposed to a spray head. I have found that with the volume of coffee I use, it take awhile for all of the grounds to get thoroughly saturated. Fortunately, the Technivorm allow you easy access to the grounds during brewing, so a quick stir shortly after brewing begins ensures even wetting and extraction. I'm guessing that a spray head mechanism might cause the water to cool excessively while dripping, so all things being equal, I think I prefer being able to stir the grounds during brewing.