This thing is legit. It stands on its own as one of the best coffee brewing methods available. Not just for travel or limited use.
Positive Product Points
This thing makes GREAT coffee. The cup quality is its greatest strength. Its not espresso, but you will get some of the flavors of espresso due to the pressure involved in brewing. I prefer it over drip or press pot. Its easy to use and simple to clean up. It travels well, but don't think of this just as a "portable" coffee maker. I use mine regularly at home and prefer it over most brewing methods.
Negative Product Points
The biggest negative is volume. Its great for 1 or 2 cups. You can even run it twice and make up to 4 cups fairly quickly, but any more than that is going to get tedious from having to place the filter, load, pour in water, extract, empty, rinse, and repeat. A drip pot is probably not any faster, but you can go about doing other things while its brewing.
Heating water must be done separately. It works best in conjunction with an electric teapot.
I ignored this thing for a long time because a lot of the reviews talked about how its great for travel or college dorm, etc. I had the impression that it was a good coffee maker If you didn't have access to a "real" coffee maker. This thing is legit on its own. I have used drip machines, moka pots, steam powered "espresso" makers, French press, and some decent pump espresso machines. If I'm not making real espresso from a quality machine, the Aeropress makes my next favorite cup of coffee of all the brewing methods I have tried. Yes, its that good.
Despite what the included documentation says, I wouldn't call the coffee that the Aeropress makes "espresso", but its also not drip or French press. The pressure used in brewing is much higher that French press and the paper filter eliminates any sludge or dirty cup taste you can sometimes get with French press. The result is a very strong cup of coffee that has many of the flavor characteristics of espresso. (I have even managed to get a very tiny amount of crema from it) Its strong, but without the bitter edge you can get from making really strong coffee from a drip machine or press. If you are used to drip, you can water it down 2:1 or even 3:1 to get more volume. Personally, I like less volume and more intense flavor, so I drink it straight or "water" it down with steamed milk for a very smooth pseudo-cappuccino or pseudo-latte.
Clean up is a snap. I find it to be less messy than brewing drip with a metal filter to clean. The coffee comes out clean in a neat little puck. A quick rinse off with some soap and water and you're done. It stores neatly away in drawer - no big machine to leave out on the counter. It comes with 300 filters. I reuse the filters 6-8 times with no problems, so these should last a long time. The filter material isn't anything special. If you do run out, you could cut your own out of a regular drip filter while you wait for your reorder to come in.
Bought through Amazon. Flawless transaction.
Three Month Followup
3 months later, not much has changed. I have since bought a new Gaggia Espresso machine, so I use the aeropress less, but I still prefer it over regular drip. The device has held up just fine and I still have plenty of filters.