Pros: Hot coffee, stainless steel thermal carafe, ease of use.
Cons: It's tall, a possible problem. The carafe lid could be more ergonomic.
I've had a number of coffee makers over the decades and this is my favorite to date!
I've had Mr. Coffee machines and similar from various manufacturers. They all slobbered like a St. Bernard when I poured a little bit too fast, and they rendered the coffee undrinkable in less than an hour from cooking it on the appropriately-named "burner." I always broke the glass carafe before the coffee maker gave out and was never happy enough with the quality of the coffee to seek out a new carafe. Easier to buy a whole new coffee maker than find a replacement carafe.
I loved the coffee from my glass Melitta that I poured nearly boiling water into, waited for it to drip, then poured some more in increments until the carafe was filled. Of course the coffee cooled down quickly with no burner, but it didn't get nasty. I was tired of the pouring-and-waiting process by the time I broke it accidentally.
Even more hands-on was my French coffee press. I boiled water in a kettle and filled it, set a timer on the stove, then plunged it if I was around when the timer went off. If I missed it, the coffee would "cook" for several minutes too long before I remembered it. The coffee got cold and always contained grounds. It was a pain to wash because of the grounds in the bottom. Tasty coffee with a high hassle coefficient, and eventually (wait for it!) I broke it.
I tried an expensive Cuisinart machine for a short time but returned it because it was too complicated to use. Maybe I'm just old and stupid, but brewing coffee shouldn't require sitting down with a manual for the weekend before you brew your first cup. The glass carafe breathed an audible sigh of relief when it left my house.
I ended up back with a Mr. Coffee I borrowed until I knocked the glass carafe off the counter. I never really cared for the taste of the coffee, especially after it burned for half an hour or more, so I went coffee maker shopping.
I chose the Zojirushi EC-BD 15 after reading online reviews. Finally, I've found the coffee maker of my dreams!
It uses Melitta-type filters, #4, which seem to make the best-tasting coffee when combined with very hot water, which the Zojirushi provides. The hot coffee drains into the stainless steel carafe and the coffee maker turns off. The thermal carafe keeps the coffee hot for hours without burning it (or burning down the house, which I worry about if I leave and forget to turn the coffee burner off).
I think that the button placement is just fine. They're high enough off the countertop that I don't bump them when wiping the counter. I'm a bit puzzled by comments that the buttons are on the side; mine are on the front with the carafe on the left, so maybe the design changed.
Edited to add: The only "special feature" is the timer. The clock and timer work like a standard digital alarm clock so the process was easy to learn.
I've found the Zojirushi's coffee to be hotter than what I got from any of my previous coffee makers. Naturally, if you add cold milk, the coffee will cool down. (I'm not sure how a coffee maker manufacturer could address that problem, unless they added a milk steamer.) But sans cold milk, the coffee stays hot for several hours in the carafe without burning. I don't pre-warm the carafe and the coffee is hot enough for me, but I don't like it tongue scaldingly hot as some people do. But, hot coffee poured into a cold ceramic cup plus milk cold from the fridge might need warming up in the microwave. Every coffee maker I've owned is like this and I expect this to be the case forever, or until that lady's lawsuit against McDonald's for serving too-hot coffee is forgotten.
The carafe lid has to be rotated to pour. I have another thermal carafe that has a button to press, which is easier. Maybe in its next incarnation the Zojirushi will feature a better design, but this is small potatoes.
You can take the carafe to another room or outdoors, so it'll be handy for entertaining on the back porch. The pouring rate is leisurely, but it's no slower than pouring from a Mr. Coffee carafe at a rate that doesn't slop coffee all over the counter. And I hope the stainless steel carafe is tough enough to survive the occasional drop to the floor, which is in its future, I promise.