Pros: Easy setup and use. Generates good amounts of smoke
Cons: Hard to generate good smoke ring. Controller must be kept dry.
I've had my MES now for about 5 months so I can give a much more knowledgeable review of it. I did make the mistake of getting the controller wet while cleaning up after a good smoke and of course, it went wacky. Thankfully, the advice I received on this forum helped me correct the issue as once the controller dried out, it was good to go and strangely enough, worked better than it did brand new. When I told MES customer service about my issue, they sent out a new controller. It wouldn't sync up with my existing remote so they sent a replacement remote as well. Very nice and focused customer service to say the least.
When it comes to long smokes, you really can't ask for a better unit. Once the temps stabilize, all you really have to do is add fuel every several hours. If you're using a AMNS, you may have to add fuel twice on a 15hr smoke. If you're using the enlarged smoke tray in the Gen 2, perhaps 3 refills will do. Particularly on Briskies and Shoulders. Clean up is fairly easy and if you line your waterpan with foil, all you're really dealing with is the racks. I clean my smoker once a month with a light power washing making sure I avoid the controller.
I've had nothing but compliments on the quality of the food this smoker produces. No complaints of "oversmoking" ever. Burnt ends and briskies come out juicy. Cold smoking bacon is a breeze. I did buy the cold smoke attachment for the MES but after getting the AMNS, I really haven't used it since. Poultry is another matter as the temps top out a 275* which is a bit low if you like crispy skin on your birds. I got the larger 6"x 8" AMNS as the MES 40" is roomy enough for it.
All in all, a great gift for anyone wanting to get into this wonderful pastime. It truly is a "gift that keeps on giving".