We received this vacuum fairly quickly; we have a 70lb dog, and tried to get the DC25 "Animal" version for Costco's Black Friday 2011... but missed.
Wife put it together when I was at work, and when I got home, she showed me how full the canister was from the downstairs living/dining area - I was skeptical due to (being an engineer) understanding that seeing the gunk in the canister can make you think it is doing good.
Today, I vacuumed our large master bedroom andd bath area with our Samsung canister (a top rated Consumer Report vacuum from like 6 years ago).
Then, I re-vacuumed it with the Dyson. O.M.F.G... this filled the canister. I agree - it seems like a cheap, gimmicky, full-of-plastic thing. I would not pay full price for it. It was creepy all the fine-grained stuff (ie, dust, skin, etc), plus more pet hair.
Oh yeah - I ordered the "purple" from Woot, with a secret hope - and was correct; we were sent the DC25-ANIMAL!!! Yup, all purple DC25's are the Animal, so I gambled and it paid off.
So, yes, even after vacuuming thoroughly (2x each area) with our Samsung - this thing still lifted a *lot*. I emptied the Dyson canister as it was full, and re-vacuumed the bath area and got maybe a handful more.
I do like that it also easily vacuumed the dog bed, and both of the bathroom floor mats (tub, shower) without sucking them in and clogging the head.
$600 for the DC25 Animal (retail)? No. $249 for the DC25 when we really wanted the "Animal"? Yes, we obviously felt it was a good deal. Spending the $249, selecting "purple" and getting the DC25 Animal? Wow! Very happy.
Again, I feel the plastic is very gimmicky, so I will ensure we're careful not to wear out the clips, buttons, etc.