I never understood the Dyson hype until we picked one of these up. This vacuum works amazingly well. We use it primarily on hardwood and hard surfaces and picks up every last spec of dirt.
It's easy to clean with the bag less canister and the small filter under that just needs to be rinsed every so often.
Activating the beater is done via a small knob near the base of the vacuum. A little more about that and the suction. This thing almost works too well. On thin area rugs, the vacuum has so much suction, it will pull the rug into the beater, and make a rather unpleasant "Hey there...I'm not working properly..." noise. Simple workaround, use the hard floor mode on thinner area rugs. On thicker area rugs, it's just fine. Again, it works wonderfully on hard surfaces.
Minor gripes: It's got a little heft to it, so be mindful of the weight. The extendable hose works best if you're using it to clean stuff that's above the vacuum. If you're trying to clean low areas, it takes some finagling.
Overall, we're impressed. We've had this for about a year (I think...got here on woot) and we're still amazed with how well it cleans.