First impression.. holy SHIT, is this thing sensitive. In a good way, I mean. I guess it's the whole heat retention thing, but fuckin' A. If you move the damper(s) only a half inch, the temp will change 100 degrees in a matter of a minute. You can literally watch the thermometer move. I'm so used to big metal smokers that this is sort of shocking.
I don't know if you can tell by the pic, but the lower damper is open about a quarter inch, top damper about 3/4 inch, and it's maintaining about 450 F. This motherfucker burns hot as hell.
I cooked 6 burgers and 5 sausages (two separate shifts) in about 40 minutes, including lighting the coals and preheating. The normal-sized load of lump charcoal I put in is less than 10% burned after almost an hour.
I left the electric starter in the coals for 8 minutes, per the directions, pulled it out, then closed the lid and opened the dampers all the way and it hit 250 F within about 20 seconds!
I haven't tried smoking yet, but I'm very much looking forward to it. This thing is crazy. I've very happy so far, but it's definitely very different than everything I'm used to.