Previous owned crock pots have been various sizes and colors. The color is mute for me as long as it gets the job done. I am not crazy about stainless steel and keeping it clean but that is just a preference. Every one I have owned has simple operations about it, which I am very much OK with. I have also owned round and oval. The oval ones can fit your meat cuts as well as all the things added to it so much better than round. That being said, I invested in this one as a spare after the awesome price on it. I couldn't pass it up. This is stainless steel, with an 8.5 QT black crock in it. It has just the few settings of Off, High, Low, and Auto Defrost. The only other settings I have tried on previous models is Warming, I have as yet to try the Auto Defrost on this unit. Storing this size is a challenge but I am up for that challenge considering the benefits outweigh that. The unit itself performs just as well as any other brands I have owned before. I rely quite a bit on mine, and the size is even better as I will cook up a lot, then freeze the remainder for future meals. As for reviews I had read previously it seems that getting too hot is the biggest obstacle. Just like tweaking recipes to fit my likes, adjusting to the getting hot is not a big thing to me. It might be for someone else who is setting it before they leave the house etc. and then checking on it later to find out you have a dried out mess. So in that respect maybe a timer for the unit would work better, just set it and forget it. Which I believe was the original concept for the use of a crock pot. I do like that there are those honest reviews so I can make an informed decision for my use. The other thing I wanted to point out is washing the crock itself can be awkward due to the size and weight, but if you have a dishwasher then this is helpful.