I am very skeptical when it comes to--just about everything. Heck, the title of Pragmatic Woodworker should give a clue as to how calculating I can be. Part of my skepticism is:
A) try not to ever do anything first
2) do not conform to the pack, and
iii) never spend money unless you know what you are getting
The Hovarter VX-20 is the exception that proves the rule. I was hooked on this unit merely from recommendation and marketing video (youtube).
I've already placed my pre-order to avoid the rush. Head on over to http://hovartercustomvise.com/ to be part of the pack clamoring for this new vise. :)
I will definitely report on my experience with the VX-20.
I've decided the VX-20 is going to be the center piece (well, left of center) for my new bench. One of the features I'm drawn to is the quick release mechanism. The new bench will have a leg vise on both front legs. I don't want to buy two vises, and I don't want two on at a time. However, I would love to quickly move the vise from one leg to the other to accommodate the handedness of any operation. The VX-20 is the only thing I've seen that gets close to my imagined nirvana.
Handedness of any operation? You see, I was born sinister, cursed to feel the world in my right mind: I'm left handed. I've learned to do many many things with my right hand. This handedness issue comes up a lot in woodworking. Almost every operation has a mirror image of itself as part of completion. Things like dovetails and tenons generally like to be bilateral in form. In my world, I often switch hands to achieve bilateralness. Moving work between sides of the bench is a fact of my woodworking life.
Hopefully I'm not thowing money away on a rose colored vision of the future.