DC44 Worth $400?
The answer to the question above will obviously vary from person to person, but I am going to try and provide you with a rather objective answer, balancing both the pros and cons of the DC44 highlighting its differences and similarities to that of conventional vacuum cleaners and overall try and provide a competent answer to your question: Is it worth buying the DC44 Animal?
Firstly ...What is the DC44 Animal?
The DC44 Animal (also known as the 'Agile Dust Destroyer' & Digital Dyson Slim MKII) is essentially an upgrade of that of the Dyson DC35 -- a cordless vacuum that has multiple uses from being a handheld to that of a standard upright vacuum, along with an array of accessories making it useful for almost any cleaning situation.
The fact that it is multi-functional is the primary reason why I beleive the Dyson DC44 Animal is worth the $400 (£280), not only can it be used as an extremely lightweight upright vacuum cleaner (obviously, not as powerful as a conventional upright vacuum cleaner, although it is certainly a marked improvement from that of the DC35 being twice as powerful along with a longer 'run time' -- moreover, it does lend itself well to those with mobility issues too with it being so light 2.2kg) but it can also function as a standard handheld vacuum cleaner similar to that of the Dyson DC34 model, hence it can be used for cleaning difficult andhard to get to places such as the car and ceiling for example (being extremely difficult with that of a big heavy conventional upright vacuum).
I believe the DC44 Animal allows you to essentially get more for your money -- instead of having to pay $400+ for just a conventional upright (which all it can really do is clean your floors etc.) and then another $100+ for a handheld (which it all it can really do is clean your car etc.) you are provided with it all conviniently in one vacuum cleaner, along with an array of accessories and attachments (that allows you to do both and more). Of course -- granted it won't perform as well as the conventional upright (although you would probably be surprised at how well it does actually perform), it will be able to do as a good a job if not better at being a handheld than almost all handhelds on the current market.
Moreover, those who are comparing the standard upright with that of the DC44 are missing the point -- the DC44 Animal isn't aimed for the large household (or to do your entire house) where you are still in need of a conventional upright or cylinder -- instead is aimed and is perfectly designed for the smaller flat or apartment or just the upstairs area i.e for those who don't want to be lugging a big heavy vacuum everywhere, or aren't in need of super suction vacuum to get their floor clean & space is in more of a must.
So Should I Buy the Dyson DC44 Animal?
In all, hopefully you can see what I am getting at -- indeed the Dyson DC44 might not be worth $400 (£280) for everyone -- particularly those who live in a large house, but it serves as the perfect answer (& hence probably will be) for those who are wanting a whole range of jobs doing within a pretty small apartment that is covered in pet hair and a minimum storage space requirement is a priority and might be suffering with slight mobility problems.