I think as a drum machine its quite good. Being digital and lacking outputs etc, I would've liked to see access to deeper synth functions and parameters.
I agree with griffin somewhat in that I think the step keys aren't very good, I would prefer a softer material, similar to the rubber used in the sp303/404 pads. It would've made tap programming a lot better I think. I'm glad they used a 16 step format rather than just adopting MPC pads though.
There arent many actual 'drum machines' nowadays. You often hear people claiming they want a drum machine, but then they always want it to do things and make sounds that drum machines don't really make/do. One of the first things I heard from the new Elektron box was a bass sound, and when I finally heard the percussion from it, I wasn't impressed. In that sense, the TR8 compares well to the rytm and most other new drum machines, as it features a solid sound set that is instantly usable, no messing with sound sculpting etc using limited resources.
I don't fully agree with the TR8 as far as innovation, features, design etc. I think it focuses too much on the 808/909 aspect as a selling point, while the missing song mode/patterns/fill and lack of sequencer features limit it. But having now messed around with one a bit I think that if I did own one, I would end up using it as much as I did my real 808 and 909, so I guess in the end I can't really complain.
If nord made the Nord Drum into a drum machine of nord quality with a solid step sequencer I would never look back, I think thats one the few machines of recent years to have its own character, and one of the few that has really caught my attention sound wise.
Come on Bennett.... Let's Party!