Sound — 10
Prefer to play mostly finger picking style, Tommy Emmanuel (though I don't pretend to play near that well) and traditional stuff. Seems to suit this very well with an amazing full rich sound that I often think sounds more like a piano than most guitars I have heard. Have had a bunch of more experienced players remark on the quality of the sound, with my most recent teacher, only knowing it was a maton, thinking it was one of the higher end Australian series guitars. Played a few other guitars and, apart from the Messiah, this seems to be their equals. Played a couple of lower end Martin's and Cole Clarks and the sounds was markedly better. I only play acoustically (plug in occasionally for the fun of it, but if I want plugged in, I play the electric), so can't comment about the pickup. The Cole Clark, though apparently great plugged in, just sounded really flat compared to this (despite being full solid). Great sound for the money.
Overall Impression — 9
For a 'entry-level but quality' guitar, I have found this to be excellent. I play it about 80% of the time, having pretty switched from electric, just sounds a lot sweeter to my ears. Have essentially adjusted the style of music I play, to be able to play this better. If someone stole it, or it got lost I would either replace or think about up-grading it to one of the higher end Maton's. For the money this really does seem to beat the rest. It is a custom version though, so might be a select guitar. I got it for the standard non-pickup, non-cutaway price, and can't complain as it was half the new price. Great Guitar!
Reliability & Durability — 10
Been playing it for about a year now, no issues besides the need for a truss rod adjustment and the change of action. Plug in once in a while for the fun of it and the pick-up works flawlessly. DOn't play agressively so won't comment on gig reliability, but appears very well built and robust compared to other guitars I have played (a couple of lower to mid-end Yamaha's - both of which were nice, but dead sounding comparatively).
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Mine had been sitting in a case for awhile I think - supposedly and unwanted present. Needed to have the fret board adjusted and the action lowered (was really high, though not unplayable). Once this was done it stays in tune amazingly despite serious weather changes and rarely needs more than a minor tune-up even after I get back from two to three week trips away (too often, need to find a guitar I can take with). Great finish, which seems to be pretty robust, even though it seems quite thin. Like the matt finish as it doesn't show minor scratches that I have managed to keep to minimum anyway. Tuning machines are easy and fluid and seem to adjust without complaint. The standard Elixir strings are something I have stuck with and definitely rate highly.
Features — 9
Mine was made in 2008 and purchased 'second hand' from Cash Converters. Clearly had never been played. Solid Sitka spruce top, queensland maple back and sides (QLD maple is a eucaplyt I think so gives a nice full sound). Standard configuration EM225C, except a custom antique sunburst paint (didn't like at first, but growing on me. Has the AP4 Pickup.