The Windburner is a great example of the 'stove system' design that has become so popular over the last decade or so. With a burner that clips onto the bottom of the pot and effective wind shielding and heat exchangers built in, the efficiency of these units is far beyond the standard open burner and pot combo. Not only does this heat water faster, but uses less gas for each operation - meaning you have to carry less fuel. We found the tall pot/narrow base format did limit the amount of 'real' cooking we could do, but for brewing up or rehydrating dried meals, this design was hard to beat. Sporting a flat burner ring you can put other pots and pans onto the Windburner, so proper cooking isn't ruled out, but MSR themselves offer other pots and a frying pan that also have the heat exchanger and clip to mate up perfectly if you wanted to re-visit your wallet.
We used the stove to great effect even in brisk winds and exposed spots where, on a recent blustery winter's day of 5 degrees C, it managed to boil half a litre of water in a snappy 2 minutes 10 seconds. No attempt was made to shelter the stove, it was just lit where we sat. That was impressive, even among other compact stove systems we have owned.
Lighting is one area it differs from many of its competitors - unlike them it doesn't sport a piezo ignitor. At first we felt this was a loss, until remembering we generally carry some sort of backup lighter anyway - you only need a piezo to let you down once on a trip to realise they aren't infallible. It does mean more faff when lighting, putting a match or spark to it before clipping the pot on, but this isn't a deal breaker and the Windburner performance was so good we would happily overlook many more pertinent shortcomings.