If you want a time served, proven waterproof jacket at a great price then you should take a peek at the Torrentshell. This probably isn't the jacket to take on Arctic expeditions or into relentless hardcore weather but for the everyday hiker it's a winner.
The simplicity starts with the zips, which operate snag free and smoothly but aren't adorned with a shiny waterproof coating, instead relying on a simple internal/external storm flap combo to stop water seepage through the jacket. In all but the worst conditions this works well.
The two hand pockets are placed slap bang in the middle of where your pack hipbelt sits, which is less than ideal but this leaves space for pit zips - a relative rarity in waterproof hiking jackets but a very welcome addition in the Torrentshell. The fabric feels breathable on steep climbs but the pit zips provide an easy escape route for excess hot air and moisture when things get particularly sweaty.
The hood brim isn't wired but the slightly stiffer material provides a good channel for rain to be routed away from the face. The volume adjuster is a bit fiddly to use (minor gripe) but once you've grasped it in your hands and pulled it taut the hood provides adequate protection and moves with your head without any loss of peripheral vision.
Chin wiggle room is good with the hood up, but comfort isn't top on the list - there's no flecce backing. Sitting quite low on the face the chin also doesn't provide ninja levels of face coverage but it's good enough to keep the worst of the weather out.
The cut of the jacket is easily loose enough for layering and I find arm articulation to be spot on, without any unnecessary tugging at the shoulders.
The generous material continues down the arms and the cuffs sit neatly over the backs of the hands, you can adjust the fit of these using basic Velcro closures. The hem finishes relatively high on the body, just above the bum on me (6ft 2" tall, medium jacket). Twin drawcord adjusters allow cinching of the hem against wind, rain and cold.
Comfort is okay in the Torrentshell, although the 2.5 layer fabric is crinkly and can feel clammy. The 50D face fabric is impressive considering the low weight of 343g, other jackets in the lightweight category might have face fabrics as low as 20D and might therefore be less durable. The jacket packs into its own pocket and compresses down to a nice small size for easy stowing in luggage or backpacks.
Patagonia's proprietary H2No waterproof membrane seals out moisture effectively, we couldn't find specs for this but suffice to say that it keeps the rain out. As with all waterproof jackets you get a bit of wetting out in high abrasion areas but you can generally rely on the Torrentshell to keep you dry in rough weather.
Overall, if you're looking to spend very little money on a simple waterproof jacket from a top brand then you can't go far wrong with the Torrentshell.