The handles on the Cuisinart don't bother me at all. Maybe because I have small hands, but I can fit 3 fingers in them with no problem and don't find them awkward at all. As to the pouring shield, I like the fact that when you add flour and/or powdered sugar, you don't have a huge cloud coming out of the mixer. As mentioned in one of the blogs mentioned above, if you spill anything on the top as you're putting in additional ingredients, when you lift up the top to scrape down the sides of the bowl or to remove the bowl from the stand, that stuff will fall onto your counter; I've never had it fall into my batter, however. I personally don't find that to be a big deal as I'll be cleaning my counters when I'm finished any way. But then again...I purposely try very hard not to have any ingredients fall onto the shield and I've gotten pretty good at that. I also love the timer on the mixer. I do use it and it's been very handy. I'm not against KAs, and as mentioned before I still use mine, but I love the larger bowl/capacity of the Cuisinart and wouldn't trade it for the world. My KA, however, is an older model. From what I've heard and read, I'm leery about getting one of the newer KAs. When I was first looking for a newer mixer, I read 6 pages of bad reports on the KAs before I decided I wasn't going to read any more. Some people say the Cuisinart is loud, but I don't find it to be any louder than the KA. It boils down to getting what you're comfortable with. Everyone has their preferences and we all do things "our way", and of course you get use to certain pieces of equipment, so it does boil down to what you're most comfortable with. I wish you luck in making your decision and I'm sure you'll be happy with whatever choice you make.