I have an Akorn and a UDS, and paid less for both than I would have for a 22.5 WSM. When I am cooking for a crowd, I use the UDS. The Akorn is great for shoulders and smaller briskets, but you would have trouble fitting an 18lb packer on it.
But, when I am smoking a rack of ribs, a fatty, some chicken wings, or the like just for me (my wife is a vegetarian), the Akorn does a great job for smoking. The Akorn is also very easy to get going. For smoking, I just bury a starter cube in the lump and let it do its thing. For grilling, I start a small chimney. Either way, it is up to temp in 30 minutes, which is not much longer than a gasser.
In my opinion, the ceramic cookers are too fragile and too expensive. I may eventually get a Big Joe or XL BGE, but it is more of a luxury than anything. The Akorn performs very well, is easy to move around, does not cause anxiety, and is easy on the pocket book.
And when you need the extra space, the UDS fits the bill. It is much cheaper than a 22.5 WSM, does the same thing, and gives you a sense of accomplishment for building it yourself. Plus, a UDS just looks cooler.