Summary: As I said above, I've had mine for over 6 years and still it works, which I probably would not be able to say about the Hitachi that I saw at the hardware store from where I made the purchase. The Hitachi base was mostly plastic, and the sliding arm was rickety and weak.
Pros: Base is sturdy and made of metal, unlike cheap competitors. Sliding arm is stable at full extension. The motors are Chinese, I believe, but Dewalt Quality standards are obviously higher than that of Hitachi or Ryobil, etc. I have had mine for 6+ years now and it has not broken down at all.
Cons: 8.5 inches can't make the thicker cuts that a 12" can, so for 140 bucks more the Dewalt 12" might be your answer.