I am in Japan and use a $30 Yamazen 1300 watt IH hotplate as my only cook top. I have been extremely happy with it. I look forward to replacing it with a double one eventually for $200.
It is very responsive and I have had no problem doing anything from simmer to boil.
I have used it virtually every day now, usually multiple times for 10 months and it still seems to be doing well. It is on the low end of the IH units here so I would imagine the pricier ones would be even better.
Don't regret the purchase for a second. And with mine, the safety cut off for no pan on top is 10 seconds, so plenty of time to flip things or switch pans without it turning off.
I would have no problem with any Japanese brand, they seem to be well experienced in this technology.
Last year we undertook a kitchen reno and I installed a Miele induction cooktop after much research. I'm happy to report that the unit has exceeded my expectations and I'm delighted with its responsiveness and precision.
Prior to this I had cooked on a number of portable induction burners and owned 2.
My first was a Eurodib commercial grade unit that I purchased at a restaurant supply store at a time when induction wasn't very common at all. I really enjoyed its precision but it was exceedingly noisy due to the fan. After about a year of use it simply died. Disappointing considering we'd paid quite a bit for it.
mr bc subsequently bought me an All Clad induction burner. It works very well, isn't nearly as noisy as my prior unit and looks beautiful. That said, I would never have purchased this unit myself. Pricing on induction burners have come down considerably in the past 2 years and in this case, I believe you're paying for the AC name and, of course it does seem to have been well constructed as you'd expect from AC.
If you're in the market for an induction burner, I'd highly recommend this method of cooking and if a portable unit makes sense for you then I'd suggest taking a look at Costco. I believe folks on this board have reported seeing them there at a very reasonable price for a quality brand (under $100).
They are awesome. I have a cheapie at work that I toss in a desk drawer and a SupenTown one in the apartment. I'll probably upgrade it to max out the power from a standard household outlet since the stove is garbage.
Fast response is really nice. On a household circuit, you are limited to 1800W maximum but, that is still pretty good for everything but 8 quarts of cold water. I use Debuyer iron pans a lot and induction makes an awesome fried egg on a crepe pan (crepes are pretty darned good too!).
re: Sid Post
I don't have one yet, but I've looked at some portable units. One I was interested in I rejected when I found out it turned off just a few seconds after removing the pan, then required some action to restart after setting the pan back down. This doesn't work for me. When I flip a crêpe, I don't want to be hurried, and I don't the annoyance of restarting the unit if I take a little too long. This characteristic is crucial, but it is never discussed in the published specs. Do have any experience with whether this is a problem with Sunpentown?
I had thought I wanted one for Christmas but it looked like we needed an electrician to improve any outlets that I intended to use for the induction burner, so the idea has been shelved. I have heard they are a vast improvement if you happen to be stuck with a glass flat top stove, which I do have and I really hate waiting for a big pot of water to boil.