Living in Washington, DC, I have to consider the purchase of winter tires to be a luxury item primarily for mountain weekends. I didn't want the all-seasons on my Honda Fit to keep me from safely getting to various ski destinations anymore. They haven't seen too many snow storms in the 3000 miles I've driven, but when the roads were covered, I was very impressed (relative to the all-seasons). I had no trouble climbing steep snow-covered grades, and felt very confident in my ability to stop, steer, and start moving on multiple snow surfaces. Being on a Honda Fit, I haven't tried them in anything more than about 6 inches unpacked, but I'm very happy with how they've performed. These Dunlops are slightly noisier on dry roads, but the Fit isn't a quiet car to begin with...so it isn't anything overly annoying. I can't really comment on treadwear at this point, but their dry and wet performance (non-frozen) hasn't ever caused me any concern with my driving style (I do occasionally take turns and exit ramps a bit fast).
Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase - I went with a lower-priced winter tire from TireRack since I had never purchased winter tires before and didn't think I'd benefit from any added performance of more expensive models (I walk to work, and don't really drive that much anyway - maybe 8000 miles per year). After a few snow/ice events in town and two very snowy mountain trips, I'm very glad I purchased them. I'd probably need to do a back-to-back test of various winter tire models to convince myself that I should upgrade to a pricier model...at least for my expected usage.