The best lens I've ever used. Alright, so I'm not a professional, but this lens is amazing. I used to have the kit lens, both the 18-55 and 55-200 (as well as a few lenses from a film nikon), but 55 is pretty much the sweetspot, you take wildlife and you want more zoom, and for many scenery shots you want less. Switching lenses is a pain, time consuming, and often results in a dirty sensor.
With the 18-200mm of zoom, the desire to switch lenses simply doesn't exist. Yea, it would sometimes be nicer to have 14mm or even less, but this lense is pretty impressively small, feels good to use, and works amazingly well. Look at pro-reviews for things like moir or light falloff or even distortion, but as far as for enthusiast use, its perfect. A single lense which can do anything
And VR (vibration reduction) really does work. While its certainly not the end-all, it does allow some decently long shots. It even allowed me to take some pictures of drifting at night which came out decently (without VR you couldn't even tell they were cars at 1/10th of a second, 200mm zoom).
Its so perfect for backpacking or outdoors though as it covers all the common ranges needed, and while heavier then a lens with less range it is the only lens you need to carry (except perhaps a wide-angle) and is thus reasonable in weight.
It would honestly be a bargain at twice the price, at only $800 its a steal. I really cannot recommend it enough.