I wasn't sure about this lens until I had a play with one at Focus On Imaging Trade show a couple of years ago. I found the lens to be solidly made and a useful focal length on a DX Camera (this lens is no good for FX use). The equivalent 35mm/FX focal length is 127.5mm, which is right in the middle of the most popular micro lenses like the 105mm Nikkor and the 150mm Sigma.
The build quality of this lens is mid range, with a plastic outer barrel. It's a level up from the kit lenses (eg 18-55, 18-105) but a step below the popular pro level lenses like the 17-55mm f2.8 or the 70-200mm f2.8 VR. It feels quite light, and doesn't take up much more space in my camera bag than my 50mm f1.4
I would say this lens is only really useful in well lit conditions as, compared to other prime lenses with their fast maximum aperture of 1.4 or 1.8, f3.5 feels very slow. VR is obviously a bonus, particularly on a short telephoto lense like this, but it doesn't help freeze action.
I haven't used any other macro lens from any manufacturer, so I can't compare the macro qualities or sharpness with them. The sharpness is more than adequate though and still very good compared to other primes. You can take some very impressive photos with this lens, just don't expect to be getting world beating insect photos straight from the box, as I think you need quite a bit of lighting and extension tubes etc to get the pro quality macro shots you see in magazines.
All in all, I'm pleased with my purchase and for the money it's a great buy to dip your toe into the macro world and see if it's something you want to invest more money in.