I haven't read this whole thread, but I like my HRC216HXA. I don't have that Versa-cut function some of ya'll mentioned, just a mulching plug. I have had the same issue with some of the clippings falling out of the left side of the bag, however pulling back 6 inches before engaging the clutch will suck them right up.
My only complaint is about the "Micro-cut" dual blade system. This is great for mulching and even bagging on regular length grass and leaves a great cut on normal length, well maintained grass. However in taller (>6") grass/weeds it tends to turn the grass into a paste that gunks up under the deck.
I am, I suppose, somewhat biased because this is all I have ever used. I took over the business from my dad, and I think he has had 4 all together.
What if the hokey pokey really IS what it's all about?!