Your statement ("the elimination of the shortcuts makes Evernote both inept and sluggish") was pretty clear to me. You can stand by that all you want, but shortcuts are in fact not eliminated: the Evernote term for what these things are is, after all, "shortcuts" (so by definition, they're still there), moreover, their function is to make actions like locating a set of notes is a lot simpler than doing it manually (unarguably true). For those folks who with to use the screen real estate to show the shortcut list, there is hardly any loss of convenience; for others, as I noted, they sure are a lot less convenient. This is not evangelism (which has somehow become a dirty word), it's just pure fact. Another fact is that personally, I don't actually care for shortcuts having moved down from the toolbar, and I browbeat dlu about that when they first appeared in the first prereleases, and advocated pretty strongly for the return of them to the toolbar. That being said, I am able recognize that shortcuts are useful functionality, and the their syncability (a feature new to v5, I think) is also useful to some people, even while disagreeing with one aspect of their deployment. That may not be a full-throated defense of shortcuts, but it's certainly more than a "half-hearted positive comment".
I think Evernote's foresight is above everyone's else. They foresee that in the future everybody will be carrying 19" (yes it's nineteen inch) or bigger tablets that why they decided to put the shortcut bar at the left panel to occupy the screen space and they left the toolbar with so much empty space. I think Microsoft should really take the lead and stop making their ultraslim and compact Surface Pro tablets and make bigger tablets like 19" or bigger.
As for the ability to synchronise shortcuts across platforms or whatever, how often to people change their shortcuts? My shortscuts are there for many months without changing, and I only need to set them up once on every device I use. However I click on the shortcuts many times a day!!! Again Evernote must have the foresight to foresee that shortcuts are constantly changing (maybe several times a day) so the need to synchrnoise across device or platforms.