Maybelline has very good basic products. The mascara and eyeliner are second to none. The colors they offer in the black and brown shades are the same as the higher priced lines. Some lip products that they have do not taste as good as the more expensive lines so I would stick with the eye products.
Many people have a reaction to Maybelline cosmetics. They are not suited for sensitive skin. Personally, I think their makeup looks cakey and rather gross. I think you get what you pay and I wouldn't use Maybelline.
As far as long lasting quality you will probably do better with department store brands, but Maybelline has the best mascaras, hands down. They don't smudge, flake, or wear off and they are easy to wash off.
Yes, they absolutely are, and sometimes I find that they are even better. Most cosmetic companies use all the same ingredients. Generally the biggest difference between Maybelline and the brands that you are curious about is the price and the packaging.
Depending on what kind of makeup you want Maybelline does compare to department store brands. Sometimes with drugstore cosmetics the makeup doesn't last as long but with Maybelline I've not had that problem.