The reason I bought it is because I wanted something that would fit on my desk while still having a lot of stuff around, such as a Macbook, a PC, a large monitor, multimedia speakers and also audio monitors. It fits exactly at what was left of space on my desk. It is a 2 octaves keyboard. There are a lot of offers around and one may be tempted to buy something that looks flashy and then realize it is too much for what they are doing, or pay a lot less and realize it is not good enough. This is where I am at the moment.
It got "synth action" (?!?!) keys, velocity sensitive but no aftertouch. Modulation and pitch wheels are there, as well as 8 drum pads (also velocity sensitive), transport keys, 8 knobs, transpose buttons, a couple of other function buttons and a slider. The display is 3 digits. For a MIDI controller of this price, I would say it does exactly what it should: it can input notes and lets you do some drumming. If you are not into playing heavy stuff and instead focus more on making beats, inputting some simple rhythms or need to control a few other things, then this might be for you.
However, if you already have a synthesizer experience, with good and fast keys and easy to use, then it might not be for you. The manual provides the basic information to start using it, and if you need detailed information, go to the homepage. I still think the documentation is not good enough, there is no concrete example of anything, even assigning controls to the bundled software (Ableton Live Lite). For Garageband, and I suspect it is the same for other DAWs, you need to download a profile so it can use the transport keys. In Auto mode, it will control the DAW, if it is off, then it controls the active plugin. I hope you guys have better luck than me on other DAWs, since in GB the only way I could assign a parameter to a knob was when the plugin had the MIDI Learn button, but without it, it is up to the DAW to allow the assignment.
I know the price point of this controller, but I still think a 3 digit display no longer has space on the market today. This thing is from 2014!!! A 3 digit display?!?! And the keyboard feel, after playing the clacky and precise DX7 keys, Oberheim OB-Xa fast keybed, this excellent Sledge v2, I have to say this "synth action" is not for me. The drum pads don't seem to be sensitive enough for fast hitting. If you are going to do mostly 4/4 or those slow/groovy beats, and instead rely more on a drum/rhythm machine for the dirt job, this controller will fit you no problem. However, if you record fast-paced stuff like I do with video game music remix, the pads don't seem to respond so fast and misses some beats. Of course, one can always use the piano roll to fix what is out of place (or missing), but if you are like me who wants to get it right as much as possible in the playing stage, then the DAW is more a tool for music production than for music correction. It is like in photography, you want to get it right on the camera and not just shoot anything, take to the computer and hope for the best.
The other problem is how the function programming works. You have some buttons like Edit, Shift, which will trigger some modes where you need to press the key corresponding to the funtion you want, then things start blinking, and this damn 3 digits display really doesn't help. I don't like to waste my time figuring out this stuff, if I don't feel comfortable or have pleasure with my instrument, my productivity drops a lot. But as I said, it is just me, if your focus is on beat making, turning knobs and controlling other things, then go for it. Hey, if it is good enough for Kraftwerk then it should be good enough for us, yes? Even though they use tablets, pads and other stuff for visual feedback.
As for competition, the market is flooded with a lot of junk and a lot of the same things. You will find controllers in the same price range of compact synthesizers, but these allow you to immediatelly make sound while the former sometimes don't even offer a proper software bundle. Dude, this Ableton Live Lite thing comes in pretty much any piece of gear you buy. If it doesn't have a proper software or good interface or integration, then invest on something else that offers this. I never tried, but that Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol looks great. Today I ordered something else that seems to offer great quality and integration, as well as an excellent software pack, I hope to have it next week. And it fits my desk.
In the end, there is nothing wrong with it except for this 3 digits display. Are you kidding me... beat makers, hobbists, you will have this controller for a bit more than 100USD and have your needs fulfilled. Synthesizer players, pianists, video game or fast-paced music players, you may want to look for something else that gives you the feel (and joy) of playing a real instrument.