I've gone through maybe 5 hand blenders. They have lasted me 2 years at the most. I burn the motors up with heavy blending, mostly crushing ice cubes to make smoothies. The last one, a 350 watt Oster didn't even make it through a year.
I've had this one for about a month, and it shows every sign of going the distance. I haven't been gentle with mine.
Its two best features are the 550 watt motor which hardly even gets warm during the heaviest lengthiest chores, and the highly convenient speed control. The changable four bladed cutter is also very nice. Even the mini food processor which I initially took to be a throw-away, has turned out to be well-designed and useful.
I recommend that when you first try it out, that you run it on the speed control at a setting of 2. In the highest setting of 5 or Turbo mode, it will tug on your hand so strongly while blending that it may be hard to resist. It is not excessively noisy. Timid people may even find it a little scary at its highest setting due to its ability to tug on its handle during heavy blending.
Due to its ability to blend thick mixtures at maximum speed, you may find that it blends familiar items so that they are smoother than you have ever experienced. It can definately make quick work of just about any blending task.
Like most other small home appliances this one is made in China. It's a little odd to me that it is marketed by a company that seems to be headquartered in Venezuela. It appears from some other comments that they stand behind their products and do have a viable US presence. 15 months is a pretty warranty for a product like this. The portion of the instructions that are in English are a lot skinnier than the ones in Spanish, but what does it take to run a blender and food processor?
Just an update to say that its getting to be a year later, and my blender is still working great. I just did a small job with the food processor acessory and it worked like a charm. It is still crushing big ice cubes and blending thick smoothies without complaints or smells.