Well, I picked up this unit from Cabela's yesterday. Managed to get out of the store without me, or my wife, buying anything else - I think that is a first. Anyhow, if you are looking for something quiet, this isn't it. As I mentioned before, the motor is similarly sized to the ones on my mower and snow blower. It isn't any louder than either, but it also isn't much quieter - despite a much larger muffler. Does that mean I don't think it is a good value? No - it still seems to be a decent deal.
I have yet to test it out with some bigger loads as I am waiting for my heavy duty extension cord to get in at my local Ace. Most places don't seem to stock the heavier gauges.
On another note, it was very easy to start. I thought that it was B.S. when I read all the reviews and people said 'started on the first pull,' but I am glad to report that this was also my experience. I put in about half a quart of full-synthetic 10W-30, enough 87 octane gas to give it a test, turned on the fuel, choke and ignition switch and gave the starter cord a light tug and she fired right up - probably didn't need the choke as I immediately shut it off to stabilize. Despite the tags and instructions that say 'no oil in unit' and 'add 0.6 L of oil' it did come with a little oil in it, so keep this in mind when filling with oil for the first time if you buy this, or any other, unit. Put in a little at time and check the level until it is full.
I will report back when I have had a chance to test it with some actual loads on properly sized extension cords.