First of all: This calculator is truly worthy of the full 5 stars, if any is. Because it is the most capable, the most efficient, the most customizable and flexible, traditional calculator in existence, while also being a powerful math tool with its CAS-system. And I cannot imagine being without it.. In fact I have two. One at home, one at work. I also feel that this calculator is remarkably cheap. For what you get. For that reason, too, it deserves 5 stars.
The criticism from some reviewers here is fully understandable though, given their viewpoint, and somewhat relevant. Still, the worlds best, and most elegantly powerful to use, simply just has to have 5 stars.
Secondly - though this calculator can be used in both algebraic- and RPN-mode, you should use it exclusively in RPN-mode. Now that doesn't mean that its algebraic mode is in any way inferior to any other algebraic calculator. It's just that algebraic/infix cannot in any way measure up to RPN. Quite frankly - you're a fool if you believe so. Just learn RPN. It's quite easy and you'll never regret it.
To my knowledge, there are today only two RPN-capable calculators in production. This HP 50G, and the new HP 35S. Surprisingly, these calculators are quite different, HP 50G is not a big brother to HP 35S. Though both are RPN calculators, their underlying systems are quite different. The 35S is in comparison primitive and resembles classic programmable HP calculators, like the HP 65, HP 55, HP 25, HP 29, HP 41. Memory is fixed registers, programs are in explicit lines corresponding to key-presses. Program control is branch to labels or line numbers. All this has it's advantages for some people, mainly - less is faster to learn. ...But:...
The 50G is a completely different beast. It belongs to HP's "RPL-system"-branch of calculators, which includes the HP 28-family, HP 48-family and HP 49/50-family. You will fall in love with RPL, when you learn and realize the wonderful things you can do. Memory management is more like in a computer, with folders and free variable names. Everything is handled as objects, in the same way, both on the stack and in storage. A simple number, a vector, a matrix, a text, algebraic expressions, entire systems of equations, an arbitrarily complex object contained in a list, a program, a path,.. - everything is handled in the same way. And can be operated upon with an arbitrarily complex custom function, with a single press of a menu key.
The con is of course the steep learning curve. Right out of the box, most people will probably feel lost, and if they try to use it directly, they will quickly become frustrated. There is good help for that though. The first thing a new HP 50G user should do, is to work through the new companion HP 50G quick-start guide, in one single sitting. That will take a couple of hours, but after that you will be able to use the calculator. If you don't get the printed quick-start guide with the calculator, it's downloadable from the net as a .pdf file. The second thing you should do, is to check out a YouTube user by the name of rolinychupetin. (no, it's not me) He has done a number of HP 50G tutorials, available for viewing on YouTube. They're named HP01, HP02, HP03 etc. You should view them in order. Just search on YouTube with "rolinychupetin HP01:" etc.
The advanced user will also need the +800 pages 'HP 50G user's guide' that comes in .pdf on a CD with the calculator. Those wanting to customize their HP 50G with programming will need a somewhat obscure but vital document called: HP 50g/49g+/48gII graphing calculator advanced user's reference manual. Look for the "c02836298.pdf" file on HP's calculator web site. This lists and explains all functions in detail, in alphabetic order.
The HP 28, HP 48 and HP 49/50 families have a very similar ground. Everything you could do on the earlier families, you can also do on the HP 50g, in mostly the exact same way. I could easily port all my old UsrRPL-programs from my HP28s to my HP48G+, and then again to my HP50g. This also means that any old material on programming and computing things, you find for the earlier calculators, is viable for the HP50g, but the functions and buttons won't be in the same places. Also there is sometimes a better way available on the newer calculators.
There are calculators with fancier displays, more RAM and fancier input thingys. But make no mistake: There is no more powerful, efficient or more elegant to use calculator. This is the only RPN&RPL calculator available (of recent manufacture). For me, this means there exists no alternative.
As for the quality, I find it pretty good. It's at least as good as the competition I've seen. Likely, it won't last as long as the old classic HP calculators, built like tanks. But only time will tell and cost is just a small fraction of what you had to pay for the old, back in the days.