I bought this product from Jessops about a month ago and have taken more than a 1000 photos since! I can't stop!!!! Coming from reasonable point and shoots (digital compacts) and superzooms, I expected an improvement going to a DSLR, and I wasn't disappointed. In fact I still surprise myself even after a month. Detail, colour, texture, hues. It's great!
First of all, the 18-70mm kit lens is great. It'll get you great pictures. I bought the Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens in addition, so I've got a good pair. However you soon realise that at the extreme ends, both lenses go soft. The camera is really good, and the quality limit is set by the lens, not the body. Your pictures are really as good as your glass (and of course the person behind the camera!!). I went to Stonehenge with a friend using a Nikon D200, and even though its a much more expensive and better camera, my pictures made him go green with jealousy. If you can compose your shots well, you'll get excellent results every time.
The battery works as well as described. In fact I'd advise that you get large CF cards, since you'll get into a habit of shooting away, and the limit becomes your memory card size rather than your battery!!!
The live-view feature makes it possible to hand the camera over to any passerby, who just clicks away, so you can also be in the picture sometimes. Really useful.
I'm going to add a Sony VCT-R640 tripod. I've borrowed one and it works great with my A300.
My only quirk with the Sony is that it's a bit more difficult to find lenses. I'd recommend you save and buy better lenses rather than cheap ones, since the glass really makes a difference.