First of all, check which supplier your camera will be coming from, as some may not be supplying UK stock. This may affect your ability to get Sony UK to undertake a warranty repair, so be vcareful.
Now, as for the camera: This is an immensely rewarding SLT camera to use - I have now owned the camera 9 months, and have previously used the Sony SLT-a57 and Sony's older a700 DSLR. This is a semi-pro model built to a high standard, which feels solid in the hand. Ergonomics are first rate with dials and buttons falling easily to hand, a good, solid grip, fabulous EVF, and plenty of physical controls, including both front and rear control dials, something you do not get with the cheaper a65 model which shares the same 24MP sensor.
Sony really did put a lot of great features into this camera. It has a blisteringly fast FPS burst rate, slightly limited by its buffer size, admittedly, but still very, very fast. That would be no good if it didn't have an excellent AF module to go with this, but it has the best AF module of any Sony SLT bar the pro-level slt-a99 full frame camera. The AF is fast, accurate and flexible in both single shot and continuous modes. Furthermore, micro focus adjust is available so you can tune the AF system to specific lenses (works best with primes but can be of value with zooms too). There are many menu options and settings to get to grips with, but I am a fan of Sony's no-nonsense straightforward interface, which I find quite intuitive. Help is at hand from Gary Friedman's excellent e-book - available here on Amazon or on his own web site - a real bible for a77 owners and well worth the price for a detailed description of all the many features. GPS is a nice feature - it's effective and doesn't drain the battery too quickly (it can of course be turned off). The a77 has the usual array of a range of focus and metering modes - I have found the metering to be pretty good much of the time though I often dial in a little positive compensation (more on this later). The battery is a relatively powerful one (same across my a57, a700 and a77) and good for around 400-500 shots typically. An excellent battery grip is also available for those doing extended shoots or studio work where vertical orientation may be used a lot (no tethering though, sadly).
Much has been written about the output from the 24MP BIONZ sensor in the camera (also shared in the Sony a65 and most likely in at least one Nikon and Pentax DSLR). At low ISO and when matched with a good lens, the IQ can rival that of medium format, at least in terms of resolution (not in gradations or dynamic range). It really can be breathtaking what can be achieved when you learn to get the most out of this camera and sensor. Don't think you have to use the most expensive Carl Zeiss branded or Sony G lenses either - old Minolta lenses can work very well with the a77 as can highly rated but affordable ones like Sigma's 10-20 and Tamron's 17-50, both of which I have found to perform extremely well with the a77 (watch out for compatability with some older Sigma lenses though - consult the web site Dyxum for further info). I have found the sensor to produce sharp images with wonderful color. I shoot in raw and process in either Adobe Lightroom/ACR or else in DXO Optics Pro version 9. The JPEG engine is only OK, being a bit heavy handed at times with high ISO images - it's hit and miss, sometmies being highly satisfactory, other times being not so good and smudging detail. Raw is the way to go if you have the time and the software to do it (avoid the bundled Sony raw converter as it is hideously slow to use).
The debate about this camera centres on whether or not the 24MP APS-C sensor at its heart is too noisy - it is true that this sensor will leap up and bite you if you under-expose your images - even at base ISO (200) you could get shadow noise in an under-exposed image, and more so than you might expect from other cameras. At high ISO owners have poured over 100% views of raws and complained about more noise than that generated by 16MP sensors. BUT, there are three points to note here: (1) learn to understand the metering on the camera and try not to under-expose unless doing it for artistic reasons; (2) learn not to obsess about 100% pixel peeping view with a 24MP sensor - high ISO images can look a bit worse for wear viewed at 100% magnification on a big monitor but this would equate to a massive poster or billboard size print - it has been demonstrated that when you downsize a77 images to 16MP equivalent they often look as good or better than 16MPimages at high ISO; and (3) shoot raw and use a decent noise cancelling strategy - DXO has automated noise reduction for example, that works very well with the a77 raws - LR is also good, or use NR plugins in Photoshop like Noiseware (very good with a77). I have no worries using ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 raws shot in low light for pro purposes as long as though they have been noise reduced in either DXO or in post processing plugins - if you need ISOs abobe 6400, sure, go for a Canon or Nikon full frame maybe (or tne latest Sony a7r camera). So, in sum, I think the bashing of the 24MP sensor has been over-played especially as almost everyone does some noise reduction in post processing or at raw conversion. I've become a fan of the sensor - shot with care and with a good (not neccessarily expensive) lens, it produces stunning colour and resolution very suitable for pro work.
So, I'm a fan of this camera. Is it perfect? No - it has quirks, such as no auto ISO in M mode, and I find the flash exposure with external flash units can be hit and miss at times (users report the most success with Metz units and the least with Sony units, though some have found firmware updates have solved this (didn't work for me). But it is a joyous camera to use - the immediate feedback you get from the classy EVF is fantastic - it is truly what you see is what you get territory. The EVF is big and clear with plenty of eye relief and is comfortable for wearers of spectacles. At the time it was the best available and is only now being trumped by Olympus in there wonderful micro four thirds cameras. Video is very nice (though capped at a lower max ISO than the 16MP Sony SLTs are) and the AF system excellent for sports, kids running around (much better than my a57 and a700 here) and wildlife. Handling is a dream - making using the camera a pleasure. At times my PC groans when handling the raws and TIFFs from the 24MP sensor so bear in mind your computing and hard disc space requirements! Alos note there is an excellent lens selection available for the Sony alpha mount including superb third party lenses by Tamron, sigma and Tokina, as well as full backwards compatability with the used range of Minolta AF lenses (extensive). Tilt and shift and exotic tele lenses are where there are some gaps in the lens line-up, but these gaps are being filled by third party manufacturers (e.g. Samyang/Rokinon and Sigma).
Writing this in November 2013 this camera is at the end of its life cycle most likely, with a rumoured replacement to be announced around Feb 2014. Current UK prices are around £740 for a genuine UK sourced model, body only. Cheaper prices are available via ebay and Hong Kong if you are brave enough to order from such suppliers. There are some good deals as well with the Sony 16-50 2.8 lens - a very, very nice lens by the way and well worth buying with an a77 if you get a good bundle deal. I recommend wholeheartedly the Sigma 10-20 (the earlier variable aperture version), or the Tokina 11-16, for wide angle needs, and check out the excellent low cost Sony 35 1.8 SAM and 85 2.8 SAM lenses. If money is no object then go for the Sony G pro lenses and Sony Carl Zeiss lenses - superb !
In conclusion - a superb, high performance SLT offering excellent results, especially when paired with good glass. Still a good performer in late 2013, though it has been bettered by Sony's flagship a99 full frame SLT model and anyone buying should be aware it may well be replaced in mid to late 2014 by a new model.
UPDATE, MAY 2014 - Sony have just announced the a77 Maqrk 2 - see the web site dpreview.com for full specifications. It is not a massive update, and they have even taken out some things, like GPS, but upgraded other things - there is now, in the mark 2, auto ISO in M mode, tethered shooting, wi-fi, a new AF module with more AF points and claims of improved AF tracking performance, claims that the EVF and sensor are better. There is no 4K video though, which is starting to be offered in some alternatives such as the Panasonic GH4 or the Sony a7S. I imagine the a77 mark 2 will start off about £1100 in the UK and that the a77 will start to be listed as discontinued soon - look out for some a77 bargains then, as it is still a great camera!