I have not used any of the higher priced gimbal heads, so my praise of this product may be skewed by such lack of comparison. However, I can comment on it's use vs. three other Bogen heads that I also own and use extensively: the 486-RC2, the 701-RC2, and the 501. All are built well, and operate in a acceptable range of smoothness for their given design. But none have been a good match for my ~7 lb 20D+grip/Sigma 150-500 kit. Of course easier tilting from better balance is achieved through the center of gravity design that gimbals are built for. However, what struck me immediately about this in use was just how silky smooth the 393 movement is in both axes. And although the kit that I currently use is no heavy weight compared to many of the bazookas out there, it clearly receives great benefit from support in the field for long sessions. Most noteworthy for smaller teles with shorter mounting brackets like the 150-500, is that I find the lens balances better when the support is set in the advertised up position with lens hanging. This seems opposite to most reported heavy lens users who like to set up in the traditional bracket down position.
I've read all of the complaints of this bracket: it's too big and heavy, it doesn't have a tilt lock beyond the tension knobs, it doesn't have a pan lock,... All these things are true, to a point. I believe the size and weight gives it a stability factor that could easily hold a setup twice the weight of what I currently use. And from what I know of mounting telescopes for astronomical use, a two armed design is always stronger than a single arm. Also, despite the lack of axes locking, I haven't found any need for these features in field use. I assume the complaint has arisen from transportation difficulties. Again, I haven't encountered these issues myself.
In the end, I believe that if I had payed $400 USD for this head I might be thinking about whether I should have purchased one of the other gimbal options. But for just under $200, there are no other options. For that single reason the Bogen rides alone.
It's stout, smooth, balanced and inexpensive. What more could you want?