Pros: Lots of power, good price, excellent performance, and lots of good features.
Cons: Throat opening is too small for really big bits.
I bought my Freud FT2000E primarily for dedicated use in a router table so I could use my smaller router for free hand applications without having to remove it from the table. The main attractions of the Freud were price, value, power, reputation, track record, and features. At 15 amps and a 3-1/4hp rating, the FT2000E has sufficient power to spin large panel raising bits with ease. Features and accessories such as variable speed control, microadjustment knob, depth stop turret, plunge capability, edge guide, dust collection shroud, and soft start all contributed to the overall value the Freud offered. The features work well for the most part and the router is fairly easy to use, and packs alot of value. It's only direct competition in price, power, and quality is from Hitachi. It was pretty much a toss up which one to go with, when the Freud deal came along. Other large full featured models from Bosch, Porter Cable, Makita, and DeWalt were considerably more money (~ $300, or an additional 50%), and there are a couple of off name less expensive machines that I didn't want to take a risk with.
Instructions in the owners manual were straightforward and concise with good illustrations. My complaint about the manual is that it's too concise. A bit more explanation about the router in general and using larger bits would have been appreciated. There's also no mention of how to access the motor brushes when the time comes to replace them. The brushes are not user accessable the way brushes on many universal motors are, so this is a task that will likely require a technician's services.
Most of the features work very well. The microadjustment knob is effective for minute height changes. Height adjustments from a table mounted position require a fair number of turns on the knob however. I'd prefer a crank type handle to make this task easier. I'm considering building my own crank for this operation. The soft start and variable speed features work extremely well. The soft start gives a couple of seconds pause to allow the operator to make last second preparations before beginning a cut. The variable speed is essential with larger bits and is very effective. The turret style depth stop is easy to use. The dust collection shroud works well with either a shop vac or a woodworking dust collector, but does interfere a little with access to the collet nut. I have yet to use the edge guide, but I did install and uninstall it as I unpacked and inspected the machine....no problems anticpated in it's function, but there was some corrosion and paint pealing on the guide. The on/off switch is well located and decisively on or off. The motor is strong and smooth, never once hesitating or bogging with any cuts I've made in two years of use.
There are a couple of design changes I would like to see. Since a router of this size is pretty heavy for hand use, they are often mounted in a table. A removable crank that offered the ability to make height adjustments from the top of the table would be a very welcome feature. There are aftermarket devices that provide this function, but it would be much less expensive during the manufacturing stage. I'd also like to see onboard storage for the collet wrench....a feature found on my much less expensive router. Another convenient feature on my less expensive router that is missing from the Freud is the ability to stand the router upside down for bit and accessory changes. The power cord relief and narrow top prevent the router from standing freely. It would also be nice to see a collet extension as part of the accessory, but that's not a feature most routers offer and I understand the need for concessions at this price.
My biggest complaint by far with the FT-2000E is that the throat opening is too small to accommodate the large panel raising bits which run upwards of 3-1/2" in diameter. The throat opening is considerably smaller than this. One of the primary reasons for choosing a large heavy router is for it's ability to spin the big bits easily. I can't for the life of me understand why the Freud and it's direct competition from Hitachi would make their throat openings so small! I've still managed to use large bits with good results, but special techniques must be used and great care must be taken not to lower the large bits into the housing. Even with this seemingly large flaw, I will give this router a recommendation. It's well built, performs extremely well and is priced around $100 less than many of the major competitors.