I bought this belay device as a beginner, and it hasn't failed me yet. I've never had trouble catching a fall, holding a resting climber, lowering someone, or rapelling. Yes, I occasionally have to do a bit of rope-feeding to lower a light climber on a thick and fuzzy rope, but I much prefer that situation to not being able to control the descent of a heavier climber. Same thing with rapelling - I'm not that heavy and sometimes the rap is slow if I've got the brake on pretty hard, but a little less friction on the device and it's not a problem - I'd rather go a bit slow than too fast.
I have found this belay device to be durable, despite being hauled around the world, sat on while I've got my harness on, scraped against rocks, and well-used. It's got some scratches, but that's all.
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