Union bindings don't feel cheap at all to me either. I've owned the DLX (2011) and the Contact Pro (2012). The DLX was super solid for their entry level binding. The Contact Pro is really nice as well. I really like their highbacks, ankle straps, and overall look. I think the ratchets work great as well. I've heard so much crap about the toe straps on them but they fit my boots just fine. The only complaint I have with them is that the footbed is really hard and there is no canting. It didn't bother me much, but if you're coming from a cushy footbed to this it might not feel that great. I also have Ride Delta MVMNT (2011). They were replaced by the Rodeo for 2012 and later. Their footbeds have tons of padding and their canting feels really nice. It's either 2 or 2.5 degrees I think. The ankle strap isn't quite as padded as the Contact Pro but is still comfortable. The toe straps are awesome! They can grip anything! Just my input. I haven't ridden any other bindings than these three, and I know other companies make some great stuff as well, but that's what I think of the stuff I've ridden
You should try out Burton, Rome, Ride, Flux etc... Then base your opinion. So far i tried K2 Formulas(2011), Burton triads(06) customs(06 and 09) missions(2010), union forces(09), and some old Rome's. Fav's by far Burton's, love their straps and the non-reflex bases.