Thanks for the review. I found your review to be well laid out and informative. It may be because I started boarding about 4 weeks ago. I hadn't planned on snowboarding, but a friend took me along to a local sports store hung over and talked me into buying a cheap 5150 board and bindings. The cheap bindings have two settings, it pinches when its tight or else it's so loose my foot slips out.
I've got a trip this next week to Breck or Winterpark and I have zero intentions of going there with bindings that pinch. I went to look for something more comfortable and the local shop here had a great deal on a pair of 09 Cartels. So I bought a set and and tried it out. I was floored. I couldn't believe the difference. I won't go into details because your review pretty much summed up everything I experienced.
It may be different for riders with alot of experience, but my only regret is being cheap to start off with bindings and wasting money on them. Now I've got a cheap set of bindings that have 4 weeks of usage on them, but they suck so bad I couldn't bring myself to give them to someone to use.