I have a Prodigy Advance and am quite pleased with it. The things it doesn't have are things I didn't particularly need, but if you need them, you'd be better off with a different system. Some of those things are wireless control (though MRC may be coming out with this sometime soon), computer interface and backlit controller. Again, since I didn't need these things, the PA was the best choice for me in terms of features for the price. In particular, I like the layout of the throttle controller, and the simplicity of the system. The throttle layout feels very natural, and includes both a rotary knob and push buttons for throttle control. The function keys and other control keys are well layed out and logically placed. The display includes all the information that I expect, and does so in a well layed out format.
It was very easy for me to set up, so I had trains running rather quickly after unpacking the box. This, of course, depends on you layout and whether or not you have decoder equipped locomotives already. Everything I needed to get started came in the box (except the track and decoder equipped locomotive). It was a simple plug and play setup.
To me, the instructions were well written and well layed out, so I didn't have any trouble getting things set up and running. I did have the advantage of spending a fair amount of time learning the DCC vocabulary when I was researching systems, so I wasn't in the dark about terminology when reading the instructions.
Tony's train exchange has some very useful information about selecting a DCC system, including a small handbook about DCC for beginners and a comparison chart of the various systems that are available. If you're interested, you can check it out at: http://www.tonystrains.com
When I took my PA system to work to show a couple of the guys there, they both decided to go this way also, and now both have a system of their own. I decided to order a second throttle for my system, and the price was very reasonable. I then ordered the "Power System 8" booster, which is also very reasonably priced (when you shop around). I haven't had a need to use the booster yet, but bought it anyway because of the great deal I got on it. So far I only have about $370 in my DCC system (not including decoders/locomotives), and that price includes the PA, the second throttle, the 8 amp booster and a four section circuit breaker. This is probably as much DCC system as I could ever need, so I don't plan to replace it until it no longer works properly (which hopefully won't be for many years).
If you have the opportunity to try out the PA for yourself, I recommend taking the opportunity. See how easy the system is to use. Try out the features you think you'll be using. Try the various functions (if you have a way to test them). One that I think is really neat is the "Yard mode" that allows you to use the knob to change the trains direction and speed.