I purchased this little HT from Associated Radio in Kansas City (great place to buy!). Using the supplied antenna I had difficulty initiating contact with people on the 2 meter band, and never was able to make a contact on the 70 cm band. To this date I have not had a conversation with anyone on the 70 cm band. Using a Diamond HT antenna, however, I have had good luck hitting the local repeater from my office, and I've had better luck locally hitting the repeater with a mobile-mount Comet antenna tuned for VHF/UHF. With the magnetic mount I have pretty good reception and my reception is actually better than my transmission power.
Like most of the more modern radios, in my opinion while it is possible to learn to program this radio using the keypad, you're far better off buying the programming cable and the software. With better than 1000 memories you can plug in all the repeaters from Kansas City to Destin Florida and still have room for some left-overs. It has the ability to put programmed frequencies into banks for easier scanning, and it also has a PL Tone Search feature for those awkward times when your Ipad gives you the wrong offset or PL tone for a particular repeater.
I have not been tempted to test the waterproof status. To date I have multiple 2 meter contacts with good results, and not much beyond that. I'm sure if I were in a part of the country with more UHF, I'd probably have something to report, but even though there are two UHF repeaters locally, I've not had any contacts on them with this radio. Let me be clear: that is not a radio problem. That's just the fact that no one's talking when I'm monitoring.
This is my first Ham radio, and I have enjoyed it. I look forward to augmenting it with a base station in the next few months.