I love this thing, and it works right out of the box, you don't need to buy a single extra, EVER! Except for consumables, of course, which you have to resupply with any machine. I am not the type of person who would ever be happy with a standard image on a cartridge - I need to be able to customize to my heart's content, use any image or font I want, and create my own. The software definitely allows me to do this. In fact, except for the first image I cut to see how this thing works, I haven't used any pre-made images at all. I've used computers for .... well, decades, actually ... and I've used all sorts of different software programs. Because of this I found Funtime to be very easy to use. It has quirks, like all software does, but they're not bad at all. Customer service is excellent and the bosskut forums are very helpful.
I just got my Gazelle and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It is so much fun and it cuts really well. It took me about 1 night of playing with it to get the hang of it. There is a bit of a learning curve, but it is SO worth it.
I was all set to get the cricut expression until I found out about this. Not having to use any dies and being able to have all the features of design studio right away is what sold me. I am so glad I got this!
The machine is a bit bigger than I expected it to be, but that is ok.
The Gazelle is my third digital cutter, (also have a Wishblade, and a ScrapSavvy cutter) and it's the one I use the most now, in spite of the fact that the other two cutters were almost twice the price.
As new cutters come out, they incorporate more and more of the functions that the users want, and this one has included all of the the advanced abilities in easy one-click buttons, (welding, subtracting, auto-tracing), and a handful of fun little extras (charms, embroidery, shadows, 3D rendering, outlines, puzzle, decorative scissors to put scallops and zigzags on your shapes, freehand drawing tool, Bazzil Bling papers, etc.)
For beginners, it's as easy to use as selecting your design and clicking a button! (Some of the video tutorials are available to the public here, so you can see how to use the software before making up your mind http://www.bosskuttraining.com )
And for advanced users, it has full justification, sorting, editing and specialty functions that are also easy to use, and powerful enough to suit those familiar with Illustrator.
Additional purchases: Invest in a can of Krylon Easy Tack Repositionable Spray adhesive, to refresh the stickiness on the mats. The mats are sturdy and hold up to months of use without warping, but you will need to refresh the stickiness with the Krylon. (Or any other REPOSITIONABLE spray adhesive.)
I also recommend buying an extra mat and one extra set of blades. Both are relatively inexpensive, compared to the other cutters, and it pays to have one on hand for when you drop a blade behind a heavy desk. (grin!)
If you are thinking about making the leap to digital, this is the one to get. Brand new users can get started with welding words and making mats right away, and as they get more comfortable with the software, they can rapidly move on to more advanced designing. (The software and cutter layout make it easier than the other cutters.)
Registered owners can get tech support on the forum
There you can get assistance in setting up the cutter for your computer and help in learning to use the software. The people are really nice, and they don't bite, so ask! (grin!)
Add to that the Shared Files and Ideas Gallery and it's a great deal that will have you creating spectacular effects for your scrapbook, card making, and home decorating.