I started using Cakewalk in 1991. I've also worked extensively in Digital Performer and have spent time learning Pro Tools, Reaper and Cubase.
Yes, I am biased. My bias is that I want to focus on music composition and production and have the software perform reliably and have it allow me to work the way I work without too many unnecessary keystrokes. I also put some emphasis on aesthetics, and for my eye nothing beats Cakewalk in terms of how it looks on the screen and the incredible flexibility in arranging it to look how you want.
I've produced 15 albums with CW, soon to release #16. I've composed many songs, short pieces, 11 symphonies and 4 concertos with CW. The only trouble I had was when it went through an extensive re-vamp some 10 or more years ago. It became unstable and had a lot of bugs so I worked in Digital Performer for about a year and a half. When Gibson dumped CW and Bandlab picked up the pieces everything started to get better again--bugs were getting fixed promptly, new features were being added and so I switched back to CW.
Here's what I think is really excellent about this DAW:
1. The event list is color coded. I spend a lot of time using the event list and it really makes it easier on the eyes to be able to choose the color for specific types of events. The font is a reasonable size too, some event lists are too tiny on other DAWS.
2. The instrument section lets you define in detail your instruments, articulations, cc numbers and other functions. When working with large sound libraries this is really useful.
3. The staff view finally got the snap functions corrected and is good for composing in SMN (standard music notation) if you know how. It's weakness is that it doesn't display tied or dotted triplets correctly and never has, but it's no big deal for me because I do all my scores in Sibelius and it's easy to correct them at that point. Because the staff view is laid out more like an arranger's pad than a 8.5x11 sheet of paper, it's much better for larger orchestrated works. Another weakness of the notation editor is it's not possible to export using .xml if you have more than a certain number of tracks. I get better results exporting with .mid (type 1).
4. CW handles VSTs extremely well, I have no problem with playback or recording. For the past couple of years I've had no crashes due to VSTs.
5. Recording and editing audio is where CW really shines in my experience. Recording is simple yet powerful, editing audio, particularly volume envelopes is very easy and precise, very powerful feature made easy to use.
6. Workspaces are fast, there's no delays caused by graphics issues when changing workspaces. I won't name names, but this is not true for other DAWS I've tried.
Learning any DAW takes time. You have to really want to learn it well, and spend the time at the computer and reading the manual to get the most out of a DAW. This is true regardless of which one you choose. As far as value is concerned, you can spend many hundreds of dollars for the other DAWs if that's what you want to do, or you can get a DAW that is equal or better for free. Even if Bandlab started charging $500 for CW, to me it's still the best value.
Here's one more of my biases: I am a trained classical composer and songwriter. I am not a sound effects person, and my mixing and mastering skills are honed specifically for my music and my music only. Everyone uses their DAW a bit differently depending upon what they are trying to accomplish and what they are best at. So choose carefully, because it does take a lot of time to learn another software program as complex as a DAW.
p.s. After reading more carefully the OPs post, I realize I just wasted time on a guy who has come across as utterly insincere, who has already made up his mind and is looking to vent his frustrations. I thought I was being a "good guy" by helping a beginner! In any event, if someone reads my post and learns something about CW all the better, I doubt it will be the OP who is playing little mind games with us...