I haven't had time to evaluate the other new features but for me, the ability to use my station remotely and natively is worth every penny of the very affordable upgrade.
Rick / W5FCX
If you want simplicity of remote operation, then absolutely, yes, it's worth it.
If you're fine with using a VPN, or operate strictly locally, you're OK with 1.x for now.
I am on 2.0 because I like the latest and the greatest plus I want to support the company and development of new features (that's a valid reason too). I like my VPN but it is nice to quickly connect with SmartLink and not have to worry about it.
Remember also that this is a .0 product and there is more to come in the future.
It works great with a PC, IPAD, IPHONE, and Maestro which I have tried them all with several different Internet Providers including Verizon MiFi and ATT on my IPhone from across the country .
Is it worth $200.00? YES YES oh and YES.
The only thing that is a bit if'ee for me is what happens if the FLEX Server goes down and leaves us stranded with out being able to connect unless we have our old reliable VPN.
I also enjoy the pop-out Windows a lot.
Beyond that, is the foundation upon which additional features and improvements will be built.
Add to it the IOS version, and this is a very nice addition to my operating options.
In evaluating the value of V2.0, it is important to factor in the added value of what V.2.0 makes possible.
To me it was well worth it.
Haven't seen one posted yet so here are screen shots of Maestro with 2.0 showing off the new XIT/RIT readout and the metering sidebar.
I think when FRS puts in DX Spots I might be even more tempted to TX remote but then again with my lousy antenna and setup I rarely can work them but it is fun to try. Unfortunately I still need to turn on my amp etc so I've been working on a non-VPN way to do that.
I upgraded to 2.x for another reason and that is to support Flex Radio. Regardless of the differences you may have or the feelings you may hold about lack of feature or order of features one simple fact remains clear:
FRS is the only ham company I know that:
a) Has provided a major feature upgrade to their radio.
b) Has a forum where we regularly, daily, get information and assistance from company employees
c) Has the kind of product support where you can get your radio fixed and turned around in under a week.
Granted this is not true around the world and probably some will argue that the recent major software upgrade offered them nothing of interest. But keep in mind that you got one. When was the last time you got an update that drastically changed how your Kenwood or Icom worked?
Some will also say that other SDR companies offer this and more. Perhaps, I have not been down that road. If they do and they do a better job than Flex then why are you reading this post?
As Ria said, the 2.x upgrade is not for everyone, but I would pay for it just to support FRS.
I don't know how many updates there have been in the 3+ years I have had my 6500 but there have been a lot - like having 2 or 3 new radios at no charge. It is worth the money to support FRS.
My previous radio was the Yaesu FT DX 5000. It was a great radio and they had, I think, 3 firmware updates during my time with them. Other than that if you want an update you have to buy a new radio.
V2 is IMO a home run.
BTW I was stunned that our hole-in-wall diner had such fabulous internet. Wow.
Then spent much of the day with a Maestro on my desk. Fantastic!
YMMV but for this ham the upgrade was well worth the costs and the wait.
VPN backup is a nice luxury to have. If you have an Asus router or one that supports the TAP mode of OpenVPN, it is very simple to set up. OpenVPN works as well if not better than Smartlink. Unfortunately, IOS does not support TAP so one has to use L2TP. For that, I need a serving computer running Softether.