The bottom line
I am AMAZED in the amount of response to this thread! Usually reel's are the subject that is forgotten, glad to see I'm not the only one interested and in awe of there performance. I'm not sure if I neglected to mention this, but I have owned a 20 inch cal trimmer that I inherited from my GRANDFATHER for a few years now, it is a 5 blade 20 inch home owner and even it cuts better than any other rotary mower out there. It was manufactured sometime right after WWII and is still kicking just fine, on it's second engine now. I have a 25" tru-cut that I keep at one of my rental properties, too bulky to haul around and stays there. I like the tru-cut except the thin reel and the operation assemblies. I have also owned a POS King O' Lawn reel mower that I got for free, not that great of a mower but still cut decent. Sold it for 70 bucks on Craigslist.
Txgrassguy: First off let me say I honestly believe you know your stuff VERY well. And I thank you for your input. That is very interesting from what I've heard about the different techniques of sharpening the reel, all I knew about was had grinding (what they do at my local shop). I understand that you are supposed to backlap about once every three months, a golf course super would tell you more often but I'm dealing with a lawn, not a green. The machine I'm thinking of buying is a solid, commercial, machine, I have looked it over and they DO NOT SKIMP. I'm a member of putting-greens.com and I wish some of the guys on there knew more about their machines, seems they skimp in some aspects of machine maintenance and try to take the cheap way out. It's a good website for green construction and maintenance info however.
Everyone else: Thank you for your info as well. To me it sounds like Eastman/Cal Trimmer is preferred by those who grew up using one, like me. It also seems the Eastman is better for those maintaining a smaller plot of turf, 3,000 sqf or less. While the Tru-cut is preferred by those maintaining a large plot of turf. Probably due to the fact the Tru-Cut comes with a sulky option and/or the ground speed is faster. The Eastman will cut lower than the Tru-Cut, but the Tru-cut has a on-the-fly height adjustment, which is very convenient. The Eastman comes with a roller option which is a matter of personal preference, but I find the roller to be gentle and makes a nice striping pattern. The frames seem about the same quality as do the drive components, but I do like Eastman's reel better.
The bottom line? I think I will like the Eastman, lighter than the tru-cut, well balanced, good quality reel, been around for ages. The quality has seemed to actually improved since Eastman took over. Some changes I noted are the fact the reel blades are welded to the spider vs. riveted, and the chain fr the roller is #41 chain vs. cheap light duty chain. The color is darker green as noted before. I also like the fact there is a 200 dollar rebate on the Eastman's through April. I have a neighbor that is also a landscaper who owns a Eastman reel and I might go talk to him before I buy a Eastman. The unit's are pretty pricey, but man are they nice.