To put it shortly, it starts up quickly, shoots reasonably fast at 3FPS and produces very clean images...mostly usable even at ISO 1600. I wouldn't hesitate to use ISO 800 when doing photography at night handheld, or at the zoo with long lenses.
It is made of a lot of plastic, and may feel like a toy to some. It's very small and the grip may be hard to hold for some. Others believe that the camera feels unbalanced with bigger lenses, so consider adding a battery grip. Functions-wise, it's sufficient enough for most, if not all casual users.
Do read up the reviews online, especially those on www.dcresource.com and www.dpreview.com to get a better idea of what's available. Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, the late Konica Minolta and Sony produce DSLRs.