It's interesting to hear about your first hand experience and comparisons. I've done the powder acrylic myself for years but now found a cheap salon that does a better job so I've been going the salon route. Having watched the instructional video I posted on gel, I think the application is actually more fool proof than the acrylic because the gel is self-leveling, but it's a bigger initial investment to get the LED/UV light. I may give it a try after my acrylics grow off. Since I just keep doing fill-ins, I never have to remove the acrylics with acetone or sanding or prying so my nail beds are strong and protected. The idea of using acetone and prying off the nails seems like a recipe for weakening the natural nail to me, but I would like to give the gel a try at some point. I don't understand why it's necessary for the nailist to remove the whole nail, can't they just fill them in like they do with acrylics?
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.