Thanks for the replies so far, guys! My brother was actually talking about getting a Weber original kettle for this grilling season.
Drew here's a really informative and well done article on new gas grills.
When the char broils, kenmores, etc start using a cast aluminum firebox instead of sheet metal that's when we'll know they are serious about improving their quality to the level of weber. Until then they are disposable products that with frequent use rust through in a few years (sometimes less).
My kettle is going on it’s 23rd season, reason enough for me to recommend one.
I rebuilt the carriage and use it Year round!
Customer service and parts availability make Weber a smart choice. I have not had to use customer service in a few years but when I did they were excellent, always sending me new parts for free. Make sure you register your Weber grills.