Light, well-made and with a nice tone, this instrument is a good starting point for mandolin players looking to diversify.
Remarkably (given the price point) it features all solid wood and a truss-rod (look inside the soundhole), both of which are great to have. I like the fact it is a European-made instrument, using mostly European wood. The fretwork around the soundhole looks fine and adds to its sound. Looking inside, the mandolin has been competently made. Coming from mandolin and tenor mandola, the slimmer neck is very welcome and the frets appear well-dressed.
Two immediate upgrades worth making (you can buy them for a great price here on Thomann.de) would a better bridge and better strings (phosphor bronze strings really improves the sound). It took a little effort to bring the intonation into line, with the bridge needing some repositioning. Players with less experience of setting-up their instruments might be daunted/disappointed by this, but I'd strongly advise them to speak to their local music shop to get the most out of this. In my case the intonationout quite a bit...but then the octave mandolin had just travelled a few hundred miles in the mail, so I wasn't expecting anything 'ready to go' straight out of the box. One thing I did find was that adding a drop of quality lubricant on the tuners made them much smoother (I used bicycle lubricant!).
The bag supplied is decent quality, fits the instrument well and doesn't look completely cheap. There's a little padding in there, so it could take a few light knocks and not be a cause for concern but it's never going to be bullet-proof. Then again it does the job it's intended to do.
On Thomann's delivery and packaging, the instrument arrived in Scotland in 4 days and was exceptionally well-packed. The update service was very helpful in keeping track of where the instrument was and what the next step would be.
Overall I'd *definitely* recommend this instrument. For experienced players this is a competent instrument that you can take out and about with and not feel worried about it taking a few hits. For beginners, this is a great way of exploring the mandolin family.