Uh oh, while looking into cheaper models I found another one of interest. The first one is the Honda that was rated number 1 in CR ($599 model). The second one looks to be essentially the same model, but with a few "upgrades" for $100 more. The biggest difference I see is that the $699 mower has a blade stop feature that stops the blades but keeps the mower running. It seems like this feature would be handy for dumping out the bag.

The second difference is in the description of the speed control. The $699 mower has "Variable-speed, hydrostatic cruise-control system offers self-propelled operation with a control lever for precise speed adjustment"

compared to the $599 mower's "Variable-speed smart drive system provides self-propelled operation with a paddle-style control handle"

Not sure what the real difference is here with the "cruise control" system. Does anyone know anything about these two extra features?

Mowers linked below: