It kills at every question you have.
1. Sensational quality. Mine always fires up and works flawlessly. The only issue is it is hard, at least for me, to keep it clean.
2. Steaks are superb on the PG500. The only downside is it takes a pellet grill longer to heat up than most gassers/kitchen stoves. But it's worth the wait. And remember, Cookshack makes pellet chargrillers so they know what they are doing.
3. I have not sensed any variance in heat distribution.
I love mine and have no interest in any other grill. I even gave away my gasser.