I just ordered a Jet 1642 - 1 1/2 HP lathe from Amazon for $1652 with free shipping. It was a tough decision with all of the good lathes out there.
I almost went with the G0698, but there are a couple of reviews out there with low end erratic speed issues. However, some VFDs do have speed hunting issues with no load as we have seen at our paper mill.
I like the 5 year warantee with the Jet, for what a warantee might be worth. Although neither of us have ever turned on a lathe before, my wife also had an influence in this decision (she probably wont turn on it either - her choice not mine - I would love to see her get the bug). Her only input was get the one that is proven and you won't be worried - there is always some risk with first year releases.
I have never turned before, but I think I will like it. This is quite a starter lathe, but I don't expect to ever have to replace it. I wonder if I can turn pens on it? The lathe might be kind of big.
Delivery is expected to be Feb 19 or 22.
(PS - dont tell Larry)