I earned my BSA Paul Bunyan certification when I was 16, hacking down and splitting a 24" pine. With my old-ass axe, it took me better part of two hours. Man, I wish I had the Fiskars X17 back then.
The balance is fantastic. The shaft is made of an "unbreakable" material supposedly stronger than steel, which makes it super light and helps increase the head speed for a stronger stroke. Combined with an ultra-sharp, specially designed head, the logs practically explode. I demolished both the test logs in under 10 swings. It's akin to switching to an aluminum bat after using a wooden—more power with less weight.
Anyone who has used a wood-handle axe knows the perils of overstriking—hit your target with the shaft just below the head and say goodbye to tactile sensation for the next quarter hour. This is my favorite characteristic of the X17: Because the handle material is so damn strong, Fiskars was able to hollow it out, allowing the shaft to soak up some of the vibrations—like hitting a softball with a Fungo bat.
Another favorite part: The sheath is trick. Check the photos below.
I don't have a lot of complaints. The balance takes some getting used to in the beginning—I nearly embedded the thing into my back fence when it slipped out of my hands on the first swing. I also feel like, despite the "unbreakable" handle claims, the shaft won't weather the years as well as, say, wood. But that's just me being skeptical, and it's a concern that's tidily negated by a lifetime warranty.
$40 from Fiskars