I personally do not care about outreach events and star parties, but if I did I certainty would not be looking for top-end equipment as AP or 10M.
For outreach events and star parties (100% visual), my $450 (used price) CG5-GT can put any object in the FOV on either side of the meridian all night long with a simple 2/4 star alignment. No super duper encoders needed. Jeff's observation is essentially a good one. For visual work for 99% of us, good ole' archaic goto mounts work very well, indeed.
No, you can't release the clutches and have the mount find itself after, but why would you want to hand slew a GOTO MOUNT? At any rate, this conversation is geared toward imaging since there is no need to be concerned about PE when viewing M42 through a 27 Panoptic.
Who needs GOTO? Not me. Fortunately I have both arms and hands perfect functional, and I find more convenient the way my DM6 tells me where to move the scope by hand. Only thing missing there is tracking, including planet, comet and satellite tracking. For imaging, where we point at very few (if more than one) targets per night, GOTO is even less necessary. GOTO is necessary only for remote operation, which I do not do nor will ever do.
I never liked the feeling of the mount moving and me checking in the dark if I forgot something that will cause an accident. Much more comfortable to move it manually. Not to mention I quite enjoy the feeling of moving a heavy scope perfectly balanced with the tip of my fingers. If on top of that the mount tells where I am, and the direction to move to get my target, that is my game.
Good for you and I'm glad you enjoy moving your scope around by hand. I was just responding to a claim that encoders are very important for visual use, that's all. I still say that for visual use, encoders, as stated prior, are a waste of astrodollars.