This review is from: HAI Classic 1265 Convertible Flat Iron, 1 1/4 " (Health and Beauty)
I've actually had my HAI straightener since I was in high school (and I am now 23), and it still works amazingly. I stopped using it recently because I purchased a CHI, but in all honesty it works about the same. (The only difference is that my CHI heats up quicker, and seems to be a tad hotter)
I definitely recommend trying it, although I'm not sure why others have only found it to last a year or two.. maybe it had been dropped or over-used? I actually bought mine for about $30 when a beauty supply store was going out of business, so I'd say it was easily the best $30 I've spent.