all I need to know is if this "free" backup program is/will be on the same level as my Norton Ghost 15, or Acronis 2012.
One oddity that I've noticed is the restrictive license restrictions on both Ghost and Acronis 2012 (there is a thread on the subject at Acronis forum, btw). In both cases, your license applies to just the single computer where you installed the program.
Doesn't sound unreasonable, until your computer fails. Then you have to a) reinstall Ghost or Acronis on another computer to access your data (easy but illegal); or b) replace the disk that failed and use the recovery disk on the repaired computer. This second and legal option can take a _lot_ of time and has been an impossible option for me when traveling with a portable.
BTW, the bootable rescue disk from Acronis is also subject to the license! It is restricted to be used only the same computer where Acronis was installed. (I think Ghost has the same restriction, but can't understand their license.) It doesn't stop there: support is also tied to the original computer.