Steve: I have had my 3650 since Jan of last year and it has seen a lot of use. I think its a great saw and it is rock solid if properly assembled and the feet are adjusted so they fully contact the floor. I have pushed 80 lb sheets of 3/4 cabinet plywood across it and it didn't budge. My opinion is that it is the best saw in the price range, but it isn't the only saw out there that will do a good job. If you are a novice, some things you may not know and want to consider when looking:
1. Noise: A belt driven saw is quieter than one in which the blade is directly mounted to the motor. A cast iron saw is quieter than sheet steel or aluminum. Cast iron extensions are quieter than stamped steel. (I won't go into the reasons on this post but will later if you want to know).
2. Vibration: A saw with the blade directly mounted to the motor Normally vibrates less than belt driven (except on start-up). The vibration problem is solved on a belt-drive saw by going to a link belt (which is after-market added expense and requires replacing the pulleys and belt) or by using a serpentine belt like an automobile (the 3650 comes with the serpentine belt). A normal V-belt type has the most vibration.
3. Portability: Table top saws are small and inexpensive. Most have limited capacity and power, are noisy, and usually have poor accuracy. A contractor saw is more powerfull, light, easily moved, and some have very good accuracy. Some come with a mobile base that makes moving them and set-up/storage very easy. The trade-off is they have small tables, reduced fence-to-blade (cut) capacity, and are very noisy (made from plastic, aluminum, and have direct-mounted blades). A hybrid-saw is a stable saw with larger table and cut capacity. May have aluminum, steel or cast-iron table/extension wings. Requires a mobile base (either included or added expense) to move around and takes up more storage space. Cabinet saws are heavy-duty saws (most expensive), that aren't usually designed to be moved (altho some do have the capability) and usually require 220v current due to the large motors.
And last and least discussed but to me was VERY important:
4. Front edge of table to blade distance: Smaller tabled saws have less distance in front of the blade. This makes it more difficult for cross-cutting and dadoing wide pieces common to furniture projects and limits the size of the work piece when using the miter guage. The contractor saws normally have about 8" or less clearance which means about you can only do about a 6" wide piece when using the miter guage. The 3650 has 13" with the blade fully raised and other hybrid saws have varying amounts. If you are planning on doing any furniture work, this one factor can make you praise or curse the saw you work on.
I hope this helps you get a saw you will be very happy with. Tradeoffs always have to be made based on space, portability requirements, intended use, and as importantly for most, price. As for problems after you buy it, I have read posts from owners of Ryobi, DeWalt, Bosch, Delta, Craftsman, Grizzly, Jet, and even Powermatic who have had problems, so your concerns about the Ridgid, although quite valid, are also concerns about any brand out there. You see the concerns here because this is a Ridgid forum, but I feel you will see as many about other brands if you visit other woodworking forums.
Practicing at practical wood working