You trade a little sweat equity for the few bucks you save over other offerings by fully assembling the kit yourself.
One of the nice bits about this kit is that it includes a 5V regulator to supply the logic portion of the L298 natively instead of relying on a 2nd supply voltage to the board. This helps to make it very easy to drive either 2 DC motors or a single stepper motor from a microcontroller or other control device. The board even has a 5VDC output so it can power external devices using the (underutilized) on board regulator.
The instruction manual is exceptionally well written and easy to follow, I was able to speed through the assembly in about 10 minutes. I would love it if the booklet included more detail from the data sheets for the L298 itself. This isn’t a strike against the kit by any means as the datasheet is easily found online, and the kit seems more aimed at the amateur level which is great!
The booklet does however go into some of the details about what needs to be done to allow the board to run with a supply voltage greater than the specified 26VDC so you can take full advantage of the L298′s 50VDC capacity.
Another item to note when comparing to the other similar items out there is the lack of a heat-sink with this kit. No doubt one of the factors in keeping the cost down, but that means that for some applications you’ll have to supply your own.
Over all, for the price I feel this is a great value kit given the ease of assembly and simplicity of use. I ended up buying 3 kits and look forward to using them all in upcomming projects.