Sahara smoother than Symetre?
We currently sell way more Pfleugers than anything, and almost nothing but happy anglers with them.
I keep looking at spec's of other reels to add to the store, and most of them just don't match the Pfleugers at the same price points.
I will say, if you are going to spend $99 on a reel, do yourself a favor and look at the Pflueger supreme. Lighter than the higher end Shimanos, high speed gear ratio, and butter smooth in every way. Its one of, if not the best spinning reel for the money I've seen. It compares favorably with other spinning reels costing 2-3 times as much.
If you're also in he market for a rod, however, you may be able to save quite a bit Ina rod/reel combo, for example: Shimano® Symetre/Cabela's Fish Eagle® 50 Spinning Combo.
IMO, the Symetre should most definitely run smoother than a Sahara. For $20 more, it ought'a!
Primary differences between the two: The Symetre has 4 S-ARB bearings, the Sahara has 3. The Symetre has a cast aluminum reel body (except SY500SL), while the Sahara has a composite (graphite) body. Line retrieve rate for the Sahara (6-15" per crank) is lower than the Symetre (21-36"). Gear ratios are the same (and yes, I don't understand how the line retrieve rates can be that different, but that's what it says on the Shimano web site).
Maybe that store got a bad batch of Symetre's, I dunno. If you end up going with the Sahara, though, not to worry, it's still a very nice reel.
And yes, at $60, the President has been and remains the best selling reel in the industry (and has been for at least the last fifteen years!)