For reference, since the EAT has so many similarities to the Retaliator and Alpha Trooper, I've linked their reviews.
The EAT comes with itself, a 12 dart clip (mag), 12 Elites and an instruction manual. Normal routine if you've gotten clip (mag) system blasters before.
Out of box the EAT is very light and comfortable to hold, being identical in design to the AT. With the new Elite paintjob it does look cooler, but courtesy of the grey on the jam door and clip (mag) release buttons, there's not as much stand-out orange. I personally like the jam door, clip (mag) release and trigger orange because it's less dull and more vibrant, the way a Nerf blaster should be. Oh well, I have 4 ATs to cannibalise orange parts from :)
The EAT has the same tacticool as the AT - a top tac rail ideal for sights, and a stock attachment point. For the style of blaster the EAT is, that's really all you need.
Using the EAT is identical to that of an AT - pull the handle back, load in a clip (mag), push it forward and fire. Slam-fire of course works the same as an AT, hold the trigger down while pumping back and forth repeatedly.
Like the AT, the EAT pretty much never jams, partly due to good breech design, and partly due to Elite dart durability.
At first, priming the EAT was a little rough, as if there were a very weak lock in place holding the grip forward. A little force got past this roughness, and after a few shots the priming became very smooth, like an AT.
Priming single shots is extremely easy, and due to the smoothness of the pump slam fire is also reasonably easy.
Priming back the EAT is a little weird, due to the design of the dart tooth and boltsled. There is a small protrusion which keeps the boltsled forward, which allows for one handed single fire. With the AT, you had to physically hold the pump forward because the slam fire mech only activated when the pump was fully forward.
The orange stock attachment piece thingy has been seen on MLD to seem to start cracking after usage, and opening and closing. My EAT had its one extremely tightly fitted, but so far no cracks near the screw ports.
The 12 dart clip (mag) included I really really really like due to its smallish size and reasonable capacity. I've copypasta-d the text I wrote for the Retal review, since the clips (mags) are identical.
Finally Nerf has released a 12 clip (mag), and they've done it brilliantly. It doesn't fit more than 12 (it refuses to) despite there being space. This is good, because putting 19 darts in an 18 clip (mag) caused jams, and you don't want jamming when in a Nerf war.
The 12 clip (mag) strikes a balance between capacity, size and spring strength, allowing for easy and fast feeding without damaging darts, as well as allowing easy storage. Additionally, as it's part of the Elite lineup it features a half clear shell - perfect for checking ammo count. Sure, it's not full clear, but it still does its job well enough. In any case, having a half clear shell is really cool.
Unfortunately, because the 12 clip (mag) is part of the Elite lineup you can't use the Flip Clip (Mag) connector on it, although IMO 12 clips (mags) are too long for the flip clip (mag) to be effective, so it's not an issue. I do like the new styling though.
Compared to the AT, the EAT has 6 less darts in capacity, because the AT has an 18 dart drum. I personally don't feel this is too much of a loss, although statistically it is significant. From my experience AT 18 drums tend to weaken over time, and as drums have inherent higher chance for misfeeding and jamming. Straight clips (mags) like the 12 clip (mag) do not have as high a chance for misfeeding and jamming, which IMO makes them better.
And now some pics comparing the EAT and the AT, just for comparative purposes.
So we've determined that the EAT works just as well as an ordinary AT, it comes with the same awesome clip (mag) from the Retaliator, and it sports the same awesome direct plunger as the Retaliator/Rampage.
How does the EAT stack up in performance then?
Ranges for the EAT aren't fantastic. It's a downtuned 20m Aus version, so ranges are going to be better for you US, SG and other non-stupid countries who don't think Nerf blasters are harmful. FYI Australian toy gun laws are extremely strict, hence the really stupid detuning of blasters and delay of other blasters like the Xploderz.
Ranges are around 11-12m very consistently. This is practically identical to that of the AT, but the AT's ranges were more inconsistent, sometimes being only 9m and sometimes going beyond 13m.
Accuracy is fantastic. Thanks partly to the barrel and also partly to the Elite darts, you can actually aim at something and know that it will most likely get hit.
ROF is as you'd expect from an AT design, 5dps isn't hard with the slam fire, and thanks to the super weak spring in the EAT slam fire isn't too taxing either.
So in summary, is the EAT all it's been hyped up to be? Not quite, at least for us Aus fans. Because of the stupid detuning of blasters, our Elite blasters are not significantly more powerful than N-Strike blasters. For those of you in countries who are sensible enough to allow the 75ft versions in though, BasicNerf has reported that 75ft EATs have quite a good amount of power, so for the 75ft EATs they are what they've been hyped up to be.
An EAT will cost you at most $29 AUD from Target, the same as an AT. If you're looking for a clip (mag) system blaster, and are a modder, the EAT is fantastic. If you're not a modder, consider the EAT, but keep an eye out for the 75ft version if possible, because the 20m Aus versions just don't cut it. At $30 the EAT is decent value considering what you get and what it does, but a little more power would make it heaps better.
Cons: 6 less dart capacity than AT, 20m EATs are weaker than 75ft versions
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Rate of Fire: 4.5/5
Personal Rating: 5/5 - It's an Alpha Trooper with Elite colouring and internals. I love Alphas so I love the EAT.