Good lawn mower? (embarrassed to ask like that)

Related to another post here, if I decide to do this, I'm looking for a good replacement for my B&S based MTD front propelled, mulching (and clumping :( ) mower.
I've heard over and over that honda is very much worth it (the whole mower, and not just another brand with the honda engine).
Here's my concerns:
1. Does the rear propulsion make it hard to manuver? If I push down on the handle to lift the front over a rock or something the mower won't stop moving, right?
2. The honda's I've seen all are much lower HP than the similarly priced models of just about any make you can think of. Do the honda's lower end motors have the power to slam through tall thick grass. I understand without proper metrics that it's impossible for you all to comment properly, but if you have any thoughts as to their power and effectiveness, I'd appreciate it.
3. Honda now has models that allow variable amounts to be simultaneously mulched + discharged + bagged all at once. This seems like a good idea, so that in very tall grass you have the option to at least mulch "a little", but it also seems like a) hokey as hell, and b) something prone to not working well after a short while.
Very old classic: Three men check into a hotel: the
room is $25 for the night. They each hand the bellhop
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