Let's face it; all hosts involve work to get things done. So, while Renoise has its *$#(&$(#* moments, it remains - overall - more efficient or just plain 'better' than other, piano-roll DAWs.
It is missing some things; mainly, the ability to multitrack. If you need to record multiple audio tracks in real-time, you'll probably have to use something like REAPER, and import the 'audio stems' into Renoise. If, on the other hand, you're able to work with recording just a single real-time track at a time (lay down a guitar, then lay down a vocal, then lay down a real-time or step-sequenced track, etc.), then Renoise is a self-contained solution.
I find the 'tracker' interface to be super-efficient for step sequencing, and for real-time 'jamming' and step-editing (if desired) later, and even for working step-edited parts around ('in and about') an existing, lengthy audio track. Overall, I can't emphasize enough; how efficient this 'spreadsheet' or 'tracker' method of step sequencing can really be.
For the automation, it does help to be able to do basic hexidecimal math, but it's not necessary. You've got (hexidecimal) automation columns in the tracker view, but you also have the 'automation view window' and can do more broad-based automation there. So you can do super fine-tuned automation with the hex codes, or more 'big picture' automation in the 'automation window'.
Feature-wise, there are a number of things which could be added; i've got a whole list as a matter of fact. But none of them are deal-breakers.
One amazing thing about the ongoing development of Renoise: In my experience with software programs, an updated version - with all of its new features - tends to inevitably be bigger and slower than the previous version. In contrast, Renoise is the first program where it seems that with every update, it gets faster and faster. I don't know what future updates hold in this regard, but this has been my experience thus far.
So, if you need 'live multitracking' like an old-fashioned recording studio, you'll need another host. Renoise can do everything else. The 'signal follower' alone is a super-powerful 'device', which it seems most - if not all - other hosts have overlooked.
So yeah, i find that working in Renoise involves just that - work. But it's the best host in any event. I don't think any other hosts are even close in matching Renoise's overall efficiency and 'creativity-sparking'.
Great to see another positive review for Renoise. I still use Live, but for the money, Renoise should be on everyone's list as a creative tool to supplement or (just maybe) replace their DAW, even if they've never used a tracker. It's robust, easily configurable, well-supported, lightweight, and just plain fun.