From my experience I would put it right in the middle of your question.......... "Practical tool or gadget"??
A buddy of mine who is not a LR shooter but is always looking for an "easy way" to become one bought one of these last year. He called me and wanted to come out to my range and have me set it up for him. I told him to bring it on out and I would see what we could do, thinking at the time.... this thing is going to be a piece of crap.
He had mounted the scope on a "sub moa Weatherby". I don't even remember the caliber, a 7mm short mag I think but not sure.
The instructions suck, but after a while I figured out how to program the thing and we got down to business. The rangefinder portion worked much better than I expected. We were ranging trees and bushes out to 800 yards with ease. After we got the zero set and got it programmed we started testing it at random yardages out to a max of 500. I was quite surprised at how accurate and easy it was to use.
We would set the target up, hit the rangefinder button, and the proper "dot" would light up in the scope. It was fast and plenty accurate to deer or elk hunt with out to the range we tested.
I would not even attempt to use the pre-programmed drop values based on factory ammunition, but the manual programming worked well. You shoot a 100 yard 0 then shoot at 300, measure the drop, then program that in the scope. It then calculates the drop for longer ranges from that.
It does work......... Would I buy one for my long range rifles??? NO.
I think this scope is ok for a typical shooter who does not intend to shoot much further than 500 yards, and if set up properly and used by someone capable of making those shots it does work and works well enough I will not call it a gadget.
Personally, I am shooting at ranges much further than 500 and prefer the precision of a "dial up" scope such as Night Force or a MK4. When you get to longer ranges there is much more "information" needed to make the shot than just "how far". I just do not consider this scope "precision" enough for what I consider "long range". However, as has been discussed on this site before...... "long range" does not mean the same to everyone.
I expect that sometime in the probably not too distant future someone will make an electronic "scope system" that will be truly long range capable. I rather suspect it already exists, but civilians don't have access to it. I can imagine a scope similar to the Burris made my NF or Zeiss with a port to plug in your hand held GPS/weather station. It will be cool, and gadget freak that I am, I will have to have one!!!