Hey I had this same dilemma about 6 months ago. My wife's hair is very challenging. extrememly thick and very full of body. We had gotten her a cheapo straightner from wal mart but as it died she said she wanted something better. I did some digging and found this. http://www.folica.com/...onic_Cera_d1560.html
It had really good reviews and folica throws in a little heat proof bag when you buy from them and that bag is really nice to have as it makes a spot on the counter the wife can put the straightener when not in use.
SO my real world review.
My wife loves it! Its very lightweight and is easy to use with just one hand. It gets super hot! It has a rotary dial that allows you to adjust the heat up to 450 degrees which is what she has to put it at for her hair. In the directions it helps you profile your hair so you know which setting to use. The reason I got it for her is that I read a lot of reviews that said it dramatically cut down on the time spent straightening and I can attest to that. Wife spends about half the time she normally would which in and of itself makes it worth it. Its a great product that gets a lot of use and has held up well.
In fact. she left it on the floor yesterday and I stepped on it and it didnt break. Hows that for a real world test!
Also folica has it for cheaper than a lot of the other suggestions you have gotten so far!
I was where you are probably at right now. $100+ dollars for a hair straightener??????? Well I caved found it and bought and have felt it was a good investment.
God's in his heaven, alls right with the world -Nerv