The modeler is very good. But it's expensive for just playing around.
Modeling is the most important part of 3d. All these booleans, subdivides, and so on are very good in Houdini. I once did some simple things at the same time in a blender and Houdini. The polygonal grid in houdini after all Booleans and subdivide is better and more correct than in blender, where it sometimes broke strangely. (But why does the subdivide work so slowly?! 50-100 times slower than in a blender ). Plus interesting functions for working with curves that are not in the blender. Even the whole idea is based on attributes - beginners learn this through modeling. Therefore, uncomfortable modeling in Houdini repels newcomers. Only the olds argue that modeling is not necessary. And it turns out that Houdini was created by the Olds for the Olds. This is a 100% guarantee of the extinction of the product. I have sold many products and worked in different companies and have seen many partner companies. Everywhere in a successful business, the same scheme is the need for growth and attracting new buyers / users of the product. But I see that the voices of the olds require Houdini to encapsulate in a narrow niche, pushing away newcomers. As a seller, I will say that this is the way of vegetating. The whole new generation knows the blender, but does not know Houdini. Why? People, if there are alternatives, always choose convenience. The Olds will leave and a new generation is coming to replace them. And? But Houdini is filled with amazing algorithms and the work of many brilliant people. Do we want it to gather dust in the corner and people didn't use it? No. Therefore, we are waiting for a new version every time and hope for a new viewport .
The Subdivision Lib is the same (OpenSubdiv) but the implementations is different how it gets used.
in blender when you add the subdivision modifier you get a quick responds and when you put it on Level 10 (as example) it is far faster as in houdini. but on edit mode you get the low res mesh and not the subdivided mesh, to get the subdivided mesh you have to apply it. when you do that it will take some time in blender and the speed difference is far smaller or even equal when you add both processing's.
(there is also the Multiresolution Modifier but it is similar)
in houdini it is different the subdivided node gives the final mesh and not a display based only mesh as blender does.
there is a option in the OBJ node to display (Geometry Node, Tab: Render, Display as: Subdivision) the mesh as subdivided that is roughly as in blender Geometry with a base Subdivision modifier.Houdini vs other DCC
Sidefx main customers don't use houdini for modelling for the most parts. where houdini shines is in parametric solutions where some part is modelling but less traditionally type that is sculpting or box modelling. in the last years it has got better to model in houdini but it is still not on pair with other Dcc tools. for the FX department there is today only houdini relevant or game level development houdini gets more and more used. in the lighting department solaris is one of the main solutions.
houdini is a special dcc tool that has it's success in the parametric way of working and not in the classic way.
i learn blender before the 2000's where it was below 2mb
and i have learn Maya and later i learned houdini every tool shines in some area. when you understand them you know maya isn't that beautiful as the name suggest.