Long-time user of Affinity. I use all three of their apps including their iPad app counterpart. I’ve also used Adobe apps since Photoshop 4 and Illustrator 9 and most of their apps. I switched to Affinity because I’m grown tired of Illustrator’s buggy performance. There was an issue with Photoshop at the time too that I have to restart the app each time. I’ve worked on all my personal and freelance projects on Designer/Photo/Publisher. Sometimes, I even use it for work as it is faster.
It is competitive and it has all the professional tools that you need. There is learning curve involve of course but I find their method much better. Some annoyances though if you’re used to Adobe apps is their masking is vastly different. You can’t just drag and drop layer’s from each opened document. Filling and deleting colors aren’t the same.
What I love about Affinity is that I can work on the same file and open/work on them on 3 of their available apps. The iPad app counterpart is also full-pledge apps and not a watered-down version. I often switch between the Mac and the iPad version depending on my mood. Performance is also fast even against the latest version of CC. I still use Adobe CC since I’m required at work but I’d rather use Affinity apps. I also love using the Touchbar with Affinity apps as their implementation is well thought out.
I’ve recently worked on a wallpaper tile about 4m x 4m on Affinity Designer with about 3000 vector objects and hundreds of raster layers. Performance wasn’t an issue on my Intel MBP. I doubt Illustrator can handle the same workload that I did.
You need to allow some time to learn though. If you are willing to change workflow and learn then yes it will work for your professional work requirements. That’s what I noticed with other switchers, they often dismissed the apps as inferior because it doesn’t work the way Adobe does it.
Additional note: AD doesnt have an auto-trace and I rarely use that feature in AI. But if you need an auto-trace, Vectornator has you covered and its free.