I've haven't looked at what Windows 7 itself offers.
From using ntbackup years ago I suspect it's not going to be better than what I currently do. Traditionally the big problem with ntbackup was the stand-alone restore, which was clumsy.
All products like Paragon and Acronis use a simple boot disk (it's the install CD if you buy the boxed version) to enable a stand-alone restore.
Not sure what they've done in Windows 7 regarding the pre-desktop environment. I know that on a full install, Windows 7 now creates a 100Mb recovery partition by default. If you install onto an already partitioned drive this doesn't occur. I did a custom install as I was upgrading from XP so no silly extra partition. They've removed the ability to install the Windows Recovery Console though.
Recovery partitions and the like only seem useful to me if, once you've booted into them, you can access your latest backups to restore your system. Furthermore, if the drive goes west you still need a CD to boot from to be able to do a stand-alone restore. The traditional ThinkPad recovery mechanism with a factory image recovery seemed useless to me. If my Windows system needs restoring what good is a factory image ? It's going to be so out of date as to be useless.
My use of DOS batch files to automate all the backups stems from the fact that at one time that's all there was, yes I'm that old
If you wish to use a GUI tool look at Robocopy which now has a GUI and Richcopy. Both of these are from Microsoft and can be donwloaded free from Technet. The command line Robocopy is included in Vista and Windows 7.
One final point, once you start making regaular backups ensure you test your recovery procedures. It's no good having loads of backups and when the worst happens you find for some reason, you cannot restore