I used this playpen at work for a year. Purchased when my daughter was almost a year old. I had to take it in and out of my car everyday at work and I was worried that it wouldn't hold up due to it being hollow plastic. I was pleasantly surprised! It held up so well that I will be able to use it again for the next baby. My daughter is now two and knows how to stack things so she can climb out and she's tall. However she has never been able to figure out how to unlock the gate. All the toys on the toy panel still work and have held up despite my daughter being rough with them. None of the connector pegs have come off during transport. I really worried they would pop off since they weren't solid and were jostled in my car all the time!
Some models provide storage for toys and other baby items in zippered side pockets, fabric shelves, hook-on fabric storage pouches, and small clip-on parent-organizer bags. Of course those features aren't necessary, but if you want to use them, look for storage that is big enough to actually hold something. Storage compartments should attach, or be built into the outside of the play yard, so they're out of your baby's reach. One deluxe example is the S1 by Safety 1st Satellite Premier Playard - Pegasus (about $128), which comes with attached shelves and a small laundry hamper.
When your baby is a newborn putting them low to floor can cause major strain on your back so you'll want to shop for a playard that has two levels so you can have them higher when they are younger and then move them lower when they learn to roll over. This model from the popular Graco line does all of this at a reasonable price and has some added features like a mobile and pockets on the side to store, diaper, wipes and such.
In search of insight, Romper spoke with Dr. Marcie Beigel, a behavior specialist with over 20 years of experience. For Dr. Marcie, it's all about being intentional. If your kid throws a tantrum every time she gets in the playpen, she associates the space with being upset. Likewise, it doesn't matter how well you've stocked your playpen with toys if every time she gets in it, mom disappears. If you want to change the pattern here, "you have to make the space really fun and delicious and enjoyable," says Dr. Marcie.