For all intents and purposes, sub $1000 eKits `are` practice pad kits. I own a DTX532, and it's the nicest practice pad kit I've ever owned. I'd never consider it to be a contender for a real kit, electronic or otherwise.
In all seriousness though, some of the mid range eKits make extremely good practice kits and provide additional entertainment with their play-along, metronome, trainer, and other features. Those with proper MIDI/USB output double as auxiliary trigger pads for hybrid setups, and you can achieve a number of sounds effortlessly without the need for additional equipment. Need bongos? BAM! Need a tablah? BAM!
My eKit has resulted in much faster development due to the removal of noise constraints. I practice more, I have more fun doing it, and I feel excited when I sit down to my A-Kit because I want to try out all the stuff I learned on my eKit the night before.