The Islander is a brick sh*thouse reel, solid throughout and about the only thing worth questioning is in fact the weight. The traditional cork drag is hard to improve upon although it does require some care, most wouldn't have it any other way. I doubt any of today's reel seats would be affected in any way.
If the weight is a concern to you, your shoulder, or your sense of balance, then there are a number of options to try.
What parameters are you interested in controlling - price? weight?
It would be fun to put together a little product review here based on what you are trying to achieve.
BTW - I am hot on the new for 2001 Ross Big Game Canyon reels this year. Light, good looking, great drag - promises to be what I have been looking for. Too soon to tell, to be honest, but I will be fishing one this year and I hope it's all it appears to be.