A bit higher price point than most other HX machines, but it blows the competition away with its quality.
Positive Product Points
Quality of build is excellent. In almost 2 years I have had no problems.
Powerful steamer--less than 20sec to steam enough milk for a large latte.
Rotary pump with option of on board water tank (don't have to plumb-in. Not many machines with this option.
Excellent customer support, and the company will customize the machine to your likes.
Negative Product Points
Boxy shape, which some think is a bit boring looking, but I like it.
I think the above positive and negative points tell the story. The components are good comercial quality--Procon pump, Sirai pressurestat, heavy duty wiring, quick on/off steaming and hot water valves, etc... I like that the shower screen is held in with a screw, and you can remove it to clean it without removing the grouphead gasket. I've been very happy with the quality of the expresso. Even though its a powerful steamer, its still easy to steam smaller quantities of milk for a cappa. The stock tip is the best stock tip I have seen on any machine. The only machine that I would consider moving up to at this point is the LM GS3, but I'm not sure its worth the price given that I really like my current machine.
I bought directly from Astra and saved a lot. They also added the dual pressure guage which normally only comes on the plumbed-in version for only $50 extra. Its a great company. You can talk directly to the owner, Richard.