Great steam power and well-built but not exactly eye candy.
Positive Product Points
Sturdy commercial machine. LOTS of steam power, quick to heat up (as compared to other COMMERCIAL machines - not consumer espresso machines). Well built. The top of the machine really heats up your cups if you leave them up there for long enough.
Negative Product Points
I find it much easier to make good microfoam on my Rancilio Silvia because of the lower steam power and one hole tip. Great machine for huge volumes of drinks, but maybe not the best for the occasional macchiato. I'm also a beginner at latte art, though, so it might become easier to use this machine's steaming capabilities with practice. Also, I've found that parts for Faema are expensive and somewhat hard to find.
A friend of mine bought this machine at a local auction for $150 ($200 including a grinder). It was sitting in his basement gathering dust, so he let me hook it up at my place for awhile. I've now had it for about 8 months. It's a heavy machine, and hard to carry around - even for 2 people. Once we got it plumbed in, we realized that the auto-fill sensor was malfunctioning. When we got that fixed, the heating element went. The technician who fixed both gave me a good price, but he said that if he'd had to order the parts (he had a couple of broken faemas in his basement that he took the parts from) they would've been expensive and hard to find. He didn't seem to like the main people at Faema because of what they charge for parts, and how hard it is to find them. Just because of that, I'd be tempted to buy a different machine. All machines break down eventually, and it'd be nice to have one with parts readily available. In other aspects, this machine is great, though:
QUALITY OF PRODUCT - Most of the parts are built to last. The 2 sides and the back covers of the machine are plastic (which really has more to do with aesthetics than quality, but it does give a cheaper feel to it). Everything seems to be holding up well.
USABILITY - Definitely a high volume commercial machine (except that it only has one group). Very simple to make espresso on it. Just a push of a button with automatic shutoff after 2oz (depending on which button you're using). One nice thing I noticed about the machine is that you can actually fit a regular sized mug under the portafilter (so if you're drinking out of a mug, you don't have to brew the shots into a shot glass first and lose so much heat). You probably lose a bit more heat from the shot having it drop further out of the portafilter, though, but not as noticable as brewing shots into shot glasses and transferring them to other cups.
COST VS. VALUE - This is a tough one. Obviously, my friend got a steal at $150, and at that price this rank should be really high. I know the machine's worth a lot more than that, but I don't know if it's a machine I'd buy at regular price.
AESTHETICS - The one thing that really bugs me about the aesthetics of this machine is the plastic side panels. IMHO it is NOT a nice looking machine.
OVERALL RATING - Hmmm. I'd say that it is a good machine, but parts are expensive and it's not nice to look at.
I didn't actually buy this machine, so this question is not applicable.