My wife, who is not a coffee drinker, hates the thing. Along with the Pasquini grinder it cost a mint, takes up a lot of counterspace, and she will not or cannot learn to judge when: to clean out the portafilter, to adjust the grind size, the proper amount of coffee to put in the portafilter, how hard to tamp it, etc. The interrogative, "Why couldn‘t you buy one that‘s automatic?" regularly recurs.
The answer is that with a little care, attention, and experience, you can consistently pull as good a doppio as your beans will allow.
Obviously there‘s no comparison to the $200 machines that guarantee "delicious crema" and "perfect frothing" with every cup. At least not if you actually drink the stuff. The Livia doesn‘t compare to double boilered, plumbed commercials either. The other full-manual $1,000 well-builts seem to be just as good.
Someone in one of the other reviews mentioned less than stellar service. In fact, I bought mine slightly used from the Los Angeles store for $600 (It was the machine that came off the "Sergeant Bilko" set) because one of the service guys insisted I pay extra for new, when the used machine was perfect. My experience with Pasquini as an institution is that good humor and charm not only overcome all obstacles, but they‘ll insist you drop in for a cuppa whenever you‘re in the neighborhood.