To date, our Royal digital has brewed 855 cups of wonderful coffee and we would really miss it (maybe even the "squeak")!
Positive Product Points
The machine was easy to use after initial orientation using a digital machine. I like the automatic prerinse feature after turning on the machine for the first time. The coffee is hot and has good crema. Very little coffee residue remains in the cup compared to my Vienna de luxe. Frothing milk is fast and easy. There is less down time than Vienna between brewing and steaming. The amount of coffee dispensed can be adjusted simply by keeping your finger on the button until you get the desired amount. It is then automatically programmed for the next cup. The cup warmer is a good feature. There is a signal that tells it is time to descale the machine. The bean hopper is easily accessed in order to remove or replace beans.
Negative Product Points
There is a very loud squeak after the coffee dispenses and the machine is settling back to the starting position. There is not enough room for tall mugs or latte cups under the dispenser. Sometimes the dreg drawer signals full when it is not full and sometimes after only several cups. It is a bit difficult to remove the drip tray and it has to be removed in order to remove the dreg drawer. The drawer does not fit flush with the machine. It is a feature that does not seem to interfere with performance, just is not aesthetically pleasing.
When I first received my Royal, it was a little scary, and there was a definite learning curve! My first experience with superautomatic machines was in 2000 while visiting a friend in Seattle who owned a Saeco Vienna. When I got back home I just had to have one! In April 2001, I purchased a Vienna de luxe, which was a pretty straightforward easy to use machine, and it produced a good cup of coffee. In 2004, I had to start making repairs, but that is a story for another review. It would be hard to go back to it after using the Royal with it's many great features.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, there is a problem with Royal. The squeak is very loud and annoying. I noticed that when I received the machine the brew group was heavily lubricated. Even then, there was this squeak!
I have contacted Saeco and they assure me that it is “normal” and that their machines there also do it. Their only suggestion is to lubricate it, which I do, and still it squeaks! I wonder if others who own this machine have a problem like mine?
I have many family gatherings and everyone loves the machine, especially the lattes, and also the convenience of just pushing a button for a great cup of coffee!
A friend purchased for me my Royal online from Costco for $849. It was ordered the day before Thanksgiving that probably delayed the shipping, but I still received it the next week. It can be returned at any time for a full refund and no shipping charges should I decide that the "squeak" is a little too much to endure!