This machine definitively has desirable features such as the thermoblock. It is simple to operate and looks good.
Negative Product Points
The exit hole of the filters is the same size as the holes inside the filters so that any particulate matters that is forced trough the inner holes is sure to block the exit hole, bringing the machine to a stall. The filters do not hold well in the portafilter. The fixed steam wand is not easy to use.
Machine stall will happen when you grind fine enough to produce a lungo. You may be able to get one lungo, but the machine will stall on the next one. Getting an espresso has been impossible, I tried 3 different blends. The cure was to open the exit hole with the smallest drill bit i have (0.84mm or 0.032 inch). I guess it can no longer be called a crema enhancer, but at least i have an espresso with a fair amount of crema. The ideal pour time according to my taste buds is 27 seconds for a 30/60 ml espresso.
The froth enhancer is working quite well if you can get used to the fixed steam wand.
nothing special, the saleperson repeated 3 time that all espresso machine were final sales. They seemed knowledgeable and were courteous.
Three Month Followup
I do not use it anymore. I tried a flat tamper and it did not help. I now have a Mokita wich is way more forgiving than the Breville, may be it is the portafilter size and design or the boiler vs thermoblock. Anyway i now drink more coffee than I throw away. The only thing i still use are the 2 stainless steel cups. A bad choice, too bad i could not return it.