Styling is very nice. Heats up to temperature very rapidly. Thermometer is very nice. It allows you to monitor the water temperature and you can adjust it up or down by drawing blind shots. The steam wand on mine works great. Has a large water reservoir. The portafilters fit very well. Seems to be well made.
Negative Product Points
Pricey. Good espresso from ground coffee takes some practice, but doesn't any machine?
First, a little about myself so you know where I am coming from.
I am an electrical engineer who also majored in theatre, so I have both a left and a right brain<S>. Some of my comments will be on the engineering aspects and some on the aesthitics.
This machine worked perfectly right out of the box. All you have to do is plug it in and prime the pump and you are ready to go. The machine was packaged very well for shipment. The machine is well balanced and feels sturdy. This model has the new brass boiler that is chrome plated.
The switches and lights are of very good quality. <The switches are upside down for American consumers> When the switch is in the down position it is on.
The portafilters fit very well and they mate with ease. Some espresso machines require you to almost pick it up and align the portafilter. This X1's alignment is very nice and is close to intuitive.
The speed of this machine is impressive. Cold tap water will be at brewing temperature in about one minute. I can be drinking an espresso in two minutes in the morning and this includes pulling a blind shot first to warm things up well.
Some readers have talked about the inadequate pressure of this model. I believe that most espresso machines overrate their pressure. First the pressure rating is probably peak pressure and second it is probably at the pump outlet NOT at the brewhead. I believe the pressure to be quite adequate for making good espresso and Francis Francis gives you the true steady state pressure reading.
Pods do work well with this machine. However, I roast my own coffee. With fresh roasted coffee and the proper grind and tamp I can create a crema that is 1/4 inch thick and really sticks to the cup.
I really do not understand the negative reviews this machine gets. Of course I have the latest model in RED. VROOOOOOOOM a Ferrari on my counter. Also, I have enjoyed several espressos in the espresso motherland, Italy. The results I get are just as good, No, I will brag a little<S> better than most espressos I have ever purchased.
Aesthetically this thing is beautiful and the ergonimics are wonderful as well.
Reliability remains unknown because I have only had the machine a month, but so far so good.
I will try to post a follow-up in three months.
I am very pleased with my purchase.
Machine was purchased at Goods, Inc in Bloomington, Indiana. They threw in some Illy pods and Illy cups which was nice. Pricing was OK at this store.
The best part was the associate David who took a lot of time with me.