The X1 has its detractors, theres no doubt, in fact even those who own it are rarely steadfast in their praise. However it fills a niche in the espresso machine market, that of a design led product. More of that in a bit.
The X1 is a lovely machine to use. Its very simple in it's design, with functional rocker switches and minimal fuss on the front. The thermometer lets you know what the boiler is doing as well as looking pretty cool. Pulling a shot is a simple matter of activating the switch (very solid feel) and watching that flow closely. All the exterior components feel sturdy, and the portafilter heats up nicely when locked into the group.
Pods are the antithesis of espresso to the purist I know, but take a moment to consider the upside. Firstly, no mess. Whatsoever. The X1 will pull a fairly decent shot with a nice layer of crema on top, time after time, and perhaps more importantly, with no effort. Personally, I much prefer making espresso with freshly ground beans, I love to grind ,tamp, watch it pour etc, but sometimes Im in a rush. I know a can lock a pod in, and get a nice shot, no trouble. In comparison with Nestle's Nespresso pods, the ESE ones are gourmet. They also supply 3 filters, so be it ristretto, standard or even longer shot, you can get what you want.
The X1 also works great with ground coffee. A decent grinder is obviously the main component in this relationship, and the quality of your shot will be limited by this, not the X1. Even with my Dualit I've got some pretty decent pulls in recent days (Im a newbie to all this, so give me time).
Gotta be a downside in everything. The X1 isnt really known for its build quality. The exterior seems pretty much bullet proof, but after 2 weeks the thermostat circuit died on mine. Annoying, but I had it repaired within 2 days, so no great problem. The steam wand looks about the same as most others, but seems to make it difficult to steam in a large pitcher somehow. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that it also costs about the same as the Silvia. No answer to this one. It depends on what you want out of a machine.
As I said before, the X1, and all the FF! machine fill a big hole in this market by looking really really good. In the same way that the Siemens Porsche drip machine is almost certainly not the best, there is no comparison out there in terms of style. The X1 is the same.You pay a premium for the design, but get a fine espresso machine under all those curves. Its easy to use, and perfect for the newbie since it will cope with your growing knowledge. If the thought of paying extra for flash looks seems ridiculous to you, dont go near this machine. If (like me) you're looking at all the other machines thinking, "all that $$ to make my kitchen look like a industrial unit", then I think youve found your machine.
It's a great machine, but chances are, you either loved it or hated it as soon as you looked at it.