Beautiful design, solid construction and a great frother. The wait time between espresso extraction and heating the steamer is very short.
Negative Product Points
This machine can be finicky when using ground espresso and the spoon which serves as a tamper is not that great. If you want to make espresso after using the frother, it takes a few minutes to cool down to the right temperature.
This is a great machine. I had admired it for a long time and had to save up for it for 6 months but it was well worth it. The deep blue colour I chose is beautiful but is being discontinued. The thermostat is a useful a point of reference for knowing the right temperature for espresso and steaming the milk. I've only had the machine for a month so I'm still experimenting with the grind. It might take a while for a beginner to get used to using this machine, especially if they're not using pods, which may the reason for some of the negative reviews. I found it fairly simple because I had used a Philips machine for 8 years. Users need to learn about selecting the right grind, frothing, etc. before being comfortable using it.
I had done almost all of my research on-line so all I had to do was call to order. In Canada, this machine is hard to find and the price varies a lot between the few stores that carry it.
Three Month Followup
I still really enjoy and would recommend this machine. Don't bother with pods, even Illy ones, they aren't half as good as grinding and using fresh beans. I came across another booklet produced by the manufacturer with useful information; the espresso shouldn't take longer than 30 seconds to extract and the more you heat up your cup beforehand the faster the foam disappears.