This is a nice machine with a slim, euro design that will produce great coffee for several years but not built to last...
Positive Product Points
Great looking espresso machine. Very well constructed. Produces, at least to me, a great espresso. It accepts both pods and regular coffee. I have been using mostly pods but the taste is still much better than most coffee houses in Baltimore.
Negative Product Points
There is only one warranty shop -- empire fullfillment -- in all of the US. You must send your broken machine there at your cost, wait weeks to have machine repaired, and then pay to have it returned. The machine is heavy and very costly to ship. I am about to throw it out because after 3 years, it is now about to have to go back to the shop for the second time this summer. The first time was 6 weeks waiting for the machine to get fixed.
I bought the X3 a little over a year ago. I have been exceedingly pleased with the results. It looks great. It is fairly slim (and I have limited countertop space). Mine is bright Ferrari Red.
The X3 heats up quite quickly. Probably less than 2 minutes for the first one and probably less than 30 seconds for additional shots. As I noted above, I have been using mostly pods and the coffee has been more than satisfactory and I have been an espresso drinker for 10 years. Almost all pods produce an excellent crema though Bristot is the best.
Steaming milk is quite easy. The stem swivels front to back. It has a side port to aerate the milk so you have to giggle around that port to ensure that you are creating foam rather than steamed milk.
My only complaint is the water tank is pretty small. I probably fill it every three days or so and it is a pain to get at. It is located in the back so you have to pull the machine out and pull the tank out to get water into it. You will grow to hate this water tank...
Whole Latte Love rocked.
Three Month Followup
Machine has been in the shop 2 times this summer. I have owned the machine for 3 years and it has now cost well over 50% of the original costs in repairs. This is not a machine for longevity. Your mileage may vary.
One Year Followup
Died 13 months after the last repairs. My machine may be an outlier but are you going to bet $500+ on that?