Definitely a great purchase for home, especially if space/aesthetics is important, and also if you can get a below retail price. I would recommend this machine, it's a pleasure to use.
Positive Product Points
the x3 doesn't take up a lot of counterspace and it looks great. easy to refill and easy to clean, especially if you are consistent about it, wiping down surfaces after making espresso, heating milk. a great home machine that makes a terrific espresso drink.
Negative Product Points
the steam arm could be longer, and the steamer could have more power. it's certainly adequate, and if you get it just right (frothing pitcher in the freezer for an hour before steaming helps), the foam is actually micro.
yes, if you're trying to work fast on multiple drinks, the sprayback or portafilter "sneeze" is a pain given lack of 3 way valve.
I enjoy using this machine and it makes great coffee, especially if you are roasting beans at home. the level of crema on freshly roasted beans blows away anything that you can extract from the illy canned or podded beans that come with the machine. I typically use the grounds portafilter but the pods are handy if you are in a rush. I don't use the FF filter screen, although some recommend it and it certainly makes the cleanup process easier.
I recommend giving the machine plenty of time to heat up before use. FF has been pretty responsive as far as service goes -- they sent detailed cleaning instructions when prompted, and also talked me through initial setup.
the water reservoir is big enough (for more than 4 caps) , and easily refilled. I actually don't find the spill tray too small -- an espresso cup under the portafilter when waiting for the steamer to heat up and after pulling shots reduces the run-off alot.
As noted, the steaming wand is probably the biggest drawback, as it lacks ooomph enough. microfoam is doable, but everything else has to be perfect (pitcher/milk temp, boiler temp), etc.
Great machine, especially if you can get a good price...it looks like since i purchased, the price has gone up considerably to ~$500 (!). Glad I bought it, and not having any kind of upgrade fever or other buyer's remorse (at least for now). In fact, kindly glad I don't have one of those chromy monsters on the kitchen counter.
So all in all, a fun machine that is easy to use and produces quality drinks, especially once you acclimate to its quirks.
purchase was pretty straightfoward and got machine on sale. Shipping was a bit of a drag,