Good machine, easy to use, which makes excellent espresso, even for a beginner.
Positive Product Points
For a newby this machine is brilliant. Easy to use but producing great espresso.
Negative Product Points
I love coffee but never planned to buy an espresso macihne. My wife bought it for my 60th. Just before, she mentioned getting one for me and I said 'no' 'cos I thought she might get a nespresso or some such. She'd already bought the Gaggia Classic (she bought me 60 presents - I guess she thought she had nothing to lose - but this was the best, though the guitar ran a close second). It is superb. Far better espresso than local cafes. Easy to use but consistantly good coffee. I've become a coffee geek!!
I've only made espresso and never tried the steamer because capuccino is not my thing but I'm going to experiment because others seem to think it's the thing to go for.
I didn't really get involved in that but the local (ish) Gaggia outlet is pretty impressive for accessories.
Three Month Followup
This continues to perform well. In fact expressos have got better, probably because my technique has improved.
One Year Followup
Actually 2.5 years. Still use it every day and it still performs perfectly. I've used the steamer (for guests) and it works fine but as it's not my thing I can't really comment on how it compares.
I've added a knock out box and I'd recommend it. I suspect it's less likely to damage the filter holder.