New, the Maximo machine ranged anywhere from $299 - $399. Used, they can be had on eBay from about $30 - $80. In this price range (both new and used), the competition is mainly Saeco and Gaggia's "plastic" machines: Gran Gaggia, Gaggia Espresso, Saeco Maestro, Saeco Gran Crema, Saeco Via Veneto, Saeco SuperIdea. This machine was purchased to replace my home machine--a Saeco Maestro (the least expensive pump model I was able to find at the time: about $50 used). This review is basically how this machine stacks up to others in it's class.
In pictures, the Krups Semi-Commercial Maximo looks very rugged and, well, Semi-Professional. In real life, it is made fairly thin black plastic, and the "stainless steel" brushed accents seem to be made from either thin stainless steel or aluminum. I say "thin plastic" because the Saeco and Gaggia models have a very thick skin of "thermoplastic" that has a very solid feel to it, the Maximo does not. And it's BIG. My wife looked at it with contempt when I set it on the counter at home. My Saeco immediately reclaimed it's space on the counter, and this unit was slated to be my "office machine."
As for construction, the portafilter has an extremely light feel compared to the brass portafilter on any Saeco or Gaggia machine in this price range. The portafilter actually felt like, and had the weight of, my old Mr. Coffee steam-based espresso (term used loosely here) portafilter. The Maximo filter baskets themselves left a bit to be desired--the double basket simply looks like a single basket with more holes. The filter baskets were also very light compared to the Saeco model baskets, and I worried that a firm whack to the knock box would dent the edge of this basket. Even the portafilter handle on my Saeco is much more sturdy than the handle on this unit. Overall, the metals and plastics used just feel like that of the cheap steam units that can be purchased for $20-$30 at your local Target or Wal-Mart store.
On the plus side, there is a removable water reservoir that has a built-in filter at the bottom, the portafilter/basket did seem to seat securely, and the froth aid looked interesting. There is also a decent drip tray with ample capacity, and it's removable. The unit also has a built-in tamper (the black thing on the left side next to the group head), which is fairly convenient. Others have noted that the group head gaskets tend to leak on this model fairly easily, but I did not have this problem in my brief period of ownership.
In brewing, I was able to get some crema on a few double shots, but I was unable to use as fine a grind as I can use in my Saeco. The Maximo yielded decent results with pre-ground from a can, but fresh ground from my local JavaJoes choked the machine to the point where a few drips came out, and that was it. I'm not sure if the pump is weaker than the Saeco (though that is my impression), or if it's due to the filter basket design, but this machine does not seem to have the power to put out great espresso. To Krups' credit, they did not put a "pressurized" portafilter on the unit, like the newer Saeco models have. Maybe this is why they called it "Semi-Commercial"?
Frothing with this machine works fairly well with the froth aid (though you're not going to be getting microfoam with this device). Without the froth aid, however, the pressure is just not there using the metal tip alone, and extra effort is required to get any froth. So, if you get this machine, don't count on microfoam, and make sure it has the frothing attachment!
Bottom line is for the $50-$80 used price, or the $299-$399 new price, it's DEFINITELY worth your time to check out Saeco and Gaggia models mentioned above (or the Saeco Rio Vapore, Classico, and Gaggia Baby if you're price range is a little more) before purchasing this unit. Once you have had even a base model from the "Italian" companies, the bar has been set too high for you to own this machine. Sorry about the lengthy review, but I thought if I only said, "it's not worth the money" I'd be putting myself on the chopping block.