The Novo 2300+ is a serviceable semi-auto for $170-$199. I was torn between $400 for a battle hard "lifetime" unit, like the Silvia. The 15 year cost works out about the same, I figure. You risk not finding parts for the battle hard unit or buying a new, maybe improved, "cheapy" unit every 5 years. You pays your money, and takes your choice...
Results beat everything I've ever been handed over any counter, period. With or without milk. But, I would die happy with nothing more than to have a non-pressurized filter basket option.
From cold to ready in about 50 sec. Steam pre-heat takes another 50 sec. You can power up in steam preheat mode. Nice if you're using a timer. Recovery is about 30-40 sec. If you like your shot a bit on the hot side, the unit has a poor man's temp control. You can use the steam pre-heat, then draw the shot. This will keep the reheat cycle off for a full 20 sec. pull. Normally, the reheat will start about about 10 seconds in. A nice, and most useful, trick.
The auto magic milk frother gizzmo thing is a no-brainer success straight out of the box. Easy enough to clean, but more work than a simple stem if you want just one-to-go in the AM. Wish they included a manual stem so I could blow my milk in the cup. Ok, so to die happy I need a non-pressure basket and a straight steam stem.
Instructions blame water logged grounds on a bad tamp, or too little coffee. Not so. Tamp as hard as you might and fill it to the brim, no matter. I end up wet every time. I think the pressure filter basket just does not drain as it should. No affect on the result tho, what's left behind when the shot is done can't matter if it doesn't make it into the cup. In a way it's nice, a quick rinse under the tap and the filter is good to go again. You see, pounding in the AM has been known to tick off the Sig. Other.
Alot of reviews around claim leaks around the filter head. I had no problems, but did find where this may come from. You have to make sure the head is tight, a lazy half twist will not cut it. It isn't hard, you just have to learn/know the handle must end up straight out and put it there.
I though a cup heater was kind of pointless, but I ended up really using it. I put the unit on a timer so it's ready to go when I wake up. I do a double cappi wakeup, and its really nice when the heated ceramic cup keeps it all toasty down to the end.