Semi-automatic. You decide the ammount of coffee you want when setting up the unit. After that, fill the filter holder and press one button and you get a decent espresso. Great for the small office.
Negative Product Points
Design complexity, cheap materials, and poor performance.
I have owned this unit for more than two years. Before it I had a simpler Krups combo unit (that prepares conventional coffee as well). I bought it mostly due to its simple operation; the brewing is timed for a single and double espresso one time. After that it pours the same ammount of espresso every time (if you grind and tamp similarly).
The espresso is decent, but can't be compared to a well made pull at your local cafe. Nor can it hold a candle to any of the more "serious" brands.
Also, the steam power is weak. It takes way to long to steam up milk for a single latte. Consider the problems when you have 3 or more Latte lovers over for dinner...
However, the major flaws of this machine is a general lack of quality. Many parts are plastic, including the very important portafilter. The filter can be adjusted for three different "strengths" by turning a ring on the outside of the filter. This complicated filter was the very part that broke on mine, due to frequent disassembling and cleaning, which is a must. This is due to the construction of the filter, which makes it clog easily (a fact admitted even by the local service company). Since some screws in the filter are metal and grip in plastic parts, it's really just a matter of time before a leak develops. In my machine it took 2 years.
Instead of plunging 450 SEK ($50) for a new filter, I got a new Gaggia. The concept of having to frequently disassemble the filter mechanics and replace the whole thing every two years didn't appeal to me.