The PL041TQE is one of the top in it's class and has really improved on the complaints of the previous models in the PL041 line. Great value.
Positive Product Points
It does what it's supposed to do. It makes great shots and great foam. I have the PL041TQE model which has all the upgrades and improvements from previous models. The steam wand is top notch now. It has the integrated PID which is really nice as well. This is 1st line's proprietary model that has the upgraded switches on it. So far it's done exactly what I wanted it to do. It looks cool, too.
Negative Product Points
57 mm portafilter is not standard so you can't use it with 58 mm parts. I can't see that it degrades the performance, though. It's a little light. I have to really hold on to it when attaching the portafilter.
I've only owned cheapo espresso machines before this one (mr. Coffee, Krups, etc.) so I only have those to compare it too. If strictly comparing to that it's like the difference between a punch card reader and a modern pc. I'm definitely happy. This was my experience out of the box.
Received it on time, all the parts were there and undamaged.
Opened it up and read the manual. It was pretty easy to understand. It kept telling me to check an indicator light though which Showed it as the PID on the diagram. I'm not sure what it was talking about, I just waited until the temp got to where I set it, though.
My first shot did not pull anything through. I called first line and they told me my grind was too fine. I loosened the grind and, presto, a great 25 second shot.
The steamer worked great, I foamed up some mik with no problems.
I drank my cappucino and it was delicious. A very intense caffeine buzz followed.