My wife got me the Magic DeLuxe for Christmas. Thankfully, she bought it at Costco where they have a no questions asked return policy. The first one we had broke down within two weeks. It started spitting metal shavings out of the froth nozzle when it was being primed. I do not think that this was caused by misuse but was a manufacturer's defect. The second one worked well for three months then started having problems. The water would not flow continuously after being primed (either automatically or by hand) and the froth nozzle started mixing too much air into the milk. The water flow problem could be fixed, somewhat after descaling, but it was a temporary fix and it would start acting up again after a day or two. After descaling five times in two weeks I gave up. (We are using filtered water and the hardness indicator showed that our water essentially has NO lime in it!! WTF) As far as the froth arm goes, there was something wrong with the cappucino adaptor. When I remove the adaptor, the arm would work fine again. I tried replacing the O-ring, but this did not solve the air mixing problem. I also made sure that the adaptor was absolutely clean. I think that this machine is simply not well built. We are relatively heavy coffee drinkers drinking around 10 shots per day, although Saeco's instruction book says not to use for 30 or more shots a day, it clearly can't handle even a much lighter load. I noticed that Saeco has discontinued this model and it is only available through Costco and some other large warehouse-like retailers. Perhaps Saeco is aware of the problems with this model. Attempts to contact Saeco's customer service were not fruitful to say the least.
Ok as far as the quality of the coffee goes, it is OK, but definitely not the quality you get at a real Italian coffee shop. I have been to Italy several times and I know how good the coffee is over there. In fact, usually I hate drinking coffee at American coffee shops (unless they serve real Italian coffee) because 99% of the time the coffee tastes like burnt rubber. I stick to using Italian made and roasted coffee beans for the most part such as Lavaza and Illy, and the beans the machine came with were good too (Swiss made- Cafe Bel Etage). Although, I do not consider myself an expert barista, my wife is. In fact she was a barista for five years before we got married. The coffee made with the Magic deluxe (using the beans mentioned above) is invariably weak (both machines we had produced the same results). Even at the finest grind and largest dose setting, the pour times were always under 10 seconds not giving enough time for full flavored extraction. I guess this is fine if you're used to the weak espresso they serve at American coffee shops.
We finally replaced the Magic Deluxe with a Delonghi Magnifica (EAM4000--identical to EAM3200). Although this machine has a thermo block instead of a boiler, it works fine. In fact, out of the box it produces much better espresso than the Magic Deluxe. Also it is much more stylish and has a slightly smaller footprint. It seems to have a better quality grinder than the Magic Deluxe as it is capable of producing a finer grind (as can be seen by inspecting the 'pucks'). Even at the weak coffee setting it produces much stronger espresso than the Magic Deluxe. The pour times are much easier to get to a satisfactory rate (we like 18 seconds). The main weakness is that the frother (like all thermo block models) spits out more water and does not produce as fine of a microfoam as the Magic Deluxe (when it was working). However, I believe that the quality of the actual coffee is more important than the quality of the foam. I will write a follow up review on the longevity of the Delonghi in a few months, but so far I think it is a better machine. Certainly, having the control knobs easily accessible on the face of the machine is a major advantage as well.