I bought this machine as my first "serious" machine to replace my ailing 10-year-old Krups, and I've used it for over a year now. It was a good crutch to bring me into the world of semi-serious espresso, and although I'm now considering its replacement (a higher-end manual machine) I would still recommend it to the right user.
Who is the right user? I would say that it's somebody who likes a reasonably good espresso but isn't fixated on perfection, somebody who cares more about the results than the process, and somebody who values keeping a clean counter. This is the right user of a superautomatic.
What is a superautomatic? It's a machine that is self-contained, i.e., there is an on-board container for water and beans, and with the push of a button, the machine grinds, doses, tamps, brews and ejects the puck, all automatically. This is a stark contrast to the manual machines which require skill and practice to use well.
The Magic Deluxe is part of the family of superautos by Saeco. They all use the same basic brew group; the difference is in some of the features offered on each model. The Magic Deluxe is toward the high end of the scale, right below the recently introduced Comfort+. The Magic Deluxe offers three programmable buttons to dispense different amounts of coffee (this differs from the lower end in that there are not configurable in this way). They come preprogrammed for approximately 1 oz, 4 oz and 6 oz cups. The Magic Deluxe differs from higher-end Saecos in that temperature is not adjustable, which really is a disadvantage, and there is no LCD display (just indicator lamps), which I think is not a disadvantage.
The Magic Deluxe is very easy to use. Plug it in, fill the hoppers with water and beans, let it warm up, then press your button. The built-in grinder and doser has a range of settings that will produce very good espresso with just about any fresh bean. The grind and brew cycle is reasonably quiet, and the whole machine stays very clean, brewing about 20 espressos before the puck hopper needs to be emptied.
There is also a bypass chute, essentially an alternate hopper if you prefer to use beans other than those in the hopper for a shot or two. The obvious use of this feature is to brew decaf when the coffee hopper is full of regular, but I use it when I want to attempt perfect shots.
The machine is not without liabilities, of course. The largest drawback is that the amount of automation precludes the user having complete control over the process. So, while the results are routinely very good, they are never exactly perfect. This is probably true of every non-professional superauto (as opposed to the "professional" superautos now used in many Starbucks and other coffee houses and restaraunts). Also, the preprogrammed buttons for "American" coffee (the 6 oz button) in actuality just produce overextracted espresso. A better stragety is to pull the best single shot you can and top off with hot water from the steam wand; thus the extra programmable buttons are really extraneous. Finally, I frequently wish the temperature could be adjusted up a few degrees.