An okay machine for those who like milk-based drinks, don't want to think much about tamping, and aren't concerned about plastic parts and appearance.
Positive Product Points
lots of steam capacity
simple to operate
chromed brass boiler, group, and portafilter
doesn't dominate countertop space
ability to adjust for different cup heights
Negative Product Points
crema-enhancing portafilter design
a bit too much plastic for my tastes
useless built-in tamper
I bought the SL70 mailorder over the internet for $299 including shipping and a few accessories.
I liked the machine okay in general, but I could not stand the crema-enhancing portafilter. The filter basket has pinholes in the bottom, supposedly to enhance pressure during the shot and reduce the effect of variable tamping force. I would rather have a "standard" portafilter design, because the crema from the SL70, although easy to get, just wasn't nearly as velvety and long lasting as crema I've seen from other machines with "standard" portafilters. I reached this conclusion after much experimentation with grind and tamping pressure while using fresh roasted beans. But if you want simplicity and not have to worry too much about precise tamping, this may be the machine for you. And if you like mostly milk-based drinks, this could be a non-issue.
The built-in tamper next to the group is useless. It is too small to fit the basket properly. I purchased a hand-held 52mm flat-bottomed tamper that fit much better and was easier to tamp consistently with.
The cup holder and drip tray are plastic. The cup holder can be inverted to account for various cup heights.
The front control panel is also plastic. On my particular machine, the front panel was not fastened securely to the metal body, leaving a slight gap through which water could possibly have entered into the internals. This really bothered me, and I expected higher quality control on a machine at this price point.
Although appearance is highly subjective, I think the SL70 is downright ugly in person. My wife even commented that she thought it would look much nicer and less "plasticy" for the price.
I returned the unit to the retailer after a week of use in exchange for a Rancilio Silvia, which I think will suit me better.