A good starter machine that will quickly make you want to buy an auto.
Positive Product Points
Much better than drip. Warms up fast.
Negative Product Points
Inconsistent shots, based on only being able to approximate the correct amount of coffee per pull. Instructions tell you to "leave approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch of space in the top of the basket" and if you want only 1 shot "fill the basket approximately half way." Of course, if you're not a real coffee geek, you won't notice the inconsistencies.
As with any manual maker, dealing with the ground coffee is messy. It's also a pain to cleanup. You might want to pump some water through the "Rapporto Filter" (the part you put the coffee in) to clean it both before AND after pulling your shots, or else you get old stale coffee stuck in the bottom of it. Not real nice tasting....
Disposal of the grounds and cleanout of the filter basket is a little time consuming. Of course you need to do this after every pull. This again is normal for manual machines.
This was my second espresso machine. I went several years after my first Krups unit, before deciding to try again. The Barista convinced me that espresso is truly superior to anything else I can make at home (the Krups did not..). But the preparation to make your shots, making your shots, and cleanup is time consuming enough that I won't even bother if I don't have 5-10 minutes to spare.
I think it's over priced for what it does, but they'll charge what people will pay. Good luck finding any espresso machine that's not horrendously overpriced.
As an entry level machine that will make decent coffee, this is a pretty good machine. It's highly portable too.
WARNING-You will want to go buy a real machine after owning this one for a month!
I have now been converted to the automatic style of espresso maker. I just bought a Saeco Magic de Luxe, and I'll never do it manually again.
I got a special deal through a friend in the business. If I were to return it, I could get in store credit only.