Good looker. Strong, fast, fairly dry steam. Quite tweakable for the gadget freak. Good espresso for a non-geek.
Negative Product Points
Rinse cycle counts among the "ten" when it sends the "empty grounds drawer" message. Steam hole could be a bit smaller to achieve a finer foam. This machine can be choked.
Nothing in this world is perfect; hence I never give "10"s.
But I might have given this a "9" in the fit and finish department if the front panel didn't scrape on the drip tray when opening/closing. (To compensate, I gently lift the coffee dispenser close to where it exits the front panel, while the door is in transit.)
Concerning usability, as Mark always says, read the manual first. I downloaded one prior to the purchase, just to see if it was as bad as most. It's actually a notch above. And it's actually easier (more intuitive) to perform the programming functions than to read about them.
On the downside, the motor for the brew group is a bit weak. I stalled my machine during an early experiment. For the cost of this thing, it would be nice to be able to fearlessly explore the full range of grind and dose settings without choking it. But within the "safe" range, it still produces far better espresso than a couple of the local shops I've visited.
I ordered this from a friend who manages a store in a neighboring state; hence the excellent price. The machine is well packed in its box, and I would say that it could probably survive UPS without being double boxed (although mine was). But I'm still waiting for my sales slip. Lost in space . . .
Otherwise, an excellent transaction. And Starbucks' two-year warranty takes away some of the anxiety of dropping this much cash for a coffee machine.
Three Month Followup
No problems at all, going on six months.
But I wish it: 1) didn't count the "blank shot" post-rinse among "the ten" and, 2) had a larger water resivoir.
Also, keep an eye on the bean hopper--it's small and might catch you by surprise when it runs out.
Although the steam hole is a bit large, and hence if you're not careful you will produce BIG bubbles, I have on occasion, and with a very steady hand, been able to produce satin-finish pourable foam like the big guys. Cool.