I would buy the AutoTamp again, even if it were made of gold with the price tag to match (thankfully, it's not). Hope's this helps if you are thinking you might like to get one.
Positive Product Points
Simple to use -- no need for instructions, or the time it takes to read an owner's manual. Built to last -- no cheap plastic parts -- should last as long as my espresso machine, if not longer. Does what it is advertised to do -- how do I know it delivers 30 lb. of pressure -- the crema -- the proff is in the coffee.
Negative Product Points
Ugly decals on machine -- but this doesn't break my heart.
Think of all the variables involved in making a great shot of espresso:
The coffee -- you search and you find the right roast and roaster for you.
After you find the best coffee beans for you, you need to dial in the grind -- a good quality burr-grinder (like the Rocky or Mazzer) will do the trick.
So you get the grind down that is right for your machine, next, you get a good scale that is accurate to the gram -- so you can dose out your own 7 or 14 grams -- that's solved.
Then you put the 14 grams of coffee in the filter, and tamp level with exactly 30 lbs of pressure, and you do this how . . . ?????????????
Put the portafilter in the group head -- easy enough
Switch on for 20-25 seconds for 2.0 - 2.5 oz. of espresso (using a double filter and 14 grams) of great espresso, with lots of carmelized crema.
Don't forget to maintain your equipment -- backflush, clean, etc., regularly.
For a long time, every step could be managed with a little thinking and a little work -- EXCEPT STEP 4 -- the tamp. The Autotamp takes the last variable, the last bit of guesswork, out of making the best cup of coffee -- the shot of your dreams.
The Autotamp delivers the right pressure -- 30 lbs. -- , and levels the grounds, every time -- I could never do this by hand tamping -- even when I put the bathroom scale on the counter and put the portafilter on the scale and then tamped!!!
Buy a good machine -- buy a good grinder -- buy a good scale -- buy good, fresh coffee beans -- and BUY THE AUTOTAMP -- and if you love great espresso, and everything made with it -- you won't be sorry!!! Good equipment will pay for itself.