This is my first serious machine, and I very happy with the quality of the espresso it can crank out consistently.
Out of box, this was an easy setup. The Rituale was packed well in the box, and while heavy, was not hard to get out of the packaging and up on to the counter. It came with single and double basket portafilters, the requisite cost-saving, diminutive plastic tamper, water hardness strips, a water softener, and a blank basket for backflushing. I bought a rosewood 58mm tamper to go with it and haven't really used the single portafilter.
The top warming tray, as noted elswhere, does slope slightly forward. There is a slight triangular shape to the cover due to a back wall about 1 cm tall that adds height to the back to sit flush with the side panel. A strip of metal in front that forms a front lip keeps cups in place.
The power switch was a minor hassle since I knew the core machine was perfectly fine (and useable when manually holding the button in). The case was somewhat difficult to remove due to the weight of the thick stainless steel panels that rest on the screws and keep the form of the exterior. Actually, the difficulty is more attributed to reassembly than removal for these reasons. I was somewhat surprised by the flimsiness of the power switch assembly, which just hangs on the right side panel with the gripping power of flimsy gaskets. However, the boiler assembly is solid and formidable.
Yes, the Rituale is wonderful, and I enjoy doppio goodness right away every morning without *$ and paper cups. Iced coffee drinks for summer are a breeze. I haven't used the steamwand very much due to the weather, preferring my old bodum piston frother to use cold milk. My limited experiences with the wand are all positive: powerful and efficient.
I really like the pump pressure gauge for adjusting my grind. Contrary to other reports or rumors I have encountered, the low placement of the dual gauge has not been a problem: I can see it without strain and there has been no splashing from the drip tray or pressure release on the group.
The drip tray is massive. The water tank is a slight hassle (some sort of visable gauge or meter would be great but is likely impractical and would be unreliable), but I find that I can maintain the water level without much thought.
I want to report that it warms up and is ready to go more quickly for me than expected, within 20 minutes if I ever turn it off for any reason. However, if the auto shut-off sensor for the watertank goes off, I let the machine settle down for 5 or 10 minutes before turning on after refilling the tank.
This is the beautiful beast of my kitchen, and I love it. I hope that there are no reliablity issues that deprive me of the sweet essence I am already spoiled by.