Best looking retro-style machine around. Makes fantastic crema and is a pleasure to use. The switches really go "clack" (if you know what I mean). Really sturdy and looks great in the kitchen. All my mates are jealous.
Negative Product Points
Not too many, and nothing that really lets it down. As others have said, the temperature gauge seems a little random, and at times appears to get stuck in place. Also on the odd occasion when I remove the handle there is a bit of watery build up in the basket which means the puck comes out a bit sloppy. Don't know if that's because I've tamped too hard? Finally, the tamper that comes with the machine is a bit rubbish but that is an item that is easily replaced. Anyway, as I've said, these points don't bother me a great deal and certainly don't detract from the overall impression.
My wife bought me this machine after I had drooled over it for many many months. It was one of those things that I didn't feel I could justify buying, but since the wife bought it for me it made it ok. On Christmas morning I opened my presents like an eight year old to find exactly what I'd wanted, the Ascaso Dream in Anthracite Grey. Ooooh yeah. My wife had also arranged for her parents to give me the Ascaso I/1 grinder to go with it so I was chuffed. My first impressions were that it was heavy (in a tough, sturdy kind of way), and all the parts fitted together beautifully. It's more or less ready to use straight out of the box though a few practise brews were required before I started gulping them down.
The shots I have been pulling ever since have been fantastic. The Dream produces the most superb crema that I have ever been able to produce, (admittedly only using cheaper plastic Delonghi machines), so it has made me very happy. I tend to drink flat whites (which are the drink of choice where I come from). The wand does an excellent job of frothing/steaming, though it is one of the few parts of the machine that seems a little cheap in that it is a bit small and flimsy. Having said that, it's not a big machine anyway so I guess they couldn't have made it too much bigger.
Having had other cheaper machines succomb to the evil British limescale I started out only using bottled water to fill it. But after going through a few zillion bottles I have now switched to a filtered water jug and to date limescale seems to have been kept at bay. I have also used the anti-limescale rinse-through solution provided with the machine and it continues to work perfectly. I find the water tank very easy to access to either fill or remove.
If I'm going to be really picky the machine does drip quite a lot once it has been switched off, but the drip tray is pretty easy to get out and clean so it isn't a big deal to rinse out once in a while. Also, as referred to above, having pulled the odd shot the basket can sometimes be quite watery so I'm wondering whether I have tamped too hard to cause this? Anyway, it doesn't happen too often, normally when I've made several espressos in a row and in a rush.
I haven't tried using the coffee pod option as I enjoy the whole process of choosing and grinding beans too much so I can't comment on that function.
All in all I love this machine for the great coffee it makes and I still haven't seen anything that looks half as good.
I didn't buy it myself, was lucky enough to be given it.