Great machine - Dual boiler at the cost of a single boiler!
Positive Product Points
Fast startup, Great coffee, rich crema.
Negative Product Points
Haven't found one yet - when I do - I'll update the review.
I've been using a saeco super-automatic for the past 3-4 years. While I liked the convenience, I never liked the quality of espresso itself in it. Weak, with no crema - no way to make a double shot etc always bothered me, but I found the regular espresso machines too bothersome. Either they were expensive and required a long startup time (HX machines) or they were single boilers that required quite a bit of waiting between the espresso and the steaming. I like to have a good crema layer while I start pouring the milk in so that I can try my hand on some latte art (I manage a decent one now and then - even on the weak crema from the saeco), and don't like waiting for longer than 10 or so seconds after I steam the milk so that the steam doesn't separate from the milk. Unfortunately, with the single boiler machines - either you wait with the espresso for a minute or so - which loses crema - or with steamed milk for a while - which separates the foam. Not ideal!
And then I discover this Ascaso Steel Duo Prof - I paid $837 - including shipping from JL Hufford - and it includes a Ascaso I2 grinder, and a bunch of other freebies (milk thermometer, steaming pitcher, 1lb coffee). Can't beat the price!
It took me a bit of trial and error (10 coffees worth) with the grind fineness and the temperature - but now I am making consistent coffee with a great layer of crema. I get decent crema in a single shot and great crema in a double. As good as the espressos from the local specialty shop. The steam is powerful enough for me to make decent latte art.
Overall, I think this is the best machine in the market now at this price point.