For under $300 you cannot find a better Espressor maker - no brag, just fact.
Positive Product Points
All the basic features I researched and wanted for under $200: 1.) covered large water reservoir (40 oz) with level window 2.) heating tray atop unit 3.) removable drip tray assy. 4.) stainless wrapper 5.) 1 & 2 shot and pod filters, stainless cups & saucers, and pitcher 6.) steerable steam wand of simple design 7.) uncomplicated manual controls. Even for up to about $250 this unit is a good value.
Negative Product Points
After a two week shake-down cruise we found no drawbacks with this unit. The only suggestion for Breville is to include a backlighted reservoir level viewer. The level window included is just fine, but is shadowed by the unit and any counter lighting in the vicinity. Our Keurig coffee maker has a LED uplighted water reservoir, and Breville would be well recommended to follow that design detail. The only other point of contention, albeit a minor one, is the rather flimsy cleaning tool included. Two of its features are obsolete given the upgraded design of the latest Cafe Roma, and the third feature, a pin to clean the filters, is easily bent and broken, and probably not required anyway. Actually, there could be a bit more room under the steam wand or the wand could be longer, to facilitate easier access to frothing, but again this is a minor detail. This is resolved in the next model up from ours, and I considered purchasing that unit just for the one feature improvement, but the price point was just not justifiable for this convenience.
This unit is the best value of all those I found while doing internet research. The #1 feature to me is the completely removable and replaceable drip tray assy. which allows for easy cleanup. The 2nd and 3rd superior features were to be found only after receiving the unit, they being the small footprint that still allows for plenty of room to brew and steam; and the fine quality construction & appearance. We also like the flip-lid covering the water reservoir, the very robust, roomy warming tray atop the unit, and the high quality stainless cups and saucers, and frothing pitcher. The 3 stainless filters included are also of high quality design and construction. One item to note is that since these filters are of dual-layer design, after each brewing cycle some water will be trapped between the upper and lower skins, requiring occasional flushing by a short, water-only brew operation, and/or by soaking in soapy water or a vinegar solution. Overall, Breville definitely uses real R&D to develop a good product, and does not simply package some else's junk. Do your homework and Breville will always be on your top three list.
Amazon nearly always offers a good buying experience. This time is no different except for the fact that some of the pictures of the unit were not accurate, being photos of the previous model of Cafe Roma. Even the picture here in CoffeeGeek is wrong (steam wand shown is of older model). By telephone I suggested and Amazon gladly accepted that a closer review of pictures should be undertaken. This confusion only cost me a bit more research time, primarily to find out if anyone was still selling the older configuration of the Cafe Roma. The improvement of note in the upgrade model that we bought is a newly designed steam wand, sporting a finger handle, and a straight tube with no attachment at the business end. This newer design is a definite plus, making cleanup easier, while not giving up any frothing ability.