This has been a great starter machine for me at a great price. Goodbye Starbucks.
Positive Product Points
Ease of use. Nice stainless steel appearance. Nice stainless accessories come with it.
Negative Product Points
No temperature control. Pressurized portafilter drives many purists batty. Short frothing wand.
I bought this new off EBAY and got a great deal. No prior experience. The unit works right out of the box and makes a very decent espresso, better than the shots I get locally. Now that I have been working on it a few weeks I am able to get very reproducible shot quality with superb crema. Although I was intially lead to believe that tamping was not required, i find it works best with a moderate tamp. The stainless steel and clean lines make it a very nice addition to our kitchen and it seems very solidly built. Like others I have a difficult time seeing the water line so I just check the tank every couple of days. Clean-up is a breeze. I still haven't quite gotten the hang of the frother but I think it's me, not the machine, and i continue to experiment. I think that for a newbie who wants to make their own espresso and doesn't want to break the bank this is an excellent entry level machine.