Design Classic, commercial size portafilter, great espresso, easy to use.
Negative Product Points
The steam wand is not the best.
Not sure why the endless complaints about this machine. Perhaps they are based on 110v performance in the U.S. and the old model X1.
We got the new model (deeper heavier grouphead, brass and chrome inside and a commercial style portafilter, and a weird tamper thing that stops the portafilter sneeze ocurring,yay)
If you are going to get one, I can thoroughly recommend the following...
Commercial tamper (use this how you would in a cafe, then load in the portafilter using the supplied dooflicki)
Decent grinder, as with any machine you simply cannot hope to emulate something you just tasted on holiday in Sant' Eustachio without something as adjustable as a Rocky or similar.
Other things I have noticed which seem to happen on my machine....
Finding the grind. The pump will vibrate faster if it is releasing pressure back into the boiler quiet a noticable increase. (find this point and then back it off a stop) this setting should then be fine and you can adjust variables tamping harder or softer. The dooflicki prevents soupiness afterwards and you can wack out a firm cake of used grounds with no mess. The right grind will give you about a 25 second extraction and enough crema for everyone to be happy.
I am currently looking for a different steam nozzle as I would like a little more control steaming, the supplied nozzle is suited to Cappuccinos which is fine if you just want that.
Finally, I roast coffee for a job, given that if I want a coffee I can go and get one from a La Marzocco it is fairly pointless going and spending thousands on a similar machine for home, at least not until Marzocco make one. This machine is robust enough to sit still and retain a good consistant temperature but small enough to take on holiday, I get the best espresso I have had anywhere from it and it is pretty easy on the eye but like any machine you go to buy don't expect to get the same results until you have taken care of all the variables.
Unfortunately I have not yet come across a slaesperson in this country who knows anything about these machines (mostly found in design stores) you have to do your research and make sure you get a new model, I think the old ones are the reason for such vehement reviews.