Great value for the money - learn the frothing idiosyncrasies and have fun!
Positive Product Points
Solid, well crafted machine that takes up a minimum of counter space. Has a rugged commercial feel to the portafilter and makes excellent espresso with decent crema. Convenient top-fill for water.
Negative Product Points
Metal pan that covers drip tray has cheesy looking painted white surface (machine is silver and black). Steam pressure for foaming could be much better but when right technique is used it's adequate
After owning an $80 DeLonghi pump machine for a year or so I got the bug and stepped up a few levels. Started on impulse with a Briel Multipro that I bought at a local store. Got it home and not happy - construction quality was not top shelf - felt a bit cheesy even though it was heavy. Water had to be fillled from the lower right side and it had a large footprint (not good for my kitchen). Returned it, did some more research and settled on the Baby Millenium. Nice silver finish that matches my Solis Maestro grinder, small footprint, top fill for water and excellent build quality. I chose it because it generates same pump pressure as more expensive models (the Classic) and has the solenoid controls. I had lots of trouble getting consistent 26 second double shots with good crema until I began using Torrefazione Italia Perugia blend (buy it at www.titalia.com). Now the shots are very consistent and incredibly tasty. Salesman advised using a plastic sleeve attachment for frothing and said not to use the "perfect froth" auto attachment. I used techniques found in various articles and still got bubbles much too large in froth. Finally got advice from wholelattelove and it's now doing a very good job on foaming. key is the wand tip should be kept fairly close to bottom of milk pitcher and close to side - do not move it around or try to get the angle for counter clockwise milk rotation that is often recommended. I wish it had an angled wand like the Starbucks Athena machine but I am getting used to it. I'm meticulous on cleaning and thus far the machine has been totally reliable.
www.wholelattelove.com has been fantastic. They had a good price, free shipping and when the order screen on website wasn't working I called on a Saturday morning to leave message for their Tech Support department. I ended up getting a live person who took my order and shipped it promptly. I have called twice for support since ordering and they have been great - I recommend them and will buuy from them again when I need something.