Solid, straightforward machine that rewards a skilled hand.
Positive Product Points
Built solidly. Straightforward usage. Very strong pump. Boiler comes up to heat quickly and retains heat for many shots in a row.
Negative Product Points
The water fill is in the back and the tank is not visible so under cupboard locations can be a hassle. Cup warmer is passive and takes a long time.
Silvia is solidly built and nice looking. The only flaws in this area are, first the stream knob which is plastic and feels below the quality of the rest of the machine (for example, the steam knob on the Gaggia Classic is much nicer to use and looks nicer) and second, the black plastic cover for the water container. Speaking of, the water container is enclosed and located in the rear. This makes checking the level and re-filling a minor hassle if Silvia is located under a cupboard. As far a negatives go, that's about it as everything else is wonderful.
Use is straightforward, although the directions are, well, not very direct. Ignore them and read one of the many online sites about Silvia. She comes up to heat quickly although the passive cup warmer is not very effective. The pump is strong and can run all day as is the milk steamer. Clean up is a breeze, but the spill tray is a two-part affair that is a bit more complicated than it needs to be.
Most importantly, Silvia is built to last and, with the possible exception of the Gaggia Classic, the stand-out product in the sub $700 range.
Very smooth EBay bid on a new product.
Three Month Followup
After 3 months all I can add is that Silvia is an enjoyable long-term partner. Clean her regularly (a couple times a month if you are pulling shots every day) and she'll greet you with a warm embrace each and every morning.