I'm happy with this machine and I'm drinking a lot more coffee.
Positive Product Points
Excellent results and a big improvement from the Mocha Pot I've been using for the last 10 years. Plenty of steam. Very easy to use.
Negative Product Points
Steam wand is a little leaky and a little awkward to use. Pressurized portafilter requires a little art to obtain a good single shot.
After years and years of messing around with mocha pots and mostly making drip coffee, a single use of friends Krups pump machine convinced me to plunk down some hard earned currency for a "real" espresso machine. I reserved $300.00 for the purchase until I realized that the grinder was as important as the machine. I made then made a more realistic limit of $400.00. Based on reviews here and elsewhere I chose the Saeco machine. My total expenditure with Solis grinder was about $350.00
My experience with the Espresso Classico has been similar to that of many other reviewers here. This is a great machine for the money. It reliably produces excellent shots. It is easy to use and easy to learn. This unit supplies plenty of steam for my morning latte, but it really shines producing a shot of espresso after dinner. My intuition is that you might gain more control over your shot if you didn't rely on the pressurized portafilter, but the fact is it produces excellent shots right out of the box.
I found the video that shipped with this unit to be a real confidence booster, and the manuals are clear and easy to follow.
I purchased this unit online from Whole Latte Love. It arrived in two days without any problems.
Three Month Followup
I'm still very pleased with this machine.
I've considered getting the non-pressurized portafilter like some others have suggested - just to be a little experimental, but I'm really satisfied with the default set up. I've found that a little extra tamp on the single shots really does the trick. No other issues have shown up.
I've done a thorough cleaning and descaling and this was all very easy to do.
In general this machine and grinder combination are so easy to use that I never consider making drip coffee, unless there are more than 4 coffee drinkers around.