Outside a few "dream" upgrades, the best in its class.
Positive Product Points
Easily used by a beginner. Great steam! Chromed brass portafilter. Extra large water resevoir. Fast start-up.
Negative Product Points
Plastic housing seems less than durable. Small filter basket (53mm). Ships with completely useless pressurized filter baskets. Cup warmer...barely. Portafilter handle is plastic and feels "cheap".
This purchase came after careful review of both the product and the budget. Taking those two into account, it is really a great machine over-all. The detailed review http://www.coffeegeek.com/proreviews/detailed/cremasl70 on this site is pretty much dead on with the exception of Mark's description of the "clip" that holds the filter basket. I actually find it to be very helpful when removing hot baskets for rinsing or cleaning. No longer must I burn my fingers prying the basket out of the spring in the portafilter. The level tamp issue takes some getting used to. Outside of those items, I am very pleased with this product. I am now pulling crema laddened shots (without the aid of pressurized baskets) and frothing milk that can actually do latte art (though I am still practicing). Some day I may step up, but as long as this one lasts, I'm good to go.
The only, "If I were King", comment I would make would be to have Solis reconsider the platic housing. Even the SL90 (which is $70-$100 more) is still housed in plastic. If the housing were to be beefed up this machine would be unbeatable in its price range.
Again, I haven't had to put Baratza's customer service to the test yet, but so far so good. The actual purchase went through digitalkitchenstore.com and I am pleased iwth them as well.
Three Month Followup
This machine is still running great! I've only recently began to be disappointed in a few areas. In all fairness, the disappointment comes not from the Solis' design or construction, but from the principles of the single boiler, no 3-way release valve design. The SL70 is outstanding, until you want to make more than one drink quickly or when you want to go from brew to steam without waiting. These are drawbacks of this design in general not of the SL70 in particular. I am considering a change, but only due to these limitations, not because this great little machine has disappointed me in any way.
One Year Followup
Well, I've gone and done it. I moved up to a Bezzera HX machine. It's the closest I could afford to come to a dual boiler. The SL70 is still working, and as well as one could hope for; it is just working for a friend of mine (and myself once in awhile) to whom I sold it. Absolutely no complaints about the Solis line in any way.