Being an espresso newbie, I did quite a bit of research before purchasing the SL70 (thanks CoffeeGeek!). I was leaning heavily towards the Silvia/Rocky combo, but the less expensive alternative of the SL70/Maestro was a better fit for my budget.
When comparing Gaggia, Saeco and other brands in the $300 range, it quickly became evident that the Solis was made with quality components not often found in similarly priced machines (i.e., brass boiler, portafilter and grouphead, large water tank/boiler, metal housing etc...).
To date, I couldn't be happier with my decision to purchase the SL70. I've found that it's fairly easy to make decent-to-good shots consistently with the pressurized double basket. Also, the pod-adapter works as advertised and produces a decent 1oz. shot in 15-20 seconds.
The non-pressurized double basket, purchased from 1st-line, has been great for practicing my barista skills. While not as forgiving as the pressurized baskets, when all the planets are aligned properly, I can produce a 2oz. shot in ~25 seconds that oozes out of the portafiler with loads of dark red/brown crema and a sweet/creamy taste (no bitterness)!
Making microfoam for lattes is about as simple as it gets. The force generated from the single-holed steam nozzle easily creates a rolling whirlpool effect in my 20oz. pitcher. The lack of a "frothing-aid" was a big factor in my purchase -- the simply-designed steam nozzle has not let me down.
The only real downside to this machine is that it comes with a built-in tamper that is worthless... even more so than the standard plastic tamper that seems to ship with every other machine (although to be fair, this really isn't an issue if you're using the pressurized baskets). A 52mm aluminum tamper from Espresso Parts NW has made a world of difference in the consistency/quality of my non-pressurized shots.
The SL70 has a very tight tolerance among all its parts, with no gaps or other obvious sloppiness. Combined with the heavy weight (about 18lbs. dry) and the small footprint, this machine feels (and is) very solid.
At the $269-$299 price range, the SL70 is a very high-quality machine at a terrific price. It can be used to produce "true" espresso and enhance barista skills (using the non-pressurized baskets). In addition, the SL70 works great for lattes and cappas, producing decent shots (using the pressurized/pod baskets) without all the fuss. I highly recommend the SL70 to those with similar interests.