I had avoided automatics for a while simply because pulling a shot seemed like such a romantic notion. Hah! Switching to a schedule that kicks off at 5:45 AM makes anything 'automatic' look a whole lot sexier. I am setting aside $$$ so that when this one finally fails (and that should be a while - this machine demonstrates superior engineering), I can dart right to the store and buy another.
3) This machine is crazy smart. It knows exactly when to clean itself, or tells you when to start the cleaning cycle. To clean it, all you do is insert a tablet in the coffee powder drawer and it does its thing. It knows when it needs water, when the filter needs to be changed, etc. In fact, since we have a water filter built into our refrigerator, we just use that filtered water in the coffee machine and therefore we don't need to use the expensive water filters. Bottom line, if you just pay attention and clean the machine on a regular basis when it tells you to, this is a no-brainer machine.