I have the EAM3200, which is the previous model version. The differences are slight but noticeable to the newer. These machines are the best in class for price and performance, produce a great espresso, and are maintainable in ways that other manufacturers models are not. The coffee from the Delonghi is just as good as from Jura and even some manual models such as Expobar and Rancillo. It is very close to what you find in Italy - not quite, but for the price it is worth it. Great crema, hot temperature, rich flavor. And the best part is you can pull out the brew mechanism and clean it - VERY key. This will ensure sound operation and function for many years.
In order to keep this machine is fine working order, you need to do a bit of upkeep each week and use the right beans.
1. Only use non-oily, 100% Arabica beans. If you use oily beans it will clog frequently and attract rancid flavors. It will also shorten the life of the machine. I use Illy, but any espresso will do (I actually get the Illy dark roast - it has more flavor when brewing a larger "americano" cup).
2. Clean the brew mechanism once a week. Just snap it out and run it under hot water.
3. Use spring water instead of tap water. This will keep any weird flavors from your tap entering the coffee. It may build up minerals, but...
4. De-calcify the machine when it asks for it - don't wait.
I, for one, would rather have manual controls over coffee amount, strength, etc. You are not losing out on anything by not having digital controls - other than not being able to have the machine automatically on and ready to go when you first wake up. As for the other models ability to do milk-based drinks at the touch of a button - how often do you really want a cappuccino? If it is every day, then get the 3500. If you are like me and need real coffee in the morning, then get this model. The milk canister can only sit in the fridge for so long. If you are planning to serve cappuccino at dinner parties, then you are committing Italian heresy - cappuccino is only served in the morning.
1. The cup warmer does not work very well, but get double walled cups and the temperature of the product will not be an issue.
2. You can't have it turn on automatically at a certain time. But it only takes a few minutes to get up to temperature.
3. It is NOISY.
My espresso settings - coffee amount at 10 o'clock, strength at 3 o'clock, single cup dispense. Super double espresso in an espresso cup. I may have 2 of these on a saturday.
My wife's "americano" settings - coffee amount at 3 o'clock, strength at 3 o'clock, double cup dispense. Full cup of rich coffee in a normal cup.