Nunas wrote:Sure, the Apartamento is a great little HX, especially if space is limited. If you're still at the stage of comparing it to other models, you can get carried away with all the bells and whistles available on today's HX machines. If I had to do it all over, I'd still do what I did. That is, the simplest and least expensive, commercially-rated HX I could find. No timers, no PID, only one pressure gauge, no plumbing...etcetera. Not that all the frills are to be avoided, but I'd only take them if they happened to be on a machine I like...I wouldn't pay extra for any of them. That's how I ended up with my Magister Stella. If the machine is an e-61, then I'd definitely get a thermometer (mine is an EricS). Since this is your first espresso machine (I think), you'll also need a decent tamper (not the plastic ones that come with many machines). If you're into milk drinks, then I recommend getting two foaming jugs, one a little bigger than the other. A decent milk thermometer is a must IMHO; digital ones are all the rage but an analogue one with a decent sized dial is just fine. That's all you need (plus a good espresso-rated grinder). For nice but not necessary, the first thing I'd add is a coffee scale. Mine is a Brewista (get the old model on sale if you can find one; they cost way less than the MK-2 and do the job just fine).
Honestly I think so many bells and whistles is kind of dumb. PID on a HX machine? Its pointless when its not using the same boiler to both steam and brew. You can back flush and hear how the machine responds if the tempature is up to the right temptature or not. Also when it comes to steam pressure, I would want a gauage which most HX's have.
When it comes to price, I agree with your mind set. Its why I made this post in the first place. I wanted to see if the Rocket was worth the price. From what I can gather is that I should shop around a bit more. Its a good machine but could spend less.