Hi there, honestly, I think you have to look well past the hype. In the coffee machine biz (which includes the various internet forums where all the marketing is done...eyes open please
), there are plenty of "resellers" who are pushing "the sizzle" for all its worth, in order to sell the sausage.
There are a lot of people that have bought the sizzle and then have to justify their choices.
Run some different brand model machines with "competing" technicals or that also have a high state of design and build through a series of BLIND te
sting scenarious for the end use for which they are intended, and then you will also know what many traders know about the realities of life and the level of hype in various brands and models...
Then you probably only need to do 3 things:
a) decide which model aesthetics please you the most as an individual,
b) decide which model works best for you in terms of ergonomics / ease / method of use,
c) decide on your own private cost/benefit analysis in terms of aesthetics Vs ease/satisfaction of use VS cost of the machine.
Lastly, buy what you like as constrained by your budget....because the level of overall performance from any good design and build machine in a competing market sector (eg "high end home use") is going to be very very similar across the range of equipment offered, and each will have some good points...and some bad points, compared to their competitors (oops, even more blasphemy?
Good luck in sale of Strega.