I have owned this for about 9 months and gotten nearly 1000 uses out of it (it counts for you). It can equal most coffeehouse product you are likely to find, but as others point out, it is far short of what an enthusiast can create from more traditional equipment. You may also find the crema coffee settings to be something of an acquired taste (but you can make an Americano in just one more step, which is always great).
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.