After much thought as to whether to buy this item or not, I finally went down to a local department store to take a closer look: after all, if you are going to spend this much on a kitchen accessory, you should see it first.
I have to say that I have not been disappointed with my purchase! The sturdy design means you feel like this machine is built to last. The controls are firm, the base is solid and even when mixing a large amount of heavy bread dough, the machine works on like a dream. It's so solid in fact, it reminds me more of a pillar drill from my school days of woodwork than of anything I encountered in home ec.
I was a little concerned about the machine's ability to incorporate all ingredients after reading a few other reviews on here. You just have to have read a few quick tips to solve this! Firstly, if making dough using the hook attachment, mix your dry ingredients and then slowly add your liquid - I have had no problems working this way and have not needed to push any flour off the sides of the mixing bowl at all. The flat beater presents more of a challenge, but pushing dry ingredients down with a spatula is not too much of a fuss - you are home baking after all! Unlike some users, I have had no problems with the wire whip attachment mixing all ingredients, even egg whites - no clear residue around the edge of the mixture and the resulting meringue is far better than I have ever achieved with an electric hand whisk.
For me the greatest thing about this machine is how easy it is to clean. Although all parts are dishwasher safe, the bowl rinses clean very easily and because the attachments are a good size with no small gaps, a quick wipe in the sink with a sponge is all they need.
If I had to made one improvement? Make the other attachments for this machine more readily available - the UK market seems to be stuck to getting these online only.