I had a wonderful Gaggia 'Bean-to-cup' machine which was my favourite gadget in the world until it died, I then had a Dolce Gusto pod machine which I have become accustomed to, I was interested to see how this compared to the two.
The machine itself is of very good build quality, and it looks nice too which is important for something which will be always out and on display. It's simple to set up with a removable water tank on the back and lift up flap to then insert your coffee pod. Once your chosen pod is in place you just press the dispense button until the desired amount of water has been forced through the pod and into your cup and press the button again. This means you can simply press a button and walk off, but it's still a relatively quick process. The machine holds a dozen pods so you can have them readily available, and the drop tray shouldn't overflow as a light indicates when it needs emptying.
The coffee itself isn't all that strong, however - this seems to be the case with most pod machines. The Dolce Gusto machine was a disappointment at first until I realised that they sell extra intense pods on their website. For this AEG machine I tend to use 2 pods in a very large latte and it then has quite a bit of a kick. If I make a smaller latte or just have an espresso then the strength with 1 pod is fine, but only if I use the stronger pods (Intensamente A Modo Mio). The variety of pods for this machine is pretty meagre - the website currently lists only 9 different types of capsule, but as with all machines which restrict you to certain pods - alternative 'compatible' pods are available online. This does have a milk frother (woohoo!) which is something I missed on the Dolce Gusto machine, it works well too, I tend to heat/froth the milk while it's in the cup and then serve the espresso directly into it, less washing up that way and it just makes things easier!
In a nutshell: The only machine I've used to get a perfect cup of coffee is a bean-to-cup one as it offer the most choice, this machine however can still deliver a good coffee if you work within its limitations. Basically, espressos are good but if you want a long coffee - use two pods.