Despite using pods that could may turn off some espresso purists, the Nespresso Gran Maestria ($699) looks to be a strong option for those looking for better quality than low-end without spending a lot of money. Its customization features are a good draw for those who like to tinker with their espresso brew. We obviously haven't had a chance to play around with it beyond seeing on the show floor at Home and Housewares, but it certainly looks like an interesting machine to test out.
Having those options without having to use coffee beans is good for some users, but others may want to use their own beans to complete the authentic espresso experience. Seeing how the pods do performance-wise compared to other bean-grinding espresso makers would make for a great review.