Most people buy the higher end automatic machines thinking that great drinks with minimal mess/fuss is possible, but that's just not the case. The drink quality from something in that price range is going to just barely be decent as well as having to do routine maintenance/cleaning just as with any other machine. The only positives of those paperweights is consistency in drink quality (consistently barely drinkable) with minimal effort. Other than that you get exactly what you pay for.
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I have a DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300; it's a "superautomatic". It's currently going for ~ $799, but they have been at Costco and other places for around $500. You can find reviews at a lot of places; almost all positive. I'm very happy with mine.