I submitted a blog entry recently titled "My new (to me) espresso machine is on the way!" Thanks to our friends in the brown truck the Nuova Simonelli Oscar has landed safely at it's new home. The machine is heavy but not so heavy I strain myself moving it around. The portafilters (comes with a pair new) are heavy chrome plated brass and they feel substantial in my hand. The outer case is a thick plastic which is strong but also light in weight. The steam wand is on a ball so it rotates conveniently and the drip tray is large.
The model I purchased is a manual fill model with a poly reservoir but this machine is available in a plumbed auto fill version too. The opening to the tank is small and is accessed by opening a hinged lid on the back of the top cover behind the cup warmer area. This might get old if the machine is placed under a cabinet. I am alright with it since my Gaggia has a tank located in almost the same arrangement but is easier to fill thanks to a built in funnel. Buy a funnel for your Oscar and you should be alright.
The controls are straight forward - a knob for steam, a button for espresso, and a power button are all located on the front panel. This machine does not have a separate switch for steam since it is designed to steam while pulling a shot at the same time. This feature is one of the reasons why Nuova Simonelli considers the Oscar to be a professional machine. The group is a good bit smaller than the famous E-61 design but is heavy enough to provide the decent thermal stability one would expect from a heat exchange espresso machine.
The inner workings are accessible by removing only four screws - this is handy since the machine was sold as a parts or repair only non-working model. I am going to have to operate - to be continued...