The DeLonghi did better than expected. With the correct grind/tamp and depressurized basket it did do "real" Espresso. I suspect that adding my e-bay PID to it, putting on a Silvia V3 Steam wand (which there's a mod for on the net) and buying another handle to cut (I don't want to do this to my only one-- and I do want the pressurized basket for Rooibos Tea "Red Espresso") and a 52mm basket, that it would do okay. I *LIKE* naked portafilters, but I think that alone would only slightly improve the shot quality.
What I don't like about it is that, like most SBDU machines, the boiler is a little too small. The DeLonghi definition of a "double shot" is smaller than the MyPressi so 16-17g is needed instead of 21-22g. In practice that is not a problem at all (it might be an advantage). The steam arm on it is a hassle.
There is no "backflush" valve so the puck comes out a little soupy, but it doesn't effect the shot quality. if you depressurize the stock basket, the screen can fall out when knocking the somewhat soupy puck out. The basket screen is not a part of the basket in it's "unique" design. It's attached with a rubber gasket that is screwed down with the pressurizer disk.
But those are all minor. If it lasts, it's good enough.
I pulled six shots of Nicraguan and Costa Rican mixed which isn't known for being an excellent Espresso blend. All had good creama and tasted "good". I roasted up some SM New Classic and will pull it on Sat.
P.S. Does anyone who follows this thread know of a basket that fits? I've read some La Pavoni Lever baskets and at least one Krups fits... I'd like to verify before I go off and order two of them!