Neil, I understand that for the price, it seems everything should be automated and hands off. While greasing the tracks on the Xelsis is an extra step that owners need to take to keep the machine running in tip top shape, having the ability to do that maintenance yourself is a big plus for a lot of people. Any machine is going to need basic maintenance through it's life, and the more that the consumer is able to do easily on their own, the cheaper the machine is to own over time. It sure beats having to send a machine to the manufacturer for service! As far comparing the two machines, they are both exceptional machines with some great features. I really like how the Xelsis looks and how the interface operates. The 6700 has the water reservoir that comes out the front which is a great feature if you are short on space between your counters and cabinets. They both produce excellent drinks too. Two considerations for the Xelsis is that the milk system cleans itself with steam on its own, whereas the 6700 you have to hold a button to do so. Also, the Xelsis has its own steam wand/water wand so if you wanted to venture into frothing your own milk you would be able to easily.