This machine is like a powerful Magimix with a heating element. I couldn't afford a Thermomix and now bought this equivalent. I have been using it for 2 weeks and it's a godsend with 4 children in the house. I am making much more from scratch and am hoping to save money in the long run plus provide healthier meal, cooking more, freezing more.
The best feature is the heating element together with the stirring/chopping. That means I have to prepare food a little before chucking it into the processor but it's minimal, then you set it to cook. With a toddler that means I don't have to be near the stove all the time or I can help the other kids with homework etc while cooking. Sauces and Risotto are a breeze. Soups are lovely. Before I had either the option to use a blender in a pot (which went everywhere) or wait until soup mixture was cold enough to transfer to Magimix, again a lot of mess. This powerful integrated blade lets you blend the soup right after cooked and it tastes silky smooth on your tongue even if you haven't used cream.
For Indian curries this is great too. The spices can be grinded right in the pan and heated and you don't have to stand there stirring for hours.
There is a steaming attachment for the top so you can cook in the pot underneath and steam veg/meat/fish above at the same time.
You can easily make yoghurt, heating up the milk and stirring some existing yoghurt in, then letting it rest for 8 hours. To get Greek yoghurt style, you need to strain the yoghurt though.
Recipes have to be adjusted a little, There are recipe books on Vorwerk website which are expensive. Lots of cookbooks in German. Many cooking forums in English from Australia where Thermomix seems very popular. I am starting to put my own database of recipes together and hopefully I get to the point of meal planning for a week or maybe even a month!
This machine doesn't have integrated scales like the Thermomix and doesn't have some of the features like stirring backwards. Additionally the new Thermomix has digital recipes on a chip but that's not really all that important (not sure how much they cost either). You can read and follow recipes.
Downsides: Cleaning can be a bit awkward. I will get a toothbrush for little areas around blade and around the connectors. The stainless steel needs some scrubbing if you burned the food a little.
You have to be careful if you try to puree and there is a lot of liquid in the pot. Put a towel on top to stop it splashing. If you follow recipe, this shouldn't happen. The transparent top lets a little air through, has to for cooking.
Apparently it's the same as a Bellini Kitchen Master.