Are manual lever machines better than traditional machines?
Manual lever Italian coffee machines give you the ability to control pressure on-the-run. A lever coffee machine won't make a better coffee machine with an E61 group. However, with a lever machine you can get a great espresso extraction more consistently.
I'm a huge fan of the Profitec Pro 800 lever coffee machine. I had one of these in my home for year and enjoyed the lever experience and enjoyed many amazing espressos.