I wanted to make sure I owned this machine long enough to give it an accurate review. I've had it long enough to want to return it, but won't. It has frustrated me to tears. The large hoop is just not large enough. I am making a quilt, putting some redwork into each block instead of stippling it. But I can't do it. I've spent hours on end just trying to line up the first block and finally have given up. My blocks are 9.5 by 11 inches. I wanted to frame each design that I already have in each block with a border. I have to multihoop in order to do that because I need just a couple more inches to cover the entire block. But I can't even line up the hoop evenly on the quilt. So what good is multihooping when it's too difficult to line it up perfectly? Just make a larger hoop for it and the capability to add different sized hoops and this would be a decent machine. Some sort of clear vinyl template would be helpful.
Okay, now that I'm done venting, here are the pros and cons.
---> Swift smart threading system makes it a breeze to thread.
---> I love the drop and sew bobbin feature, too.
---> I like the snap on hoops, rather than the ones you have to screw in, like for the CE250.
---> I like the multi-hoop capability, but wish it was easier to line up. This and the larger hoop were the reasons I sold my CE250 and bought this one instead.
---> The automatic needle threader is a good idea, but I like the one on the CE250 better. It seemed to work a lot better. This one is very picky. I'm lucky to get it on the third try. You have to practically put the thread into the little catcher thing, straining your eyes doing it which defeats the purpose of an automatic threader. Also, make sure your needle is in correctly. The CE250 wouldn't even let you put it in wrong. So when I first got the XL400, I put the needle in which ever way it allowed me to, which was the wrong way. So the automatic threader wouldn't work at all. Some pressure feet wouldn't work, either. I finally had a lightbulb come on and realized that I might have the needle in wrong.
---> Strange as it is, my favorite feature on the XL400 is the speed control.
Now for the cons:
---> Editing and autopunch software doesn't come with the basic software as it did with the CE250. You have to purchase it separate and it's quite expensive. It isn't compatible with the CE250 software, so if you already have all the software from CE250, it still won't work with it. You have to repurchase it. I use a free program for my editing.
---> It is very clanky and loud when the hoop moves. I wish it was quieter.
---> A feature that would really improve this, other than the above mentioned, would be an automatic thread cutter, as the Quantum Stylist 9960 has. Otherwise, you are wasting a lot of thread because you have to pull the entire hoop off before you can cut it. So if you are taking it off just to check the bobbin, you have to either rewind the bobbin to save that thread that you have just pulled up, or you waste it.
---> The XL400 is not very reliable for it's messages about broken thread. It beebs at me constantly when there is no thread break. I have a thread net and spool cap for my thread, which used to fix the problem with my CE250, but it doesn't seem to make much difference with the XL400. When it is not even close to running out of bobbin thread, it will beep, but when I completely run out of bobbin thread or the top thread breaks, it doesn't beep until after at least 8 stitches have past after the break, and you can't go back to fix that unless you do it manually. So I have a bald spot on a person I embroidered.
Overall, the machine is pretty nice. Other than the above problems mentioned, this would be the perfect machine, within this price range.
I hope my review has been helpful.