The truth is, this is the first EVER brand-new machine I've owned, and my first electronic sewing machine. I'm a bit gadget-struck and excited.
But mostly, I'm glad I went the extra expense to get the Aurora 440 for a number of reasons, and mostly it's not for the 180-odd pre-programmed stitches.#1 reason was the motor.... Ah, the motor. Of course, there's a fancy name for the type of motor (that I've forgotten) but I just listened to it and felt it pull any thickness of fabric through with ease. Anyone could tell you that I'm not usually a huge fan of domestic machines, but this one handles like an industrial (if slower, as domestic machines are by nature). It has serious oomph - and the difference between the Aurora 440 and smaller machines means a lot when you're sewing lots of bulky, awkward shapes.
#2 The machine bed has LOTS more room. Managing bulky bags around a smaller machine can be difficult but this one is nice and roomy.
#3 Automatic needle-up and needle-down... but wait... with a foot-controlled option to change its position when you need to. If it's set for needle-up and you need to pivot on a seam, you just kick back on the foot pedal and the needle goes down. Or vise-versa. LOVING that one. Combined with the knee-lift on the presser-foot, it means you don't have to take your hands off your work.
#4 The knee lift, the walking foot, the BSR (stitch regulator) unit and lots of dinky gadgets in a cute little wardrobe box came standard with the machine (they're extra with other models).
#5 Automatic buttonhole, automatic buttonhole, automatic buttonhole..... I'm in love.
#6 Three types of automatic back-tack or lockstitch. Again - loving that I don't have to take my hands off my work and I can vary the backtack according to the work I'm doing.
#7 Automatic blind hemming with a special blind-hemming foot. With all my other mechanical machines, I've never been able to do the perfect blind hem. This one takes all the guesswork out of it. No more hand-sewn hems for me. (I can spend telly-evenings making more hair ties).#8 A sliding seam guide that travels the width of the machine bed. Topstitching heaven, and not a Post-it note in sight.
#9 Ok - I admit it - I love pressing those buttons.
#10 Loving that the wee girl is loving it, too. I spent most of the Saturday before last with her on my lap at the machine. She had the style-card with all the stitches, chose the design she wanted to see and then pressed the appropriate buttons (it's educational too!). After several hours of calico embellishment, she brought out every t-shirt she owned and we embellished the hems. It's another step in the right direction for my plans to completely indoctrinate the poor unsuspecting child....
Edited to add:
#11 ELEVEN needle positions at the touch of a button. Being able to shift the needle position is one of my favourite features on my old Berninas, and here it is with more positions and a whizzy button control. It means you can use the presser foot as a seam, edgestitch or topstitching guide and sew exactly where you want to - adjusting by degrees if necessary.
The wee girl proudly took her calico to Show & Tell at kinder and told the class that she "sewed it on Mummy's fancy-schmantzy sewing machine". Amused the teachers no end.