I recently got a Bellman and consider it very hefty and well made. I am not a professional barista, but I have been chasing beautiful (and not overheated) microfoam in cafes since at least 2007. I was able to achieve microfoam on my first try (though not my second), and am super happy with it as a purchase.
For safety, I would give it mixed results. It's not going to explode like an old school pressure cooker unless you leave it to boil dry, which would definitely take a while, even if you only put in an inch of water, and it does have an escape valve on the handle to reduce that kind of craziness. It does get hot, so you do have to watch where you put your hands, though if you keep the burner low/narrow flame as you heat it, the handles stay cool to the touch. I didn't feel comfortable with it for the first few times I used it, and did hit my knuckle against a hot bit the first time I used it, but I figured out that because I'm left handed, if I orient it with the steam wand pointing left, it's fine. Probably more flexible for me than a standard machine.
I agree that you can fill it only about an inch, and have it heat much more quickly. And with that smaller amount of water you can do a handful of drinks, in my experience. You might have to put it back on the burner for a very short time between drinks to bump it back up to steam, but you only use a small amount of the water each time to steam.
The Nespresso milk heater/foamer my friend has is a plug-in appliance, and it was a less satisfying result. Less control over the milk temperature, a consistent, but eh foam quality. It was trivial to use, but I didn't care for the results.