Just would like to comment some. Yes, as you say perhaps an advantage in one way, but a disadvantage IMO in two other ways. One, with the NG Platterless design, there is a lack of support under the LP when you scrub. Two, after application of fluids, and scrubbing, you then must flip the LP to Vacuum, and I can visualize fluids running off the LP, and going everywhere you don't want it.
At least with the VPI, like the majority of other cleaning machines both processes are done the same side, and any excess fluids-mistakes are always contained within the case, eliminating any messes.
The only "minor" gripes I have with the 16.5, and could be dealt with for not much money, is the design shortfall with Acyrlic Cover, in that you can damage the Arm Wand if it is in the rearward position, and you drop the Lid on it. The Lid Should've been slightly larger, sat on top of the Case with a dufferent style set of hinges.
Two, the machine lacks good ventilation, has a tendency to run warm-hot after a number of LPs. It could benefit from additional venting being placed at the Bottom Cover, and the addition of a small side mounted AC Pancake Fan. A huge 4" Fan probably wouldn't be necessary, and would only add to the machine's already almost intolerable noise from the Vacuum Motor.
Lastly, the Cork Platter Mat wasn't exactly the best choice of materials IMO, due to it's porous nature, and an inability to easily clean, or even see contaminants (dust-etc) if they were there. Again, could be easily dealt with cheaply, with self adhesive backed Rubber Sheeting available in 12" widths from people like McMaster-Carr. Stick to platter, use Platter as Template to cut Sheet, simple. One could easily cut three small holes for the Platter-Motor Arbor Mounting Screws if one perhaps needed future access to these Screws. One sheet should last many years of use, and would be a simple wipe with a clean towel in between LPs, or whenever one desires.
When you think about the cost of parts, and labor to make the 16.5, there actually isn't a whole lot of mark-up on these. Replacement Velvet Strips for the 16.5 Wand, as well as other Machines can be more cheaply gotten from Disc Doctor.
All in all, even with the minor gripes, I am very happy with this machine, and only regrets are I didn't buy one sooner. Hope this helps, and sorry for the long post. Mark