Hey, water temp is always important, with any method of brewing coffee. With the manual methods that I have used, Ive found to get the best results, you have to spend a fair bit of time with boiling water heating up all the parts that come into contact with the coffee. Even in a plunger/french press, the taste is drastically different if you preheat the plunger before you add the coffee and water to brew. There are many manual or lever ways to make coffee or espresso, most common, is the aeropress (which produces a strong smooth coffee rather than an espresso), and on these forums, alot can be found on the presso, which produces more like a true shot of espresso.
Ive also seen a product from (France i think) called a handpresso, which is like a bicycle pump with a little water holder. A Google search on presso and handpresso, will bring up alot of information on both.
It comes down to price in the end, you can also get Gaggia lever machines (among others) that have a boiler, but use your arm to produce the pressure to brew the coffee. These types of machines are more expensive, but probably will produce a more consistent brew, and give you the ability to produce steamed milk.
What are you wanting the machine for? Camping, home, office, quick coffee now and then? All this information goes into deciding the best machine for you!
Hope some of all that rambling helps, Im sure others will give you their opinions!