"it seems that a lofi bandpass thing that more closely emulated tape might be more useful, as suggested already."
No kidding. Eventide? As it stands, this is a near pointless option to have on the box. I find it hard to believe the designers ever actually heard a real tape echo. Tape echo is such a cool effect, and really enjoying a revival these days, I wish Eventide had come up with a better model.
The digital delay, as you say, is super-smooth.