Friends are often keen to hear about the latest gadgets I’m trying out, but all I seemed to get when I told them I was trying out a toaster/radio was a lot of smirks.
But it’s from Breville, and it looks really cool, I proclaimed. They still weren’t convinced. However, my first impressions out of the box were of a very solidly built good-looking piece of kit – with shiny steel body and glossy black sides. There’s a hint of retro about it, with the round speaker in the side and the silver knobs for on/off/volume and store/search.
Turning it on revealed it to be even more stylish than I first thought – the digital display showing the radio stations glows bright green, while the on light when you’re toasting is a cool blue. More reminiscent of a stylish hi-fi than a kitchen gadget.
The toaster itself is well constructed and works well – the two adjustable toaster slots are wide enough to toast muffins (the English kind) and crumpets, as well as your average slide of daily bread. It also offers defrost and reheat settings. Those good looking glossy black sides do get rather warm when toasting though, so be aware if you have smaller children.
So, on to the radio. If you’re still not sure why you could want this multitasking gadget, the idea is to save on the number of plug sockets you use – a good idea when the average kitchen is crammed with electric gadgetry goodness.
So how effective is it? The built-in FM/AM radio has ten preset radio channels: for FM radio you’ll need to pull up the aerial – just make sure it doesn’t sit over the toaster slots then they’re on. You can set your favourite channels by turning the ‘store’ button quickly and it will search for the next strongest signal. Then simply hold in the store button until it beeps. FM stations were easy to find, which is more than I can say for AM stations, and the panel doesn’t tell you which station you’re on, which is a bit of a let down. But as an occasional radio for the kitchen it works okay. If you’d rather have your own tunes you can plug in an MP3 player (no lead supplied).
All in all, anyone who has digital radio might be a bit disappointed with the quality and functions available on the Breville toaster, but as it comes in at about the same price as any other upmarket toaster (£49.99) and looks so good, the radio could be viewed as an added bonus.
The Breville “2 Slice Radio Toaster” is £49.99 from the likes of Argos and Amazon.
For more information head to www.breville.co.uk