* Prices may differ from that shown
I was left in charge to kit out my parents new kitchen with the gadgets. I chose this Bosch toaster along with matching kettle. A toaster can't do anything except heat up and toast whatever you put in it so the review will be pretty boring I guess.
The toaster price was around £20 so it was probably slightly above the average toaster price (with 2 slots).
The toaster has quite a weird shape but it looks very neat on top of the work surface. We have black worktops so its looks great. There are too buttons on the front, a defrost button and cancel button. There is also a number dial for the number of minutes you want to cook the item(s) for. When the toast is cooking, if you press the red cancel button, the toast pops up.
On the right side, there is the lever, which feels solid and well made. This works well.
The toast comes out evenly cooked. One problem is that for very large/wide toast slices, you may need to rotate them half way through cooking as they won't fully fit into the toaster however it seems to fit in most items.
When I bought the Bosch Solitaire "the penguin" kettle for my mum as an emergency recently we didn't think that our reliable Morphy Richards Solo toaster would also hit the dust. Back to John Lewis then and the automatic decision was to go for the Bosch's neighboring toaster that accompanies the Solitaire on design; another "Private Collection" appliance and to keep myself in my mum's good books, again it had to be in black. Bosch has since released a few different finishes for this toaster; stainless steel, red, black and a white toaster to match the white Solitaire kettle. Wonders never cease although it does strike me as odd that Bosch doesn't sell both kettle and toaster as a dual package as so many brands do these days.
I was relieved to find that this toaster only costs nigh of £25, which is far cheaper than the "matching" kettle. Having had experience (and continue to do so) of Tesco's basic toaster back at my term address, I wasn't expecting much in the way of new technology with this black Bosch toaster. It looks like two concaves put together rather than a proper igloo for my friendly Penguin shaped kettle and funnily enough my mum ruled out trying the cheapy Tesco toaster.
For a start the quality is oozing from this appliance and so it should for the promise of German design. Soft touch matt black is yet again the same tactile and smooth appearance you'll get, similar to the Solitaire kettle and it even has the same silver lettering on it proudly announcing "private collection, by Bosch." On this model you also receive a bagel/croissant grill that has two feet that fold up into one another when not in use and when used, simply rest on four seats that have been incorporated into the design already at the top of the toaster. Unlike others I've seen, the grid sits properly and can't really be knocked off unless you intentionally try it! Like many toasters on the market, the Bosch has variable adjustable slots to cope with thick and thin slices of bread and I rather like the fact that the slots have a wide opening anyway, perfect for making toasties in my Toastabags without fear of the bags getting in the way of the element.
There are six heat settings in total and available from a large easy to use central rotary dial and two buttons located unusually on the front panel of the toaster rather than to the side. A darn pity on the basis that the kettle has dual water gauges for those who are left or right handed, the bread adjuster/slider is located on the right hand side of the toaster and like the kettle handle, it remains cool in use. A reheat button is standard and it is self-explanatory whilst the cancel button located to the next one has a red LED which shines showing that the toaster is on and turns off when toasting is done. The slider at the side lifts toast clear from the slots and I'm delighted that the actual lifter itself manages to lift bread higher out of the slots by the time toasting has finished to minimize burning fingers. The toaster is also compact enough without taking up too much space and measures approximately 21cm in height with a diameter of approximately 17.5cm and a width of 31.5cm.
In terms of performance, there's a 900 watt element on board here so I wasn't surprised to find bread was easy and fast to toast up, much faster than our old 750 watt Morphy Richards. Since our old toaster had an annoying beep every time it was used and would change the tone dependent on the reheat or defrost functions, it is silence all the way with the Bosch, which is how toasters should be unless you live a fast paced life and never in the kitchen when you toast your breads of choice and need to be told when it's ready by more than a mere click.
In terms of uniform toasting the Bosch makes a fine job of it too, with equal stripes evident on thin or thick slices of mass brand & supermarket bread and left at setting 3 gives a wonderfully browned appearance on most bread used without being burnt. Now for me, that's the perfect test but the problem with any toaster is that not one appliance is the same, so as far as my experience of use goes, when it comes to using home made bread, the results are slightly different. With home made bread, especially if hard oats or nuts have been added to the recipe, I found that the Bosch struggled a wee bit to get the bread browned, whilst the top sides of the seeds got burnt. This can't be compared to shop bought bread so for all intents and purposes the Bosch TAT6103 gives a good performance overall if you want uniform toast but it may struggle on home made bread due to differing recipes and additives. At least the claimed extra wide slots could easily accommodate the thick slices I had unevenly cut however.
Now where the use of the actual bagel warmer is concerned, we warmed up scones and found the grid to be of actual benefit, and the whole affair is made of actual chrome as opposed to painted chrome which can flake off in time. It also has cool touch handles so it is easy to take off when it has been used. It is also good to see that Bosch have been safe as well as offering qualitable fittings and on the TAT6103 there are no hard edges but rather soft tones here and there on the toaster to minimize getting hurt. The walls of the toaster are also stay cool on design and Bosch also honour a one year guarantee. There's even a slide out crumb tray that has a decent wall on it so that crumbs don't fall off onto the work top upon removal.
Even if you don't happen to buy the kettle at the same time, the fact that this toaster comes in a range of colours looks pretty decent and doesn't present much of a problem using makes the Bosch TAT6103 impressive. Matched by a cheaper price than most 2 slice toasters on the market the Bosch is simply designed but feels well made for the price and the body is easy to keep clean. What more could you ask for in a toaster? Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010.